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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The following is on www.facebook.com/bluebellrailway :

    Visiting us today? We are only operating between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes due to a land slip between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. Trains depart hourly between 10am and 4pm. Passengers traveling to and from East Grinstead who are in possession of a valid Bluebell Railway ticket may travel between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes on bus service 270 operated by METROBUS who have kindly agreed to accept our tickets. The Booking Office at our East Grinstead station is open, if buying from Sheffield Park of Horsted Keynes please make the Booking Clerk aware of your intention to use the bus, Kingscote Station is closed. A further update will appear on this page and www.bluebell-railway.com

    Tom
     
  2. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Probably in this case, yes - but not always - see below (Tunnel Mount and trackbed just discernible)

    Steven


    100_8428.JPG
     
  3. Paul42

    Paul42 Well-Known Member

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    For those who have not seen the Special Events for 2014 from the 2014 Events Listings thread : -

     
  4. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar New Member

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    So sadly another year of no Spring or Autumn enthusiast galas and yet the management have whacked-up price of a lineside PTS to £50:(

    Ohh for those days when we could stage Branch Line, Giants of Steam, Goods Train Day and even further back Bluebell On Parade.
     
  5. Charles Parry

    Charles Parry New Member

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    Surprised they didn't try and put some sort of Gala in in the Spring. What with a large number or visiting traction coming and going, you'd think a good crossover weekend would exist, what with L150, the Black 5, the DMU, and 56xx all visiting around then, throw in an official launch of 847 (double heading with the U for Southern livery goodness). Or even, get an LNER tank and have a big 4 gala. Ah well, a man can dream.
     
  6. A1X

    A1X Member

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    The management really do seem to be missing a trick. Yes we've had a locomotive crisis but surely something could be staged as a big "thank you" to the enthusiasts who donated to the extension appeal?
     
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  7. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar New Member

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    Yeah my thoughts exactly, we the enthusiasts have been asked many a time to donate monies to various departments of the railway, which I'd like to think the majority of us have done, and yet we get hit with a 66% hike on PTS pass renewal and no dedicated enthusiasts Spring or Autumn gala again next year. Some of the comments in the Correspondence section in the latest Bluebell News which arrived today are quite revealing over how some members feel the railway is going far too OTT on the commercial aspects and neglecting I guess what we'd call the "grass roots" enthusiast side of the railway. As one of the letters stated "Special day is say Branch Line, War Weekend, Giants of Steam and such like, but the word "special" is now slapped onto a whole month's traffic, whatever next - January Jaunts, February Frolics?"
     
  8. A1X

    A1X Member

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    Sounds interesting, I haven't received yet but I shall look forward to it with interest...
     
  9. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I get the impression that certain people at the Bluebell view enthusiasts as a nuisance until such time as money is needed for some appeal or other.
     
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  10. A1X

    A1X Member

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  11. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Saw the piece that mentioned your Winter relay on Freshfield bank.
    A figure of 75 rail lengths to be done.
    Is that 75 x 60ft panels or 37 1/2 60ft panels?
    What sort of time scale is envisaged to complete this work.
     
  12. 73129

    73129 Member

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    I don't see the hardship about paying £50 for the year. You get line side access all year and if you get a few photos in the magazines you will recoup the money back you paid for a PTS and most photographers have between eight hundred to a thousand pounds worth of equipment hanging around their necks. Just look at it has being £50 well spent.
     
  13. Paul42

    Paul42 Well-Known Member

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    The North Norfolk is £ 80.00 per year for non-members and half price for members as a comparison.
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Must admit it looks a bit thin, though similar to last year. It seems there is a trend towards even the enthusiast events having more off-train "extras" rather than just being a train service: for example, the Edwardian weekend (with fair); the War weekend (with re-enactors and flypasts etc). I suspect that works out cheaper than hiring a visiting engine while possibly being more attractive to a general audience. Certainly when I went to the War Weekend last year as a normal visitor, it was uncomfortably rammed even with four service trains in operation. Also it gives more incentive to do things other than ride on the trains, which helps with overcrowding.

    It's also probably worth remembering that operational responsibility for the railway (which would include galas) is devolved by the Society to the PLC, who have a remit to run a service that is safe, reliable and profitable. Safety has never been in doubt, and last year saw an upturn in profitability: this year the new PLC chairman has tasked the staff and operational volunteers with a focus on improving the reliability of the service. So I guess that is where the PLC focus is at the moment.

    Looking more widely at the special events, I'm also struck by just what a huge on-train dining operation the railway has become! Looking at http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/events/index.html, the following dining services are listed for 2014:

    Golden Arrow (Lunchtime, evening, special event) - 90 trains
    Wealden Rambler etc - 33 trains
    Fish & Chip - 12 trains
    Rail Ale - 4 trains

    That's before wedding charters, corporate charters etc.

    That's probably scant comfort for the line side photographer, but I suspect the PLC have a fair idea about what actually generates profit (it is notable that in recent years, even during galas, one path on a Sunday has always been taken by the Sunday lunchtime GA, rather than have four paths for gala trains). That also represents a considerable volunteer input: for example, just in loco crews and guards it is nearly 500 extra volunteer-days, before you get to on-train staff, evening signalmen etc.

    Finally, I've heard rumours - nothing more - that there will be some goods train running this year. Probably not a gala per se, but instead some goods running in between the main service trains on a few occasions for training purposes. I'm sure that if such trains arise, they will be flagged on the main website, Facebook and no doubt here.

    Tom
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Bryan

    I'm sure Jon would be a better source, but I assume the available time is at the most 26 days (because there are three weekends of shut down, plus the weekdays either side). However, No 23 points at HK also have to be changed in that time, so the available time for Freshfield Bank depends on how long that job takes as well.

    I don't know about the exact length, but I have heard that the intention is to relay the length of the current TSR - if so, 37 panels sounds more believable (say 2,000 feet) than 75 panels (which is over 3/4 mile, or half the length of Freshfield Bank. The TSR isn't that long.). I've not seen an exact figure written down.

    Hopefully Jon can keep us up-to-date as the work progresses!

    Edit: And of course now there is the issue of the landslip south of the tunnel to deal with.

    Tom
     
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Tomorrow (Sunday's) service is just SP to HK again, on the normal ex-SP timings (0945 / 1100 / 1215 / 1330 / 1445 / 1600 ex-SP and roughly 30 minutes later ex-HK).

    Because the lunchtime GA stock will be in the platform at SP overnight until lunchtime, 847 will be taking the 1100am departure; 45231 will take all the other departures and 847 will take the lunchtime arrow. Swapping engines that way (while 45231 heats the GA stock) simplifies shunting at SP in the morning. The lunchtime arrow will be doing three round trips between SP and HK, in between the service trains.

    Tom
     
  18. jonpbowers

    jonpbowers New Member

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    Both the Freshfield Bank relaying and the installation of the new pointwork at HK will be tackled between 13 Jan to 7 Feb. The plan (as of a week ago, ie. pre-landslip and possibly now subject to change) was to spend the first 2 weeks on Freshfield Bank and then switch the focus to HK.

    The intention is to relay just under 1/4 mile of Freshfield Bank (ie. the current TSR section). A large amount of work has already and will continue to be undertaken in advance of this job officially starting. My understanding is that we will use a similar method to the tried and trusted approach that we used to lay the track through Imberhorne cutting. This involves making up temporary panels in advance, which can then be transported to site / stored nearby ready to be dropped into place when required. Doing it this way also allows a physical connection to be restored relatively quickly.

    Similarly at HK, as much as possible has already been done in advance of the new pointwork being delivered (eg. the vast majority of the timbers have been accurately spaced out alongside the job, the baseplates etc cleaned up and laid out etc) to make things as quick and easy as possible when the time comes.

    All we've got to do now is hope for some reasonable weather!
     
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  19. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Jon / James
    Thanks for your replies.
    Just interested in your methods of work as we are awaiting a start on the 6th of a 96 length relay at Levisham.
     
  20. 5786Dan

    5786Dan New Member

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    Have extra trains not been added to the timetable then to ease the overcrowding?
     

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