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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    A lot of negativity here around the Dartmoor 205s! Whilst I agree there is no chance of either of them coming to the Bluebell, I would confidently predict that at least the better condition one will find a new home and have a brighter future.
     
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  2. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    I do hope so, but have to say the high density seating, which was such a boon in their service days, scarcely renders then the most open and airy of vehicles to travel in. If some flavour of unit it's to be, pampered preservation era travel is far nicer in low density seating!
     
  3. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    And yet you appear to be suggesting that more stuff should be acquired unless there is a compelling reason not to? Is too many toys for the toybox not retain enough?
     
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I think you are moving the goalposts somewhat. This would apply to any piece of additional rolling stock. If someone discovered three C20 LBSCR bogie in a field you'd have the same issue.

    I don't recall saying it should be restored outside. (My understanding is that the set is operational - and obviously, if it is actually a non-working basket case then the equation changes).

    I'd suggest that while doors are not mileage based - bogie/mechanical stuff is (was?) so if you have something that runs 30 round trips in a year that means 30 round trips less wear on the mechanical side of the carriage fleet. Yes, 6 extra bogies to maintain but working the rest of the fleet a little less intensively enabling you to manage the work load better.

    I am happy to be corrected on the mechanical side of C&W.

    It seems to be a very conservative approach to say 'no new projects'.


    None of that is in dispute.

    However, same though could be said of Beachy Head, 84xxx, any new build fleet or indeed the restoration of a nice to have but not really very useful loco or piece of rolling stock. It also assumes that the 3H would not be independently resourced/restored as many groups are.

    If this were applied rigidly then we would say no freight restoration because the revenue generated is minimal, needs to be maintained, takes up space etc etc.

    If 'has a local connection' is enough to keep somethings on the line, then how can 'ran into East Grinstead until 1987 and was running to Ukfield before withdrawl' not enough of a local connection?

    It seems to me that the compelling objective criteria are applied subjectively and I suspect that if a motor set were suddenly found in the back of a shed somewhere the reaction wouldn't be 'no room at the Inn' :)

    if it were more likely to be restored than something that has sat in a siding since 1971 then yes.

    If someone says we want to purchase and restore a 3H, we should we really say 'no because that TPO van/summer house/mk1/tanker/4mt hasn't'.

    If it is purchase it with no plan to restore/run/maintain and just to park in a siding and wait for someone else to restore it then no. But if there is a plan and the object isn't a basket case, it serves a purpose and has a historical connection, then there is no compelling reason not to because it won't prevent any summer houses or other basket cases from having their moment in the sun.

    A compelling reason to say no is 'it's a basket case, you have no money, you/we have no restoration or maintenance skills for it, you have no plan and there is no historical reason, nor any practical use for the line for the object.'
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  5. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    I think the Bluebell has it about right WRT to diesel traction.
    As Tom says the saving in mileage is considerable and as we ought to know by now, it's the boiler heat cycles that cost the real money.
    The 09 is really slow with anything resembling a train behind it on our gradients. I took 4 coaches to HK in December and don't think I got above 20mph or so uphill.
    I enjoyed driving the 73 and 33 and indeed took over running the service when a Wiltshire product sat down. A Crompton on the Mets and sheds was quite an experience. I've looked for footage of it to no avail.
    I enjoyed using the 33 on the NEP and have some great memories including some of people who are sadly no longer with us.
    As for the rescue of a failed train in section, oddly enough, I've done the Fireman's walk, the Driver's wait and the Driver's drive. The Driver's drive was to go and get the 09 and its train with the C class. So the opposite of the usual hypothetical case.
    I'd like a go on a visiting DMU or DEMU but totally agree with the arguments on the finances.
    I think the current situation is broadly tolerated and accepted on the railway.
    As for the VEP, I like them because I travelled on them and worked on them. Bridges to B'ton fast, and 90 over Keymer FTW!
     
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  6. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    At Keymer Jnc, as I recall, the buffet in a BIG was more illuminating. Southbound, it wasn't too difficult to tell seasoned Brighton Line travellers from newbies! :D
     
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  7. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Someone who’s never done a last minute shunt, ECS or Thunderbird duty by the sounds of it.
     
  8. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic Member

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    The Bluebell survived its first 45 years with no diesels. I can see a place for tampers, since no steam equivalent exists, but diesel shunters are just doing a job that could equally be done by steam, and the Bluebell's Monday Shunt was the stuff of legend...
     
  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Times change, and I think it's armchair WIBN wibble to try and claim it was anything more than playing trains. That's fine, nothing wrong with that! But it's an expensive game that the Bluebell decided they couldn't really afford to play any more. A legend it was, certainly it is just that now.
     
  10. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    On the early, and late season, could the Bluebell if it acquired a working 3h, go to one steam, one DEMU service, How much does it cost to steam a loco, and how does that compare to running an DEMU, As i understand it, the first service out of East Grinstead is not till late morning, basing an DEMU at East Grinstead would enable an much earlier start
    Even though the line closed before the introduction of diesel working, had it not then i would say there is a very good chance that the replacements would have been Sussex DEMU 's
     
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't think there can be much doubt that if you are visiting the Bluebell by rail then you might be surprised to find that the first train going south from East Grinstead is not particularly early for all the reasons we know. But I'm sure that the Railway has done the maths on this and set it beside the duty rosters and length of their steaming day. To have nothing at the north end is a slight disadvantage and I understand the argument about having a unit stabled there that you can just switch on for the first train down. But given that there is nowhere secure to store anything at EG must be a consideration plus no opportunity to do anything about it unless Sainsbury's gives back a bit of its overgenerous car park area.
     
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  12. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think it may be far more than playing trains - indeed, the very opposite may be true, and what we have now on most heritage lines be “playing trains” (Paul Theroux made some uncomfortable observations at Minehead when going round Britain 40 years ago).

    Living within the constraints of a now obsolete technology, having to work in the ways that it permits, warts and all, and using that to help illustrate something important about the lives of past generations could be really interesting as an exercise in live history - a steam age Butser.

    But at that point I would also dispense with the tamper, and probably the Wickham Trolley. Oh, and also the modern matting used in relays, and probably the modern permanent way. It would have to be all in

    I’m an armchair member, I don’t have the time to volunteer at Bluebell. And if those who do volunteer aren’t up for it, it’d be right for it not to happen.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  13. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic Member

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    I'm not dogmatic about other aspects - yet! Can anyone direct me to a good debate on the bullhead vs flat-bottomed argument? It's a matter I'd like to learn about, but I don't wish to clutter this thread with it.

    Also, here's a challenge: would it be possible, theoretically, to design and build a 100% analogue steam-powered tamper? Or are diesel power and computing power absolutely indispensable to an even basically functional tamper?
     
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  14. Woof Mk2

    Woof Mk2 New Member

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    I hate the phrase "playing train".
    In nearly 40 years I have never played trains. I have worked hard to make sure that the railway I volunteer on has grown to be successful.
    Be that as a cleaner, fireman or driver. Coming up with and implementing ideas to make events financially successful.
    Using professional experiences to make railway safer, more professional and passing on experiences to others so they learn too.
    The railway has to grow, expand and attract new young (not necessarily by age) blood.
    New forms of income streams have to be explored. Ways of being prudent and saving valuable pennies.
    If a railway stands still it will eventually die.
     
  15. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Oddly enough brand new bullhead rail can be obtained. A few lengths were obtained ( fortunately put in as well) by the I.O.W.S.R. just before COVID-19 struck.
     
  16. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I didn't mean to use "playing trains" in a dismissive way, I freely use it to describe some of the operations I'd like us to do on my own railway, running and shunting freight trains etc.
     
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  17. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Some very interesting firmly held opinions posted above on DEMUs. Some have a basis of fact but fail to take account of ways around any issues.
    Taking time away from existing commitments was mentioned, which is true, but there are ex Eastleigh Carriage Works Trimmers out there who will do work at cost, Railpart were offering brand new VEP/DEMU door locks for under £20 just as couple of solutions to two issues.

    Based on other units in Preservation fuel for two round trips a day would be expected to be c£75/day allowing for some ETH for early/late running based on bulk fuel at current 50p/litre ( currently well under that) . Would you need a centre trailer, if its the first and last service off peak a 2H would suffice, no point in throwing money and time and effort running more stock than needed.
    To my thinking the big/huge stumbling block is the capital cost of getting the Dartmoor unit into a fit conditi0n to provide a day in day out reliable service, it may be operational but talking to someone who knows the unit it is only just, and for example has well worn wheelsets flanges like a cutting disc hence the need for new ones before it can even be allowed to run at 25mph.

    Once
    the unit was restored it would provide years of reliable service for very little maintenance effort if you follow the last NSE issued DM205/7 schedule . EE equipment as fitted to DEMU and EMU was very reliable and battleship, it had to be with the intense commuter services, these units being the ultimate in KISS design and reliability. Engine and Electrical spares are still available. They are at the opposite end of the spectrum from keeping a 73 running for example.
    However - The cost of doing the Once properly would take upwards of 300/400K IMHO. Anybody win the Lottery last night as I cannot see any other way forward otherwise.

    Personally I view the 2 units, like the East Lancs DEMU, as an eventual source of parts. Same as will happen with most of the Pacers preserved last year. Same will happen to a lot of 31s, 37s, and 47s and eventually a lot of the unrestored steam locos dumped around railways in sidings. The copper will be weighed in to keep lines open when major infrastructure work comes calling. A lot of the 73s 'preserved' were sold for GBRFs silver dollars when dangled in front of their owners - very few originals left. Pessimistic or Realistic?

    Brian
     
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  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Martin - it's a non-starter. We can't berth anything at EG, and in any case there is no parking there for the crew who would presumably be starting and finishing their day there. (Over the Santa season, we had a late relief turn that booked on at SP and travelled to EG by car to relieve the crew there, who came back in the same vehicle. Running that vehicle essentially would become an additional daily cost of having a service starting at EG).

    Kingscote is out for planning reasons.

    That means the furthest north you could realistically berth such a unit is HK, and that only gets you a fairly trivial 15 minute gain on starting at SP.

    You also have to ask where would you berth it: putting it in the shed at HK means the Mets have to live outside.

    The only time I can see having a unit like that as being useful is if you got to the point where you had extended past Ardingly to Haywards Heath; you then run a feeder service from HH to HK. But realistically that is decades away if it happened at all, beyond in my view the timescale for any realistic "just in case" type planning. Acquiring a unit now just means you have all the problems of owning it for a use case that may never eventuate.

    Pace @Alan Kebby I am not negative towards the 3H: I would be delighted if some other railway felt that they could offer it a suitable home. I just don't believe that the Bluebell is the right future for it.

    It's just a fact of life that the infrastructure is the way it is - every railway is different in that regard. If you could replay life, I suspect it might have been desirable to have started at EG and gradually headed south, rather than started at SP and gradually headed north. But that wasn't a possibility in 1960 ...

    Tom
     
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  19. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Moving on with what Alex posted, these non revenue earning aspects, are also very important, guards need to know how to deal with freight stock, firemen how to split, wagons, and in the absence of a shunter, marshal wagons shunt the brake van etc, it does not make the railway any money, but it does give people waiting for their train a glimpse of a past age, of pick up freights, or a freight working clanking through the station, no aspect of the preserved railway is playing trains, every bit is governed by rules and regulations, that you ignore at your peril ,
     
  20. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Don't know the answer seriously myself, but I know a man who should know. I will ask.

    Question asked.
    Personally it will be a NO due to the amount of electronics in use now and the fact that wet stuff and electricity do not tend to mix well.
    How Mechanical, Hydraulic, Air and Power systems mix is a problem even now, let alone adding Steam into the mix.
    One other complication that needs to be addressed is a CE Toilet or other facility that would be required as a new build.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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