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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. walmsley73096

    walmsley73096 New Member

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    Does anyone know when the S15 is likely to run next??

    Sent from my SM-J530F using Tapatalk
     
  2. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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  3. walmsley73096

    walmsley73096 New Member

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  4. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    While watching Youtube videos at a silly time of night, found this German narrated series on steam history/ operation. At the linked time (11:27 if it doesn't link) , one of the P Class is clearly on the continent but apart from the ones that served in WW1 and the KESR 753 visiting Northern France, I can't find any record of what I assume is Bluebell going abroad. Any ideas?

     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  5. 5944

    5944 Well-Known Member

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    From the Bluebell Railway website, June 1998.

    Bluebell to Visit Holland

    SECR Loco No.323 "Bluebell" is to visit the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik for their 30th Anniversary, this coming weekend, 27-28 June. Bluebell is expected to make a full trip along the 12-mile line, double-heading with a Dutch engine (which will provide the air braking) as well as hauling an un-fitted train along part of the line.
    Over the last few years links between the Bluebell and the SHM have been strengthened by working visits by groups of members to each others' railways.
     
  6. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    Cheers, I could find Fenchurch's trip but not Bluebells.
     
  7. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    The Brighton Atlantic project takes another important leap forward with the delivery of 32424's tender tank from the welders on Wednesday last:
    tank_unload_fredb0927_24jul19h.jpg
    Imposing as it is, the tank still requires its outer skin, plus all the coal rails, doors, and various other bolt-on goodies to be fitted.
    An impressive sight indeed, and the last really big piece of the story. The end is in sight!
     
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  8. alastair

    alastair Member

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    Thought-provoking post from another forum:



    A £220,000 loss in last financial year, resignation of chairman & general manager, reduction of operating days - another heritage railway in trouble. I wonder if these might be some of the reasons:
    Many years ago the opportunity of installing a turntable was missed due to internal squabbling, such squabbling continues regarding the daft idea of re-opening the branch to Haywards Heath. There is/was a faction behind engine shed doors that just want to play with spanners & welders & avoid all contact with the public. Stray into their area by mistake & you will encounter rudeness - I know for I strayed once. The novelty of the East Grinstead BR connection has waned, nobody can park at Kinsgcote so it remains in isolation giving little reason for rail travellers to alight there. Sheffield Park is an architectural mess, the café offers poor service & the organisation knows it, yet the museum is one of the best & the engine shed re-arrangement just misses being Disneyfied unlike York.
    When a certain executive joined staff & volunteers were swamped with corporate self-important pretentious Gobly Gook running to endless pages of reports the contents of which few understood, but it kept people employed writing it all.
    These are the views of a one-time volunteer & very very occasional visitor. I'm happy to be proved wrong.



    As a long-time Bluebell shareholder and member, I'm interested to know if people on here think there is any, or some,or a lot of, truth in the above?
     
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  9. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    The visible parts, re. Disneyfication I can agree with. My visits to the railway are virtually nonexistent these days, which is a pity, as there is so much still which is excellent about the Bluebell.
    C&W are in a League all of Their Own, whilst infrastructure has fought back valiantly against the the chronic lack of investment in maintenance which has accrued over the years.
    Haywards Heath I will agree with, as such a venture would probably financially ruin the Railway. As for the internal wranglings, I am not in a position to comment, but for far longer than I would care to remember, it does seem to have been very much a case of the tail wagging the dog.
    Having missed the delights of the Sussex branch lines pre Beeching, as a 14-year-old, the Bluebell offered a teenager like me a precious glimpse into a past that I had missed, and brought those sights, sounds, and smells to life.
    Yet it was only in about 2010 or so, that I realised that the spirit of the old Lewes and East Grinstead railway had slipped quietly away like a ghost in the night, to be replaced by A.N. Other, very slickly run, tourist railway.
    My heart lies elsewhere now, but I am still very grateful to the years that I knew the Bluebell in its original incarnation, and even got to get my hands dirty on it at times!
    And yes, I am still a member.
     
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  10. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Oh dear - sounds like someone has an axe to grind here. The truth is, he could be writing about any heritage railway in the country because they all have to adapt to the modern regulatory environment we live in. Of course The Bluebell is different now to what it was 10, 20, 50 years ago but so is the world. Thank God there are people who will still take on the thankless tasks of trying to manage all the necessary bureaucracy and paper work involved in running a heritage railway these days - it is not a sphere I would want to get involved in. I suspect that a well known railway in the West Country resisted change for too long and is paying a heavy price for it now.

    We all have things we would like to see done differently on our own railway but managers have to balance all the conflicting demands on the limited resources available to them. But stand back and look around you at the heritage railway scene in this country and just be amazed at the wealth of treasures that we possess. Sure it is different to what it was years ago...... and so,so much better in the variety that is on offer. Some people need to learn how to enjoy what their hobby has to offer rather than carp on about what it doesn't offer.

    Peter James
     
  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Yes they are very good indeed but others are equally so.
     
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  12. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Well-Known Member

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    I know very little of how things operate on the Bluebell ( so feel free to shoot me down) but I can't help thinking with the amount of infrastructure work that has been going on and publicized elsewhere is that £220k "loss" such a big deal in the overall scheme of things?


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  13. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Any loss is a "big deal"
     
  14. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Well-Known Member

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    Not if your not doing infrastructure repairs that can lead to an enforced closure like a certain other railway?

    Many companies not just rly related make losses in certain years due to all sorts of "circumstances" - it does not make them insolvent (or a Big Deal) it's just the ups and downs of a commercial enterprise. If of course the losses carry on year after year that's a different scinario.


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    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  15. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    I am not in a position to know much about the Bluebell Railway, but I am very sceptical about the accuracy of any views of an ex volunteer and 'very very occasional visitor'. :rolleyes:
     
  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Losses year after year are exactly what has been happening. As I understand it, following the return to East Grinstead, only the year following re-opening and the time when "Flying Scotsman" visited did not show a loss. It's not only the West Somerset that needs furiously to think.
     
  17. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Beware of drawing too many conclusions from accounts., I would say, particularly those from only one part of the organisation. Most railways post operating losses to a greater or lesser extent but generate compensating surpluses in other ways. The Bluebell seems to be particularly robust in its fundraising and that is a big difference if it is compared with the West Somerset. And unlike the West Somerset it is turning out enough overhauled locos to maintain its services, as well as building new carriage sheds and loco sheds and relaying significant lengths of the line. If only all other railways were doing so badly!
     
  18. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps the subject needs a thread of its own, because its not only the WSR or the Bluebell that have used up the residual life of their assets and are now increasingly dependent on non-farebox revenue to continue to exist. I believe the Talyllyn Railway has been in this situation for quite sometime.

    However the accounts of the operating company are only that, they do not show the full financial health or otherwise of the Bluebell railway family of companies.
     
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  19. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Lots of companies report an operating loss but continue to expand, Wetherspoons as an example reports an operating loss every year but continues to open more pubs. Thank goodness. :Wtf:
     
  20. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    Weatherspoons reported operating profits of over £100m last year and is, unfortunately, quite profitable. It couldn't continue to function without making profits.
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/01709784/filing-history
    Heritage railways are slightly different, in that may have benefactors with deep pockets. But how deep and for how long is the big unknown
     
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