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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. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Agreed, it has been done to death. Usually (and in conjunction with other topics that relate to the operating models of preserved railways) as the result of a dogmatic assertion of a particular model of working that ignores the hard numbers, experience and reason of those who put forward counter arguments.

    As an armchair supporter of several societies, can I just put in a bid for variety. The very short (<2 miles) do little for me, but otherwise a well run preserved railway, with well restored buildings, locomotives, and carriages, is a joy. On train catering is sometimes a boon, sometimes a threat to the wallet, and sometimes just irrelevant. But long live variety.


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  2. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    Catering nade the SVR £318,000 gross profit on s turnover of £1.2M
     
  3. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting piece in this month's Steam Railway written by the MD of the Churnet Valley Railway. It details the circumstances of turning a £100k loss into a profit, reducing the size of motive power used and general promotion of "family friendly" facilities. It sounds like some brave decisions were made for the overall good. While I am sure that all railways analyse what they do, I am not sure that many go to this extent.

    Regards

    Matt
     
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  4. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    I speculate that the recent "moves" of the CVR may well be reflected across more railways (the ones below the "premier league") in the future, as slowly "reality" takes hold with regards to long term costs, sustainability etc etc.

    I have very mixed feelings towards this sort of thing. In some ways the CVR has, in my view, somewhat lost its soul over the last 15 years. HOWEVER had it stubbornly gone on without said changes then it most likely would have collapsed. Accepting this fact has been for many volunteers and well wishers of the line (myself included) a most bitter pill to swallow!

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  5. Robert Heath No.6

    Robert Heath No.6 New Member

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    I'm just grateful that the SVR generally bothers to open on-train buffets (and even run trollies), unlike a lot of lines where it can be hard to give your money away!
     
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  6. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    You say that but a few years ago, myself and a friend were stuck on a train for the day at the SVR with no buffet car!
     
  7. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Buffets and trolleys on trains are run by volunteers - there are occasions when no volunteers are available.
     
  8. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Full credit to the one who kept it open to gone 2am at one of the SVR Autumn galas a few years ago!
     
  9. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I do know this, it's what my parents do, I'm just making the point that if doing a full line trip and with no buffet can seem like a bit of a chore.
     
  10. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    No Bathams until you get to one end or the other :eek::D
     
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  11. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Makes an hour seem like a lifetime! :p
     
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  12. Robert Heath No.6

    Robert Heath No.6 New Member

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    I'd be interested to know how much the buffet counters take over the course of a day - would it not be viable to offer someone minimum wage for the day rather than close up altogether?
     
  13. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    If it is that important, just buy a can/bottle of something before joining the train.

    PH
     
  14. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    And here was me restraining from the 'don't rub the lamp or the buffet car mafia will appear' type comments! ;):D

    Actually, despite the lower margins on pre-prepared or packaged food, the lower labour costs of a trolley especially can make on train refreshments more profitable than station tea rooms, and undeniably a more pleasurable experience for passengers, being served in their seats if they wish rather than queuing in a tea room when they have a train to catch.

    I suspect the issue at the SVR may be a desire to keep buffet cars/trolleys all volunteer and not move to a mixed staff/volunteer position.

    Steven
     
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  15. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    What do you think I've done? The problem is when you get half way, at somewhere like Arley or Highley and someone in your party (who was fine, I don't want anything) at Kiddy or Bridgo then comes out with ' ooh I could just do with... A KitKat/ slice of cake/ can of pop' then gets disappointed when told there's no buffet on the train, and they have to wait.
     
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  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    It is no different than going for a ride in a car or bus. You just come prepared or wait until you get to somewhere who can supply you.

    PH
     
  17. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    On a journey of over an hour each way I can understand why that happens and think the buffet is great, saves me messing about having to find somewhere else to cater for my needs.
     
  18. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Except it's completely different and possibly one of the reasons people visit heritage railways rather than drive their cars about or ride the local bus service, which they do that as a means to and end rather than a leisure activity.
     
  19. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Like it or not, we live in an age of instant gratification. "Want now...get now". To many of us oldsters, this is no more than an irritating indulgence, but to the irritatingly indulged (yes.....you younglings!), it's a "human right". This can be safely ignored only at the cost of the "bottom line". Remember, heritage lines only sell an illusion that's only enjoyable without any of those pesky limitations which existed in reality. T'aint about to change anytime soon, so, I'm afraid, the simple reality is, we just have to deal with it.
     
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  20. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Paul - I know you once bumped into someone who said something you disagreed with about buffet cars, and I know that both the IoWSR and W&L don't have them and therefore they are bad, but having a go at passengers for not being prepared is ludicrous. Have you actually read the posts about access to refreshments written by others?

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