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Electric Railway Museum to CLOSE

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

  1. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    I don't think that the Midland Air Museum is closing. There was a museum operation attached to Air Atlantique at Coventry that closed about 5 years ago.
     
  2. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    Coventry was always a strange location for a bunch of vehicles which mainly worked south of the Thames. If not Ardingly then some other location in the SE would seem to offer the best opportunity for pulling in both enthusiasts and visitors who might actually be interested in the collection. I hope they find a way of keeping the bulk of it together.

    Long term a running line has to be part of the thinking - again if not Ardingly then where? (And notwithstanding Phil-d259's comments, I am 99% certain the HSW would allow something if the right checks and balances were in place - even if this meant operating under the licence of a main line TOC with paid staff which, granted, would probably never make any money.) (And, continuing the Ardingly idea, if HH has no capacity for a run-round, an EMU shuttle would seem to be the perfect solution surely?)
     
  3. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    Pffffffttttt… like any of that will be a problem once the 4-Vep has been converted to run on batteries/solar/windmill/steam-powered generator (delete as applicable)…

    ;)

    Simon
     
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  4. 30854

    30854 Active Member

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    Plenty of MLVs kicking about. Scope for owt there?
     
  5. DisusedBranch

    DisusedBranch Active Member

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    I'm surprised PH hasn't been here describing it as a linear (or not so linear) scrapyard. From what I know the inside of a number of the vehicles paints a grimmer picture than the outside. IIRC at least one of the SUB vehicles is a wreck. Given the lack of shed space on preserved lines, if I had a nice sum put by I'd love to buy a bit of land, build a nice dry, warm barn and give a home to it.

    (The trouble is, even if it were financially possible to save and restore such a unit in that way, I'd no doubt then get a load of grief from some enthusiasts about 'selfishly not letting it out to play' and sage advice on what colour it should be painted).

    One only needs to look at the 4DD power car at Sellinge to see the challenges of EMU preservation. A vehicle that should, by rights, be in the NRM as an example of a brave experiment in commuter travel is sat under a tarpaulin, having been subject to the ravages of the elements for years, and being worked on mainly by one, solitary hardy soul (and the owner on occasions). To quote from the supporting web site:

    "As can been seen from the news reports we are in need of extra help on site. Its takes up most of Chris's time just keeping the location clear of plant growth. With more help we can make a start on reversing the decay and starting to restore."
     
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  6. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Erm.. which is what is sort of happening with the Brighton Belle lot, and is the aim of the people looking after the Bluebells VEP at the moment.

    The objection authorities have is not to Heritage vehicles powered by electric traction per say - but they do not consider it wise to restrict the operation of traditional exposed 3rd rail such that it satays in the hands of NR / LUL / Glasgow Underground. Volks electric railway gets away with it because of the use of a low voltage (110VDC) and it status as technically being owned by Brighton & Hove City Council who can 'underwrite' its safe operation as it were.

    Hence any realistic amassment of the situation requires that either the preserved EMUs are towed round by diesels, stuffed and mounted for the public to observe art a static site, or are restored to Mainline running condition.

    (Incidentally, the run round loop at HH lacks 3rd rail as does the Ardingly branch and NR are not going to install it simply because a bunch of enthusiasts want to play trains - as with the upgrading* of the signalling so as to permit regular through running from Swanage , NR will be expect someone else to pay for it.)

    *cost to Dorset County Council tax payers = £3.2million
     
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  7. 30854

    30854 Active Member

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    Both the 5BEL and 4VEP examples look the optimum solution. Mainline certified stock has a MUCH better chance of finding gainful employment.

    Stuffed and mounted, the only bits which will interest students of electrical traction don't, for the most part, include the carriages. Electric stock obviously isn't nearly as useful as DMUs to preserved lines.

    Clearly, for those unable to enjoy an operating life, storage in the open is far from ideal. When considering sites, it strikes me that a formerly rail connected disused quarry site is the best bet, being places in need of some form of regeneration, therefore likely to be sympathetically considered by planning authorities when it comes to covered accomodation, and largely away from areas where development is likely to push land prices to stratospheric levels, yet still readily accessible. Prices aside, the experience of heritage railways in urban areas hasn't been good. Vandalism and idiocy seem to go hand in hand with large populations. Witness incidents at Kidderminster and Swindon.

    How to make such a site an attractive proposition for visitors, I'm less certain. Whether there would be any set of conditions under which "the powers that be" would permit live 3rd rail, even at reduced voltages, would need some serious thought as to how it could be done safely.

    Of all the above, the real killer is making such a facility attractive to enough people to make the other issues worth solving. Suggestions, anyone?
     
  8. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Well in a way Amberly Museum is a good example of the type of thing you are describing. Its an ex quarry that includes buildings, exhibitions and demonstration areas associated with to narrow gauge railways, road building, buses, electricity, telecommunications, printing and all sorts of other crafts. While I am not suggesting the ERM relocate there, it perhaps shows how minority interests can be interoperated into a much larger venue to the success of everyone.

    http://www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/exhibitions
     
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  9. ross

    ross New Member

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    You would think so. The problem is such sites are very attractive for landfill, being rail connected, rural and brownfield...so perfect for exporting city refuse to by rail (replaces lost quarry jobs in low employment area, locals can't object to lorry traffic, big bungs to council for EPA assistance), and once the big hole is filled in it still represents a development opportunity as you can then put houses/shops/trading estates etc. on top.

    I talked to a contact at Hanson Aggregates a few years ago about buying a soon to be closed quarry (not rail connected) for a project. Grade 1 agricultural land would have cost less..
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Active Member

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    Is the landfill issue still valid? I ask, as I recall the Bluebell's clearance of the cutting south of Imberhome Viaduct being driven by upcoming tax changes. If the current Idiocracy have rolled that back too, I can't say I'd be surprised.

    Regarding redevelopment of possible sites, if a workable suggestion for a museum were to appear, it would answer the question of "value to the local economy" and allow some meaningful comparison with other competing potential uses. That even on NatPres, we've thus far failed to convince ourselves that a successful model can be developed speaks volumes.

    Regarding decent agricultural land, we've a prime example of suicidally short term thinking here in Sussex, where hectares are planned to be flooded to form a new reservoir. Still, as long as some corporate donors get massive tax breaks to develop foods grown in seawater [note to self..... stop ranting...NOW!].

    The shame is, that sites most geographically relevant to preserving (most) 3rd rail kit are, obviously, located in the most expensive part of the country.
     
  11. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture

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    GEC?
     
  12. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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    The folk at Finmere are presumably in line for a significant payout when they are moved off their site to allow HS2 to pass through. Could such a sum be the basis of a decent new museum elsewhere? Or maybe an additional museum building connected to the Bucks Rail Centre? I recall reading some expansion plans for Quainton in one of the rags recently.

    I don't buy the argument that the public aren't interested, it just depends how it's presented and where it is. Lots of visitors go to Crich, the London Transport Museum, the Volks railway etc despite a general lack of steaminess.
     
  13. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    Agreed, but the question is absolutely about experience and exhibits. Crich works because trams are "old", while the LT Museum is in a tourist hotspot and does a great job of explaining its exhibits to those who aren't interested in trains, trams, buses etc. That's a real challenge for something like the ERM where the exhibits largely define what the visitor experience can be.

    As for Finmere, doesn't that question rather assume that ERM and Finmere are closely enough linked to be able to partner up like that. I don't know either, sadly, but would be reluctant to assume anything, however logical it looks from outside.
     
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  14. northernsteam

    northernsteam Member

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    I am not an ERM expert but up in the north-east we lost a couple of good electric lines with the Shildon-Newport line, scrapped, and the Tyneside Electric Lines, that was converted to the Metro. Is this stock suitable for running as propelled stock? Surely some lines would find a use for them in that role until they could be fully restored for proper use?
     
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  15. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    The vehicles could be run as propelled stock on any number of lines, but I don't think any of them would actually need them.
     
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  16. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    Options exist, I believe the class 303 at Bo'ness has blue square fitted to allow use with diesels.

    The issue then becomes flexibility, especially if talking about units rather than carriages, not to mention age - Coventry has the class 457; Mk3 based and barely distinguishable from classes 455 or 317 to the casual punter.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. ross

    ross New Member

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    Bit of a layman's view here. London Transport museum has the nostalgia/olden days" look at the quaint old bus kids" thing going for it. Everyone has seen a bus, so it has some relevance to most people, and there's the Met 4-4-0 and other stuff.
    Crich, whilst most "family on a day out" people don't remember trams, has a ride through some countryside.

    Electric trains have some really great qualities-quiet, clean, efficient etc, but they don't stir the soul. Parked up and static, they offer very little.

    Compared with steam locomotives, which are magnificent even in a museum, and awe inspiring when in operation, electrics are, um, dull.
    Which diesels do we want to save? Sulzers and deltics and class 50's-the ones that shake the fillings out of your teeth and smell of diesel fumes on the platform.

    Not the quiet, efficient ones. I hope the ERM can find some support, but I can't see families beating a path, whether it is in Coventry or Brighton or London.
     
  18. Railboy

    Railboy New Member

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  19. William Fletcher

    William Fletcher New Member

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    I went once, ERM has free admission, a cafe and a miniature train. Families like that. They get hundreds to open days
     
  20. Phill S

    Phill S New Member

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    Sad news on the museum. There are some real gems in there, including the composted ruins of two City & South London Railway padded cells.

    Regards Crich and tram preservation, I think the biggest reason it worked is that trams are much, much smaller than an EMU set. Even so, a proper overhaul (not restoration, I mean a ten year lift) is several tens of thousand pounds, owing to the cost of overhauling motors and wheelsets. Most trams have two, maybe four, an EMU 4 car set may well have 8. Which also raises the electric supply required-you can get a tram to crawl using a welder plugged in next to your fridge (I've seen it done!), and Crich's first supply was a 3 phase converter. Even at 25mph, an EMU will want some serious juice.

    Trams aren't as big a thing as steam, but as they are perhaps an order of magnitude cheaper, it all works out. To give you an idea-a basic 4 wheel open topper can have a full restoration (stripped right back to solebar) for around £250k. A more complex car like LCC1, our current project, will be £500k or so, to go from utterly worn out, as withdrawn, to as good as the day it was built. Flicking through Steam Beano today, it seems every kettle club under the sun is looking for "just another half million" to do an overhaul.

    Crich also benefited from the very far sighted decision to concentrate on getting things under cover. If I remember right, there was a period where any tram coming on site had to have depot space paid for. As has also been mentioned, the museum was very lucky to get an entire quarry very cheap to put everything. Again, someone has quite rightly pointed out that you'd really want an EMU museum to be in the south, but then you consider land prices!

    The third rail question has been done to death, apparently even the big railway have trouble getting permission to put down any new bits of third rail. Personally, I would think that a safety case could be made for a radically redesigned 3rd rail system. Think fully enclosed conduit maybe? But the cost of making it, maintaining it and keeping a sufficiently robust safety management system would be frightening. How frustrating that 1500V overhead wasn't the preferred standard, you'd have no bother getting approval for that!

    Final thought-now the NRM have got rid of a few dull old kettles, they'd have room for some nice clean electric stock :D
     

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