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Electric Railway Museum to Close.

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by D6332found, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    This is a very sad event.
    Posting here as some people won't be on the diesel forums.
    Unfortunately they are not popular, but, for example, the SRPS modified their 303 to operate push pull with locos...
    Surely the Bluebell is mature enough now to accomodate a SR Green 4SUB.
    And what about LMS livery 503.
    Its an appeal to help, but we all know what will happen to those which don't find a home...
     
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  2. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    firstly you need to cite some source for your info. Links to those diesl forums would do it,
    although I don't really see what diesel forums have to do with it.
     
  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    upload_2017-7-10_9-29-27.png
     
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  4. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture

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    Oh dear :(
     
  5. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    Bluebell: "mature enough"? Do they need extra carriages? Have they got space to store/restore them? Who actually owns them at the moment? Would their locos need motifications to operate the 4SUB? If so, what would justify these costs?

    As a museum of static specialist exhibits, the ERM had a limited audience, therefore limited income, and few choices for affordable location. It's one thing to save railway items, but another to have a sound business case to store, preserve and operate them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  6. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    Very sad - the museum now faces a huge bill just to move its collection away. Although I have never visited it, it seems to me that it has filled an important gap by trying to preserve electric traction, especially multiple units, which form a massive part of the history of rail transportation in the UK but which are, for a load of very practical reasons, poorly represented elsewhere in preservation and where far too many 'preserved' units have been lost to the scrapman already.

    It also acts as a dire warning to any heritage organisation which occupies land owned by commercial undertakings - your future is never secure! Even local authority landlords can be subject to changing political pressures (witness the line in France, the Velay, that lost part of its running length because the local authority owners considered use of the trackbed as a cycleway was better for the local economy). Heritage should never be tempted by thoughts of 'good deals' from businesses because it is the return to investors that businesses are looking for and railways are potentially large pieces of some very prime (and some worthless!) real estate! I don't know whether in this case the Electric Railway Museum always knew it would have to vacate the site, or whether the land was sold under it some time ago, but the warning is clear - don't get yourself into such a position if you aren't in it, and have a long term plan to get out of it if you are already in the position!

    The Electric Railway Museum will always struggle to appeal to the non-enthusiast (and plenty of enthusiasts, for that matter), yet I suspect many people would find memories stirred by seeing again its exhibits which they will have travelled on - the vehicles it preserves are probaby amongst the most widely 'travelled on' in preservation! Perhaps they need to look for a site which is shared with some other attraction to bring people in and then concentrate on providing a top quality attraction to appeal to the general public whilst explaining the 'story' of electric railways.

    I wish them the best of luck.

    Steven
     
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  7. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    I believe that part of the logic of the Coventry site was the nearby Midland Air Museum being a joint attraction.
     
  8. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Its got nothing to do with the Bluebell being 'mature' enough and everything to do with

    (i) lA ack of siding space and a desire not to have something owned by others 'dumped' on the railway without a clear plan for it to be used.
    (ii) A lack of resources to restore them (e.g. the Met carriages are currently sidelined as the Bluebell cannot afford the cost of over 100 new door locks made to a custom design)
    (ii) A lack of workshop time to restore them
    (iii) The basic fact that the railway is guided by what its membership wants - not what outsiders tell it the railway should be doing.


    However on the wider issue of the ERM closing (or to be more accurate being forced out by the site owners who wish to redevelop a valuable 'brownfield site' in planning terms) it is indeed a shame and does yet again raise questions over what to do with the EMUs that they have managed to save thus far. In an ideal world the collections value would be recognised and a dedicated site site up to display them but given recent history I don't see that happening anytime soon. At a bare minimum however the collection does need to be placed in a location accessible to the public - mouldering away under Tarpaulins with no income to help care for them is a sure fire way of letting the collection get to the stage of scrap metal - if you can get the public onto the site and sell them Teas, Ice creams etc (as the ERM do at Coventry) at least you can raise a bit of money to try and stop them getting any worse.
     
  9. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture

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    Well, I'd say the APT power car is the NRM's 'problem' - it belongs to them, after all: the smaller, privately-owned locos are their owners' problems.

    Multiple units are a much bigger issue.

    Meantime, I've marked a day in my diary to go visit. It will be a sad loss, considering that electric traction in the UK has an even longer history than diesel traction.
     
  10. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Active Member

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    Always difficult when large parts of the country (and therefore of the population) had little exposure to electric traction. For example if you look at the UK - anywhere south west of the M6 and north west of the M3 had nothing bar the odd few miles of electrified line of either third rail or overhead. That includes me. So whilst I can see the engineering importance etc of electric trains, I have no fond memories of it that would suggest I put time or money into saving it. That's on top of the massive difficulties created by not being able to operate it, which leaves it as a static (and therefore boring) exhibit compared to the live, hissing and steaming heritage railways elsewhere.
     
  11. Tim Light

    Tim Light Active Member

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    Didn't the Bluebell have thoughts of developing the Ardingley line as a 3rd rail operation?
     
  12. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    That may have been more people thinking that the Bluebell should be thinking of it ...
     
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  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Not quite. The Long Term Plan says:

    Projects aspired to for the 25 year period to 2038.
    Investigate the possible future electrification of the Ardingly branch.
    [snip]
    So the only commitment is that at some date well in the future, the railway will investigate whether it is even feasible: entirely likely the answer will be that it isn't - at which point the current mandate within the long term plan will have been met. That is a long way short of saying "we are going to electrify to Ardingly" - IMHO.

    It would be sad to see anything scrapped that has survived thus far, but the bottom line is that resources aren't unlimited (siding space; overhaul capacity; money etc.) So you have to prioritise. Inevitably, bringing even more rolling stock to a railway decreases the resources available to look after what that railway already has: at some point you have to say no, in order to act in the best interest of what you already have.

    Personal view as always.

    Tom
     
  14. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Correct!

    If the Bluebell had £1 every time some enthusiast suggested the idea it could probably have built the line by now!

    OK lets get a couple of things straight:-

    • The ONLY reason the Bluebell purchased the trackbed is they don't want to be in the situation they were with the line to East Grinstead where they had to buy little bits of the trackbed off various owners (sometimes one on either side) bit by bit.
    • The ONLY reason the Bluebell make reference to it in their long term plan is to ensure that local authorities are aware of said ambition and do not do anything to jeopardise the option from being viable in future.

    The Bluebell has quite enough to be getting on with on its current line - restoring all those coaches sitting in the sidings at Horsted, restoring engines like the radial tank, and most importantly replacing the remainder of the pre-preservation track that is well and truly knackered (by which time some sections of the line north of Horsted will need work due to the use of 2nd hand rail when it was originally re-laid).

    As for Ardingly - a bit of a reality check on the practical issues:-

    • Ardingly stone terminal is explicitly mentioned in the Sussex structure plan as STAYING as an essential way of removing heavy lorries off Sussex roads.
    • Haywards Heath station and the BML from Copyhold junction cannot cope with any Bluebell trains (other than perhaps the odd special or two) as it is too busy. Short of spending mega money providing a 5th track from Copyhold Junction into HH station there is no room to add regular Bluebell services.
    • While passive provision has been made for a platform facing onto the current goods run round loop at HH, there is no provision for a train to run round in this platform (it would have to use the BML through platform 4 - the current stone trains specifically run in the early morning / late evening specifically to avoid causing problems while they undertake the run round).
    • The HSE will NOT permit ground level 3rd rail electrification above 110V to be operated by a Heritage Railway organisation (even if it is theoretically possible).
    • A station at Ardingly has been specifically ruled out by local councils due to issue surrounding car parking - either operations go through to Haywards Heath or they run as an out and back shuttle from Horsted with no chance of boarding / alighting at Ardingly.
    • Replacement of the now demolished Sherif Mill Viaduct (even with extended embankments and the bridge sections the railway owns will be VERY expensive and generate a miniscule level of financial return (unlike digging out Imberhorne cutting to get back to East Grinstead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  15. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    I'm very sad for all those whose hobby has been taken away and whose hard work is potentially wasted. There was a bit of an inevitability about it though perhaps. The potential market for this Museum must be very small.
     
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  16. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    With 30+ carriages, they have more rolling stock that many railways and each is a different type. Some are unique with no obvious source of spares.

    It would be interesting to know what their visitor numbers and revenues from tickets/café was like. Just to keep the weather out of 30 elderly carriages must be a major drain on resources, both human and financial.

    According to their website, they can only offer shunting demonstrations on *some* of their open days. They have nowhere to expand their running line, let alone operate a meaningful journey for visitors in a train, once they get that capability. No station or historic buildings, and no covered accommodation for the rolling stock as far as I can see.

    Unless there was a wealthy benefactor to support the site, it was always going to struggle.
     
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  17. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    True bit it does exist. Also the ERMs supporters hard work at Coventry shows that such a museum can be made to work in some respects, BUT at the same time it has also shown that such a museum is never going to be able to raise enough revenue to develop an undercover museum on their own.

    In other words if someone was to donate them a large site and construct a suitably large building to keep the collection under cover, then its quite likely that those involved would be able to raise enough money from visitors to keep things ticking over (as they have done at Coventry)
     
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  18. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    But are they raising enough to do serious work on their collection to make them useable, rather than keep a field full of carriages? Creating some sort of operating line (with the sizeable expense involved) would probably be essential to bring in better income.
     
  19. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    I also wondered about the visitor numbers, the demographic and how many paid return visits.
     
  20. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    I seem to recall that as well - is the Air Museum also having to close?

    Perhaps both need something of wider appeal, like a country park with various activities, to tempt people to the area.

    Steven
     

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