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Buxton Spa/Cotton Mill (North-South divide)

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by neildimmer, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. neildimmer

    neildimmer Resident of Nat Pres

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    Hi All

    It seems from reading the blurb on Past Time website, that the Tours in the North of England lose out, as all the ones taken over by Torbay are Southern affairs.

    Cant we get a tour operator Up North to revamp and run these 2 tours?

    Neil
     
  2. Alberta 45562

    Alberta 45562 Part of the furniture

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    Well if people actually booked on them instead of standing lineside for them all...... #-o
     
  3. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    There's also the issue of those of us in the south who'd love to do a Cotton Mills but getting there and back by public transport is not easy, especially on a Sunday. You then have the uncertainty
    of a cancellation and if you've booked a cheapy train ticket you won't get a refund. There's always the car of course but that can be a pain with a long drive home at the end of the day. I was hoping
    to do a Cotton Mills and a Buxton Spa in spite of the hassle of getting to Manchester and back from Bedfordshire but looks like I could be in for a long wait now.
     
  4. Alberta 45562

    Alberta 45562 Part of the furniture

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    It wasn't people in the south i was getting at,its people like us that live litrally a 40 minute drive or a 60 minute train journey from Manchester.
     
  5. 5596

    5596 Member Account Suspended

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    You can't get away from it - this forum is so often simply something for the linesiders to rush home and fill up with their - often hardly worth it - shots, taken in fog, rain, occasionally sun - but only rarely do you see comments from on board paying customers.

    Look at the pictures of the castle last Saturday - definitely worth rolling over and staying in bed for from a lineside point of view.

    One can only wonder - with hindsight - whether the CM cancellations were a lot more to do with pending financial problems and cutting losses before they occurred, than actual poor performance on the day from walk ups.

    Compared with the cost of a Torbay, a Friday night Travelodge - yes CMs were a Saturday affair - and a journey up and back at reasonable times is not excessive compared with two nights in Bristol that I would need to do a TE.

    There were discussions on here earlier in the year about re-structuring the CMs to create more marketable product - stopping in Hebden Bridge, doing a Pendle Witch, Cotton Mill, Summer Wine variety and both ways.

    Let's hope we haven't seen the last of this routine.
     
  6. dp266

    dp266 Member Account Suspended

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    Cotton Mills were probably at risk anyway. Lots of comments about the same locos in use so no incentive to travel. Were they run with too high a frequency? Suggestions were to use alternative locos and stimulate the trip. Many people do care about what is on the front and will repeat trips. Also CMs did not offer a stop so that Joe Public could view it as a day out. A destination would have attracted the family market a little more.

    Buxton Spa did just this save for the same locos, and ran less frequently.

    Hopefully another company will fill part of this gap in the market and with a refreshed pool of locos, maybe some linesiders may pay the fare...
     
  7. richard_3672

    richard_3672 Member

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    When I was on the loco in January, we had a lad and his girlfriend (from Blackburn) come up asking if this was a one off or whether they run all the time. When given the answer they both seemed astounded and said they'll book up in the future. I noticed a few 'non-enthusiasts' looking on with wonder about the train, so to the paying public any loco is any loco.

    I think that the right amount of advertising in the right places could bring the market. Every time I'm in Preston Station there are leaflets and posters advertising the Fellsman. Maybe change the route a bit to go from token places to Manchester (example - reverse the route to go from Blackburn to Manchester and return, maybe back again).

    I think that with the right amount of thought and action, the CMEs could really hit off big time, same motive power or not. I personally don't care if 45407 ran it month in and month out. The way I see it, it's running so be glad it is.. I'd rather the same loco than none at all, take what you can and be thankful that it's there.
     
  8. 5067

    5067 Member

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    eh? Past Time Rail, no longer in business. All remaining CM dates cancelled?

    Let's hope we see the Cotton Mill return in some form or other, whether it just be two a year, or a summer programme like the Scarborough Spa Expresses etc.
     
  9. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest


    I completely agree, Cotton Mill only works for southerners if making a weekend of it, I questioned why this didnt pick up at Preston on the inbound ECS and drop off on the way back ? Ive wanted to do the Cotton Mill a number of times but the weekends never quite worked for a last minute trip.. (or it got canceled).

    The big miss for me was the cancelation of the London-Round Manchester / Lancashire 4th August re-run last year with 70013/48151/45407 that trip if it had of happened would have been fantastic ! - I was even ensured my stag do wasnt on that weekend !

    There's lot of trips inbound to London, but out bound they tend to be Cathedral runs round the south east, or KX to York, not much to the Midlands or North West (even the flying carpet got canceled !)

    Maybe we should set up the NatPres Railtour company and sort out our own trips !
     
  10. 60017

    60017 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Hells teeth ! Can you imagine the rants about what headboards/liveries and stock to use if we did ? #-o
     
  11. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    There'd be more arguments about the routing than Network Rail.
     
  12. lil Bear

    lil Bear Part of the furniture

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    And we'd have to decide whether to keep the diesel on!
     
  13. richard_3672

    richard_3672 Member

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    I meant if CMEs return with a constant loco pool hauling.. Sorry if it didn't seem clear 8-[
     
  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Another thing that bugs me - going a little off thread - is these "pool" tours that don't list the specific loco for a specific date. The amount of tours I can do is limited by work commitments, Saturdays are almost a no-go for me, so I try and target the locos I want to travel behind. I've yet to go behind 6233 and she's in the pool for the LIverpool - Holyhead this year. Try finding out which Sunday she's running though. RYTC say they don't know which locos will work on which days until shortly before the tour runs. I find this hard to believe as support crews need to be organised and I suspect RYTC have a pretty good idea of the actual roster reasonably well in advance. Got the same from PTR when trying to book a Torbay. Want the Castle but all they would say is they can't guarantee any particular loco from the pool. I realise that plans can be subject to last minute changes and I'm prepared to accept that but it would still be nice to know the intended motive power in advance. Was just the same on the CMEs in the 80s. Booked three trips in the hope of different locos but ended up with the same loco each time. By the third trip the novelty had worn off slightly.
     
  15. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    And if the support coach should be at the front or back..... ](*,)
     
  16. Alberta 45562

    Alberta 45562 Part of the furniture

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    The obvious thing,to stop the diesel arguement would be to have it on all the time 8-[
     
  17. belle1

    belle1 Part of the furniture Moderator

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    On the front, back or inside? :-#
     
  18. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    A preserved diesel would add to the tour, rather than the usual class 67.

    Whats the costs involved with operating a tour anyway?

    Ive heard between £5-10k for the steam loco, then stock hire, route access, water, coal etc, is it fair to say between £10-15k for a trip, divided by 500 people is £30 a head.

    I guess the extras come in with paid staff, advertising etc, but if a group of enthusiasts got together to do their own trips, and promoted it via the enthusiasts network, rather than newpaper/press etc and offered the profits to various projects, then there could be a case for a company specialising in the one off trips which seem to cause the main stream operators pain.
    As I said before, clever routing / selections of locomotives and opening ECS moves to the public at a cheaper rate could all bring down some of the costs.

    Instead of a cotton mill, how about a Carnforth - Preston - Blackburn - Helifield - Carnforth, and same day return itiniery.. no ecs, short run to allow a day out, and catchment area which could include the manchester area, two bites at the cherry, or offer an out and back return trip.

    A Manchester - Liverpool - Manchester x2 trips on a sunday could also offer a day out from two major cities in either direction.. and two bites at the cherry, with a loco from Bury again the cost is reduced, and even open up a Lancaster - Manchester ECS to passengers ?
     
  19. Guest

    Guest Part of the furniture Account Suspended

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    You need to be thinking more of £30 to £35k for the one off tours
     

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