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Boiler Repairs and Competency - ex Lottery turns down funding for GCR Museum

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 30854, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn Member

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    £10k a year is about £4.80 an hour. Pretty typical for a low grade apprenticeship.
     
  2. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Not disagreeing with the salary comparison you make but the effect on the total cost you describe is again a gross oversimplification.

    If a boilersmith is on say £15/hr then, with a 40hr week & paid holiday (an overhead cost) he earns just over £30k pa. Increase the hourly pay rate by one third to £20/hr & the "charge out" hourly rate including the premises, tools etc goes up by £5. So if the current charge out rate was £35 (not untypical) the new rate with a one third pay rise would become £40/hr all other costs remaining static. A rise yes but not the dramatic difference you are attempting to portray. As a percentage that is a rise in the total cost of the labour charge out component of around 15% taking your £100k overhaul up to £115k. That of course disregards materials so the real percentage increase would be somewhat less.
     
  3. W.Williams

    W.Williams Well-Known Member

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    Amazing to think Boilersmith charge out rate is circa 35 an hour when intra-industry the rate for competent Mechanical Engineers is circa 100 an hour.

    By all logic, Boilersmiths should be charging a heafty premium for their very much in demand services.
     
  4. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn Member

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    Not sure what I got wrong with the maths but your numbers seem correct. That said, I think we are looking at a larger increase, and from a lower starting point (I'd be expecting an average wage more like £12/h rather than £15/h) - to attract in suitably skilled workers £20/h is probably realistic.

    One also has to factor in the cost of employers NIC - currently 13% IIRC
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I wonder how price elastic railway boiler work is? For example if costs were to go up by say 10% because wages had increased to attract more boilersmiths, would this price some restorations out of the market (paradoxically lowering demand). I wonder about smaller or more marginal groups who might not be able to take the hit.

    I don’t know how price sensitive boiler work is.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I suspect boiler contracting is still pretty much a finger in the air job. These things are rarely straight forward This is especially so when you are bashing metal to shape. You may get it right first time so it fits where it is intended but you might also spend a lot of extra time in getting it right.
     
  7. 3155

    3155 New Member

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    At Ribble Steam Railway, we appear to be bucking the trend of contracting out all boilerwork, we work very closely with our Boiler Inspector & agree at all stages, what is required, how & who will do it. Currently we are working on the following boilers in house:-

    NIDDRIE
    New boiler barrel, new smokebox, new front tubeplate & new Throatplate, new longtitudinal stays plus 4 skirts on outer wrapper. Copper firebox removed & weld repaired.

    WINDLE
    New boiler barrel, new firebox outer wrapper, new throatplate, repaired girder stays etc

    HORNET
    New foundation ring, new front tubeplate, new smokebox, new smokebox door, new chimney, repairs to backhead, repaired girder stays,4 new skirts.

    WALKDEN
    3 New skirts, major backhead repairs, replacement of all Crown stays etc

    NW GASBOARD
    New front tubeplate, currently awaiting removal of copper box for repair & reinstatement

    We have shopped around, sought advice off others & sourced a lot of the materials & suppliers to enable our volunteers to progress these repairs , fortunately over the years we have created good workshop facilities (inc the 25ton overhead crane, the biggest bargain we have ever negotiated) & we have some good machinists & engineers to aid the process.

    3155









    3 New skirts,
     
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  8. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    But a large increase would kill off a proportion of the work & make the current shortage of working steam locos worse. Modest regular increases must be the way to go.
     
  9. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    Given the position is for a 40 hour week, that would only be a legal wage at the "apprenticeship" rate, which applies to apprentices under 19 or in the first year of their apprenticeship. The normal non-apprenticeship minimum wage for someone in the 18-20 age bracket is about £12,250 for a 40-hours-per-week job.
     
  10. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    Not just National Insurance. Increase the wages and tax and pension contributions go up too. The extra £5 an hour for wages could mean the employer needs to charge an extra £10 an hour to cover the increased costs.
     
  11. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    surely an apprentice-ship like that would be attractive to a current teenage volunteer, and lead to being one of the leading lights on the Railway, right in the centre of things. He could always live up the headshunt in a PMV, wouldn't be the first!
     
  12. W.Williams

    W.Williams Well-Known Member

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    As near as a new boiler then?

    Not trying to be facetious, but in the old days the time required to conduct comparable work like that would have meant a new/refurb boiler going in to protect the revenue stream.

    Do any of the railways do revenue calcs regarding time out of service and conclude having a second boiler on standby might make sense?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  13. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    That would only start to make sense if you had a fleet of locos that could use the same boiler. Most railways have a variety of locos that have non-interchangeable boilers.

    Keith
     
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  14. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps but then you lose a volunteer...

    I think my concern is this - the way the apprenticeship is paid is as if it is a low skill job when it is in the reverse. I have no experience with boiler work but I would assume that if I were looking at the CV's I'd be looking for good grades in maths, sciences, design/technology. If I were a school leaver with good grades in those areas I'd be looking for something that pays a little bit better than legal minimum wage, which means that potentially you might not get the best candidates applying for the job. I'd suggest that boiler work is not a job that 'anyone' can do it.

    Many years ago I worked in kitchens, in this particular kitchen the ability to count was very important because the food had to go in different boxes. However,it was only minimum wage, the upshot was that the only person who applied for the job was innumerate. There were a lot of problems...
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The heritage railway world is about as far removed from your thoughts as you can get. They generally have more locos than ever needed so one is ready to take over from one coming out of service and may then sit in a siding for years because that is the name of the game. Mechanical overhauls will often take as long as a boiler overhaul as there is no big works providing labour and spares. You don't generally fit an already overhauled injector but have to overhaul the one that came off It is a cottage industry where management accountants aren't watching every penny in this way. Fortunately. Instead, people are watching every penny in carrying out the overhaul
     
  16. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I recognise the current picture you describe some groups with locos of similar/identical types are now looking at having spare overhauled "on the shelf" components & that thinking is drifting towards new boilers....
     
  17. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    The Welsh Highland Railway have a growing fleet of NGG16 Garratts. For several years both boilers and power bogies have rotated between locos as required e.g. no. 140 has never entered service but its boiler and at least one bogie have been in use on other locos. Another spare boiler has been obtained from Australia and is being overhauled.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  18. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    It is interesting that the NGG16 boiler from Australia became available because Puffing Billy decided to construct a new boiler as part of the overhaul and re-gauging of the loco. Does make you wonder about the likely life left in that boiler.

    Peter
     
  19. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    don't think of it as a job, think of it as the equivalent of going to University and getting 10 grand a year in your pocket. All apprenticeships always have had a minimal amount of pay attached, sometime parents would be expected to pay for the privilege.
     
  20. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    That maybe true but the pay and hours do not scream 'this is a high skill, high value job'.
     

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