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Catering facilities on Heritage Railway trains (ex WSR and SVR Threads)

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by paulhitch, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Well-Known Member

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    Exactly .
     
  2. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I've read it, I've considered what you said, I haven't changed my mind.
     
  3. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Well-Known Member

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    They also sell some fine ciders on the WSR buffet cars .
     
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  4. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Hooray! Glad to hear you admit it. Sell the same tea and sandwiches before the train leaves (or after it comes back) then. It's not London to Edinburgh after all.
    Alas I am normally driving at some point when I visit one of these lines. Presumably these ciders are for sale in the "onshore" buffet as well.

    PH
     
  5. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    While I would agree with Paul in that railways need to keep a good eye on costs, by the same token, especially on the longer lines, on train catering helps the overall attractiveness of the railway.

    As a 'for example' the idea of being on a train with no catering from Minehead to BL for an hour and a half before a two hour drive home isn't that attractive especially with children in tow
     
  6. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    You really don't 'get' that on railways with corridor trains and limited space at stations (i.e. most of them!), tea rooms may have a capacity of 40 to 50 covers at best, whereas a train can have 250 to 400 seats - a buffet car can, on a decent length run, serve all of them - maybe 10 times the capacity of a tea room and on a line like the West Somerset, a much longer period of available service, without having to put gaps in the timetable (when your valuable assets of locos and stock are sat around doing nothing) to allow the tea room time to serve the train load of passengers you are trying to force to use it!

    With a more restricted menu and hence less need for staffing, buffet cars or trolleys can also be rather more profitable than tea rooms (not to mention perhaps easier to interest volunteers in).

    Steven
     
  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Never said buffet cars were particularly historically accurate except for lines like GCR and GWSR. But they're not serving the same customers as the on shore cafes. We get lots of coach parties who turn up, get on the train, have their ride and are biased out straight away. I always put them next to the buffet car and chivvy them along, they make a killing in sales. Plenty of other people who don't want to spend their time sat in a cafe but if they're eating *whilst* having their train ride that's more efficient. And of course, of all you want is a quick tea and cake, joining the queue of folk wanting hot meals isn't really what you want, I'd probably just not bother.

    I say again, why would railways run buffet cars just for fun if they're making a loss? Our commercial department puts such emphasis on our RBr compared even to an RMB that they would always rather use the set with the RBr than the RMB on one train service days. There are good reasons to alternate sets of course, so the extra profit obtained clearly outweighs this.
     
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  8. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Well-Known Member

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    Surely having happy customers is also important ?
     
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  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I suspect the last sentence in brackets contains the germ! Length of run is also a factor. Incidentally someone said to me recently that the NYR was "too long" so evidently he was not mollified by the presence of on train refreshment.

    Paul H
     
  10. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Right, that's it everybody! NYMR is too long! It must be so cos someone told Paul it was so. Someone told me the GWSR is too short, presumably that's just one person's irrelevant opinion, whereas as yours is...

    Why is having a buffet car easier to staff than a cafe a germ?

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    WSR is 20 miles long with 10 stations according to their website - no doubt with lots to see and do at station towns etc. along the route. What better way to maximise your day out along the railway than to "just in time" the service and use the buffet car for refreshments between destinations?
     
  12. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Don't quite buy the coach party argument. They fit their itinerary round what the attraction is, be it a railway ride or a bird sanctuary.
    Most RMBs have struck me as being rather NAAFI like and not somewhere I would choose if there were an alternative. Roll on the alternative.
    The person who commented on the NYMR is someone who chooses to go on long railway journeys such as overnight by sleeper, for the sake of the experience. I was surprised therefore to hear this view from him. It is similar to hearing me saying so and so line needs an extension!

    Come on, you know perfectly well that "germ" in the context I used it did not mean something that makes one unwell but the seed or kernel of something. In this case being that getting volunteers to staff buffet cars was rather easier.

    Paul H
     
  13. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    You "don't quite buy it"? Yes coach parties have itineraries that presumably have suitable stops for lunch etc but that's not what RMBs are about. Teas, coffees, cakes can be, and are, consumed throughout the day and need no planning, they're much more spur of the moment things. You can choose to buy it or not, but I've seen it, 2 TSOs both full of coach parties with something bought from the buffet car on virtually every single table.

    Your opinion may be NAAFI, but several hundred odd pounds of takings every day on our trains would disagree with you, and suggest plenty of folk are quite happy with what's on offer. I can particularly recommend our homemade Victoria sandwich cake, it really is homemade!

    I still don't understand why the fact that it's easier to staff buffet cars than cafes is a bad thing, or indeed the kernel of a bad thing.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
     
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  14. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    God this drags on! I will be in touch OP

    Paul H
     
  15. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    Well that's no fun for the rest of us who are following this discussion Paul! :)

    Perhaps the moderators could be persuaded to move it into a new thread along the lines of "The merits or otherwise of buffet cars on heritage railways"? I think discussion of the topic has interest.
     
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  16. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely Ross, personally I find buffet cars very useful, for example once one has left Bridgnorth on the way to Kidderminster and ones pint pot needs re filling around Highley what would one do without replenishment on the train?! Ok that's slightly tongue in cheek but when you think the KWVR's buffet is not only in the good beer guide but is part of the local ale trail, it must be a good way of attracting another set of enthusiasts (and cash!) to its railway.
     
  17. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    LOL. Cheers! One should never underestimate the potential of alcohol sales in the revenue equation! (Nowhere more so than in the UK!). I get that you are slightly tongue in pint....ah, sorry, I mean tongue in cheek, but here we have one man happy to see the buffet car on the KWVR as a draw card.

    So, to re-cap... That is one alcoholic, er...no, sorry my mistake, let me try that again,...one man in favour of buffet cars and one anonymous stranger on the platform against...

    Nope, still too early to extrapolate any data from these anecdotes....!

    :D
     
  18. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    You can always start such a thread.

    PH
     
  19. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    It would be a pretty boring thread.

    On short lines (say up to 10 miles) they are of questionable value as folks spend more time on stations than on the train. At a line length (my guess is around 10 miles) that balance shifts and buffet cars are (1) an essential mark of quality, and (2) a significant financial opportunity.

    A parallel with provision of on-train toilets.

    Nothing much more to say, I would have thought.

    Robin
     
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  20. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    :cool:
     

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