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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    The other aspect of all of this that hasn't been commented on yet, but which over the last few years has been acted on with a vengeance is the issue of covered accommodation for the coaching stock. With the new sheds at both Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes there is now (or very soon will be) vastly more space under cover for the railway's coaches. I, and many others, have for years felt that this is the greatest priority, not only to protect coaches like no60 awaiting restoration, but also to protect those in service. This has had to be a priority in my opinion - only once it is finished does it make sense to embark on a costly, time and human resource hungry project, that because of it's size will take up large amounts of workshop space for years, and block the space from being used for smaller, quicker, and more urgently needed jobs. At least with the new shed it could be moved aside and still be under cover in an uncompleted state whilst more urgent matters are dealt with. Without due consideration it could end up being a coaching equivalent of the extension - nice to have, lots of potential, but leaving a legacy of a backlog of repairs and maintenance.

    I'm not part of the Bluebell setup (and haven't been since 1976 when I left the South East!), but I remain interested, and over the years have heard repeated comments indicating that the Bluebell wants to keep the Brighton Saloon - and restore it. It's time will come!

    @Jamessquared has already pointed a way for it to move up the priority list. Come up with a plan that is realistically viable, with appropriate funding available, and see if it can't be made to happen.

    Steve B
     
  2. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Tom - how dare you suggest that work should not concentrate on the Victorian 4- wheelers when you only have six of them running?! I personally think that would be an excellent idea and would love to see the effort put into "bug-box" restoration diverted instead into restoring more of the superb collection of pre WW II bogie coaches. But I'm not a C&W volunteer at HK and I know my views don't count (why should they?) - and I wouldn't want to upset @paulhitch now, would I?

    Peter
     
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  3. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    Ask who? Or are you offering?
     
  4. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Paul - surely if someone feels that they have the ability and resources to take on the restoration of the Directors Saloon then it is for them to approach the Bluebell with a proposal not the other way round. Where it is now it is probably far more secure than the majority of historic rolling stock, so until someone comes up with a better plan it is best staying where it is.

    Peter
     
  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    You have never seen my woodworking "skills"!

    Judging from much of this correspondence, I can imagine the affront if anyone should suggest such a thing. It is up to those with custody of the vehicle to take the initiative, ideally prefaced by that difficult word "sorry".
     
  6. Midlandsouthern

    Midlandsouthern New Member

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    Saloon 60 along with the bluebells other long term restoration collection have now got covered shelter no more tarps, be dry and no more damp conditions which is the best thing and secure instead of sat at end of a siding. As torgormaig said its not goig to go anywhere so anyone or group can spend time creating a proper plan for and not have too rush it, nows it in secure dry storage. Bluebells got one of the best carriage fleets going in britain, with some special and stunning coaches in its fleet
     
  7. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    See highlighted sections from the Bluebell's Long term Plan last updated 2013 : -

    Carriage & Wagon Department.

    The core aims of the C&W department are:
    To provide operating carriages to satisfy the Railway's operating, commercial and heritage requirements.
    To provide and maintain appropriate sets of coaches in sufficient numbers, incorporating an appropriate mix of 1st and 3rd class provision, together with disabled friendly, and catering vehicles, to enable authentic and profitable train operation.

    Whilst acknowledging that sets that include a mixture of types such as Bulleid and Mark 1 are both prototypical and inevitable, the aim is to create the following representative passenger carriage sets, for each of which a strategy document will specify the detailed policy:
    BR Standard Mark 1 Steam Stock.
    SR. Bulleid.
    SR. Maunsell.
    Southern Railway non-corridor stock of pre-grouping origin.
    Metropolitan Railway "Ashbury" stock.
    LB&SCR stock from the Stroudley and Craven eras.
    SECR non-bogie stock from the LCDR and SER companies.
    LSWR mixed types of vehicles as are available.
    SECR "Birdcage" set.
    All-Pullman train of 1920s and 1950s cars.
    A train of mainly BR Mk1 specifically for catering purposes.
    A train of vans.

    To provide and maintain special saloons and other vehicles of special interest and in operational use, as are available, such as the observation car, directors' saloons, passenger- rated vans, and including a specimen engineers' mess & tool van. If suitable vehicles can be identified and obtained, a Southern "Pull-Push" set should be formed to demonstrate this type of carriage set.

    To provide the facility for access by wheelchair users on all principal trains, and secure additional suitable vehicles for conversion as become available.

    To provide the facility for suitable privately-owned vehicles to be based at, and to operate on, the Railway.

    To provide and maintain operational sets of goods vehicles in sufficient numbers, incorporating an appropriate mix of provision to support the Infrastructure Dep't work, and to enable authentic heritage goods train operation.

    The aim is to create the following representative goods vehicle sets, for each of which a strategy document will specify the detailed policy:
    Goods brake vans, some vacuum-fitted.
    Engineers' vehicles for service purposes.
    Pre-grouping goods vehicles.
    Grouping-era goods vehicles.
    BR-era goods vehicles.

    To maintain, for operation, hand crane 1748S.

    To provide training, including apprenticeships, to ensure that the works maintains and develops the skills necessary to undertake its work.

    To provide the opportunity for volunteer staff to be trained, and to restore, for operational use, carriages and wagons which comply with the aims of the department and the Railway.

    To restore the "Brighton Directors Saloon" to original condition.

    To continue to seek out, for preservation, any carriage, carriage body, components, or goods vehicle bodies to augment the incomplete carriage sets as defined in the relevant strategy documents. To provide a facility for conserving historic vehicles relevant to the Railway to be preserved as exhibits, with the opportunity to construct operating replicas of such vehicles where this fits with the aims.

    To plan, in conjunction with the locomotive works and the operating department for the best matching trains of locomotives and rolling stock.

    To provide facilities where possible for visitors to view the department's work.

    To review the rolling stock fleet in each plan period to provide a record of assets and their condition.

    To provide an improved carriage washing facility under the direct supervision of the department, to remove the necessity of carriage washing in station platforms.


    And from the web page for the directors saloon last updated 13/12/17 ; "The aim is to restore this unique vehicle to as close to its splendid LB&SCR condition as possible. Some £14,000 has been raised through low-key fundraising since 1978, but a project cost in excess of £100,000 has been estimated. The project must be independently funded, and the Bluebell Railway Trust has agreed to assist with this. You may contribute via the Trust."
     
  8. jnc

    jnc Member

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    I hear you, but...

    You've written in the past very eloquently (and, IMO, correctly) that heritage lines can't survive without support groups to fund their infrastructure, etc - to put it another way, they just can't work as an ordinary business. So in considering priorities, one has to look at a larger picture.

    One has to do more than just 'put bums in seats'. (Yes, the sums have to add up on a day-to-day basis, but that's only part of the picture.) One also has to connect with the people who provide that external support - and that connection has to be emotional, because people don't donate to support groups for practical reasons.

    So, let's look at the LBSCR saloon; not only is it technically interesting, because of the bogies, it's an incredible piece of LBSCR history. In short, it's just the kind of thing that will connect powerfully to those enthusiasts whom the railway needs - and that's why the line should pay more attention to it.
    You have a good point there. I don't have the complete answer (although it should be possible to get money from the supporters to work on this), but one thing I do see is that the railway can't depend on supporters to take the lead on this; it has to, as an important part in building and maintaining that special link with them.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Would not disagree but in addition there are other incentives. Educational Charity or, increasingly, Accredited Museum status involve rather more than offering train rides in exchange for tax relief and grant obtaining advantages.
     
  10. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

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    It seems that there are quite a number of people who strongly believe that the Bluebell is failing by not restoring the Director's Saloon. As someone who has never seen it I don't feel qualified to comment on its importance, but what I would be interested in is what those who are concerned have done to raise this as an issue with the Bluebell? And what proposals have been made by members (or others) to progress restoration?

    And, given that the Bluebell is hardly being delinquent in the area of carriage restoration, what projects should they stop in order to proceed with this one?

    Sent from my SM-J330FN using Tapatalk
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You'll see I was careful to say resources (financial, space and manpower), not just money. It is probably worth reading this post from last time No. 60 was discussed to understand the context around what would be required for a project to restore it:

    https://www.national-preservation.c...general-discussion.39323/page-92#post-1414509

    Tom
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I agree about educational importance, but would stress that that could perhaps be better met by being able to illustrate the vernacular rather than the unique; to which end being able to have a complete Birdcage set (as an example) would seem to be of pre-eminent importance for a railway in our geographical location.

    I suspect that one's answer as to the priority of "No. 60 or Birdcage set" probably also depends on whether you tend towards the great man or everyman view of history...

    Tom
     
  13. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Seems to me that @paulhitch , once the scourge of WIBN romantics, has now become one himself in relation to the Brighton Directors Saloon.

    Peter
     
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  14. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    On your last statement, perhaps not. I definitely take the great man view of history, but would absolutely agree with you that the Birdcages would be the higher priority if "both" is not a feasible answer.
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Romantic no. Historian yes.
     
  16. fisher

    fisher New Member

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    One of the problems the Bluebell has is the continued rolling out of the Long Term plan objectives but with little short term planning on the steps to achieve this goal. If I look at some of the excellent web sites such as the Severn Valley GWR Trust their is a clear and communicated plan of what is being done, and in what order, to achieve some of its aspirations. I am afraid the Bluebell does not do this and I suspect may be missing volunteer and funding opportunities as a result. Following the completion of Bullied 5768, what is the next restoration project for volunteers to focus on (accepting the two LBSCR 4 wheelers already under restoration)? I don't know what that is, although there seems a number of credible options, but there needs to be a better communicated set of objectives year on year for the society and the carriage and wagon department to mobilise its volunteer base.
     
  17. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    But from whom exactly are you looking for an apology, Paul? Several Bluebell members (including myself) have posted on this thread about the LB&SCR Saloon, but not even Tom, who is an active volunteer and an excellent ambassador for the Bluebell on this website, can be held accountable for the state this carriage is in. If any Bluebell director or C&W trustee posts on here, then perhaps they wold be the most appropriate person to address your concern. For a non-volunteer such as myself, I'm happy to say:-

    (i) I'm sad that this priceless carriage isn't in the condition we would all like it to be in,
    (ii) I hope it will be restored one day
    (iii) I think it will need a dedicated group to take on both the fundraising and the actual restoration due to constraints with the Bluebell's C&W and
    (iv) Finances permitting, I'd be willing to contribute financially to an appeal (Having zero woodworking skills, I don't think I'd be of much practical use on the restoration side, however!)

    But an apology for its condition would be meaningless as on whose behalf would I (or, indeed Tom or any other Bluebell member) be speaking?
     
  18. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Unless someone takes my name in vain this is my last comment on this matter.
    At an early stage I did observe that there was hardly a place that did not have "something nasty in the woodshed". I had hoped there would have been fewer attempts to downplay this situation which has lasted for 40 years.
     
  19. glen77

    glen77 New Member

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    Think I saw mentioned that the next carriage project to be focussed on is Maunsell brake 3687, I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong there though.
     
  20. fisher

    fisher New Member

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    I really hope it is, but with 5687 complete and with the CCT being close to a finish, surely now is the time for this to be announced. I appreciate there is some remedial work to do on the structure, but its a coach where a lot of the interior complete and one which will hopefully generate a lot of interest. So why not announce it to the world - when it is going to start and when it is going to come into a workable area. I know it is isolated without a track connection in the shed but how about some positive comms on the web page or in Bluebell News such as:

    "our next exciting project will be the completion of Maunsell Brake 3687, which will move into a restoration bay on completion of track work to the shed as part of OP4 in the month of XX. The C&W department is looking for volunteers to support the completion of this interesting vehicle in a relatively short time frame and help the Bluebell Railway move one coach nearer to its Long Term Plan objective of a full rake of Maunsell coaches."

    This sort of messaging is not difficult and could generate some new people and/or cash.
     

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