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Avon Valley Railway Updates and Videos

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Corbs, May 15, 2013.

  1. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    The Avon Valley Railway lies midway between two large cities. It's a crying shame that it doesn't attract a lot more visitors. I believe that one of the reasons is the railway's website. It is not good.
    The AVR Autumn Gala is just seven days away. It's excellent and the railway should fully promote the gala on their website to attract as many punters as possible. News of the gala should be splashed across their home page so that potential visitors know all about it.

    Some very good locomotives have visited the railway over the years but only too often I've only found out when cycling past the shed. Come on AVR, get your website to a better standard. <BJ>
     
  2. toplight

    toplight Member

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    I have only travelled along the line once at a Santa event, although I did visit their cafe and have some food more recently mid week. I was surprised how good it was. I booked it for me and family all online on their website and it was well organised. We arrived a bit late just before the train was due to depart, but they had our tickets all ready in the ticket office and we were able to just collect them and jump on. The present for our son was nice too. The station at Bitton is nice with a nice cafe that is open mid week so presumably they must get quite a bit of revenue from it.

    One thing it does lack though it that the stations at either end, Avon Riverside and Oldland common are just a platform and run round loop so there is nothing to see there if you get off and most people don't. That is why I think extending to Warmley would be a good thing as it would given them a destination that they could gradually restore as it was. The Signal box at Warmley has been restored already by the local council. See a video about it here



    An original station building opens as a cafe at Warmley although it was closed when I went and the platforms are there. Only the Level crossing, footbridge and track are missing so it could be developed into a real gem.
    One thing I did notice with the yard at Bitton is how exposed it is as the cycle track runs right next to it with only a small fence separating so I bet they are worried about theft and vandalism. There was a nicely restored 08 diesel parked right next to the cycle track looking very 'exposed' to the local "youth". They should really be looking to get an undercover shed. It is a railway with lots of potential
     
  3. theonlyadsrulz

    theonlyadsrulz Member

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    Bath is a more attractive option for the railway, as nice as Warmley is, and how much of the station remains, getting to Bath would open up a much bigger revenue stream than going to Warmley would. In that case, ploughing X amount of money into getting us to Warmley would almost be a wasted effort without the connection to Bath already in place, especially when a hefty seven figure sum is needed to get us to Bath in the first place! With Warmley a further 1.3 miles up the cycle path, while the site of the former Kelston station is just under 1 mile further on from Avon Riverside (and no road crossings), heading towards Bath certainly looks like the simpler option as well!

    Covered accommodation is certainly something else we'd like, but again it all comes down to money (when doesn't it!). If anyone would be kind enough to donate us the money towards this (and many of our other future projects!) we'd be most grateful!!!

    Now much closer in the future, we are very much looking forward to putting on a good show at our Autumn Gala next weekend (Nov 4th/5th). We'll have four locos in action, with our main visiting loco in the form of 'Bellerophon', alongside fellow well tank 'Willy The Well Tank', as well as WD132 'Sapper' and 4015 'Karel'! The usual intensive service of passenger and goods trains, this year supplemented by Brake Van rides for £5 which gets you a full 6 mile round trip, as well as Driver-For-A-Tenner with 'Willy' at points during the day, and finally footplate rides still available on our home fleet locos (Sapper & Karel) for £30 which includes your day rover ticket for the day as well available HERE! We hope you can join us!
     
  4. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    It was a decent gala, Bitton felt busy. You might be wise to charge for platform tickets though, the station looked considerably busier than the trains! I picked up the most recent issue of the society magazine and there's stuff about planning for the Bath extension, so it's clearly still a live idea. One the missus has finished having children I'd like to get involved.
     
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  5. theonlyadsrulz

    theonlyadsrulz Member

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    The Fry's Sentinel is on course to return to steam next year after an extensive restoration, but we need a train for it to pull! And to combat this we are currently restoring a BR 20 Ton Brake Van to run with the Sentinel, but funds are still needed to finish the job! We currently have an Aviva Community Fund page where you can vote for projects which you think are deserving of receiving some much needed funds towards their goal. If you'd like to help support the project and see this Brake Van returned to its former glory alongside the Sentinel, then consider going to the link below, registering, and then casting all 10 of your potential votes towards The Chocolate Train. The more votes we get, then the more money we can get! Thank you!

    https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-3937
     
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  6. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  7. horace

    horace New Member

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  8. Adam-Box

    Adam-Box New Member

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    NevilleKing, Corbs and Bluenosejohn like this.
  9. Librarybloke

    Librarybloke New Member

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    Hello again,

    Yes, we did indeed get the £5,000 we asked for, and just in time because the wagon restoration group need to make a large timber order to progress the project! They've got their work cut out to get it ready in time for the Frys Sentinel's first runs though, I believe that team are on the home straight...

    Adam-Box, although you're quite right that our project scraped through as a "Judge's Choice", I promise that the votes did count and that we're very grateful for every single one! It was a two-stage process, with entry to the final round being dependant on votes cast in the first one, so we couldn't have won without them. Once in the final a panel of judges used a set of criteria to make the awards, with "popularity" (ie votes cast) only counting for 10% of the marks. Anyway, thanks to everyone who voted, it's much appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Andrew.
     
  10. It does irk me a little when these "you should, they should" posts appear on this forum. This correspondent has noticed what they believe is a gap in the railway's marketing so, instead of complaining and pointing the finger on here, why haven't they picked up the phone to the railway and volunteered to help by doing it for them?

    Even if they have no experience of maintaining web sites, I'm sure someone who is prepared to boast on their profile that they are a 'Rolls Royce aero engineer' has plenty of intelligence to learn quickly enough...
     
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  11. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    The post from Andrew indicates that the AVR folk read and contribute to items on this forum. That's good because he would have read my message encouraging the railway to further promote their gala and thankfully passed it on. No problem there.

    As for boasting about being an employee of Rolls-Royce, when I originally joined National-Preservation I was asked what my occupation was and I answered. That is not boasting Mr. Disused Branch.

    Keep smiling. :)

    <BJ>
     
  12. theonlyadsrulz

    theonlyadsrulz Member

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    The website is certainly something that we are working on and the best ways of improving it are currently being worked out and discussed. Fingers crossed we will be in a better situation when it comes to promoting the gala (and other events) later this year.

    Thanks

    Adam
    Trustee at AVR Heritage Trust
     
  13. Devonbelle

    Devonbelle New Member

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    Fascinating thread. I've never followed before and worked on AVR from 1982 to 2015! Spent time as Guard, Signalman, and 10 year spell as Ops Manager.

    It's a conundrum with main line engines and I do smile when I see people write about 'they ought get a main line engine'. A number of us sponsored the Black 5 coming in 2011 - without the sponsorship we as the AVR would have been cost neutral or made a loss (from memory) and that was after a busy gala, several private charters featuring 45379. So an Austerity on load 4 or 5 does the job nicely. Suites families nicely and it always delighted me when I was Guarding or Signalling and people turned out especially to have an Austerity for haulage or the absolute beast we have in the form of Littleton No.5 which sounded awesome on load 5.

    I talked at length with the General Manager of a top 1st division railway in 2005 when we discussed our relative railways and he was in awe of our Santa Specials, with our passenger loadings, computerised seat booking system - and events such as Santa Specials really do pay the bills to keep the railway running.

    I see earlier in the thread about the fact the railway is maybe just a tourist attraction - I'd counter not. It's definitely preserving local railway history - the station at Bitton, some of the meticulous wagon restorations, the Frys sentinel and when the Avonside saddle tank (locally built and operated) is finished the CME was/is committed to restoring its original livery.

    Is there more the railway can do, yes of course. I've done my 33 years working there so that'll do me. Great to see some of the younger working Bitton members on this thread sharing knowledge. To others, give it a go and volunteer there!

    Paul
     
  14. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    It does amaze me with their catchment area that they are not overrun with volunteers. Is it not sexy enough, no real goals, no sexy engines to restore, I dunno. I suppose you need to ask other enthusiasts, is it on your radar?
     
  15. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I would imagine there are people who are tempted away to lines like the WSR or GWSR, both of which are doable as a day return from Bristol, but have the big, attractive locos
     
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  16. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    I chose Swanage in 1983 because I believed in the project, I could have gone to the East or West Somerset railways who quite well established and certainly the ESR had big engines. So I say again, why does the AVR not appeal to the locals?
     
  17. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Well it may be they just believe in the project of the others more. Look at the GWSR which is about to reopen the line into Broadway. I am not aware of any plans for development or expansion of the AVR. That may simply be because I'm not in the loop, but the GWSR and WSR both have significant development projects of recent years (GWSR with Broadway, WSR with the Minehead Turntable and Norton). If it were me, and I had the transport, I would be tempted to drive further for the more developed, more historically recreated railway with the more 'interesting' and varied motive power line up. I'm not proud of it, but it's true.
     
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  18. theonlyadsrulz

    theonlyadsrulz Member

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    We certainly do have plans for development in the works, the biggest of course being to extend to Bath hopefully by 2026, but there are a lot of other things we need to do before we can plough on with an extension. Improved workshop facilities, improved signalling, Bitton loop extension, all these and more need to be in place before we can realistically operate a service to Bath. We have big ambitions, but without the support of volunteers, whether they come from the local area or from further afield, then it will take us a lot longer to reach our targets! We always need more people in a variety of roles! If you can spare from as little as a few hours a week then please do get in touch with us!

    Cheers

    Adam
    Trustee at AVR Heritage Trust
     
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  19. Devonbelle

    Devonbelle New Member

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    Certainly the GWSR has captured people's imagination and started later than the AVR and achieved amazing things. In my working tenure at Bitton in the noughties, we lost people to the GWSR and WSR, who lived in the Bristol area and were drawn to lines with GWR engines. Then a few were lost to the Midsomer Norton project, just down the road. Conversely we picked up working members from the Pontypool and Blaenavon and further afield.

    Adam may correct me but there was was a high proportion of volunteers working, relative to overall membership at Bitton.

    Paul
     
  20. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    I always wondered if the footpath alongside the railway ruined the allure for some enthusiasts, despite the beautiful views from the railway. I've always adored the idea of firing the 4F into Bath one day in the future, but our impending move to South Wales may see me spending my time at Pontypool or Gwili instead
     
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