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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. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I do all three. In each case it is no hardship to wait a little while or anticipate the journey you are about to make.

    PH
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Oh please no, we've only gone round this circle the other week, usually Paul's pet hates are on a cycle of several months!

    *Obviously* heritage railways run buffet cars for fun, because the extra few tons makes engines work much harder so more coal goes up the chimney which enthusiasts like, and they make a horrendous loss because they cater for exactly the same market as big station tea rooms serving full meals.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
     
  3. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Err, how well did you do on the customer care course?

    Actually, to be fair, I can't recall if you have a customer facing role - if not, it might help to remember that NO-ONE has to travel on a preserved railway - they do so for pleasure and by choice and hence won't expect to be told to buy their refreshments before boarding - I presume that 'some' railways must include this in their publicity and instructions at the Booking office!

    (The danger is, of course, that they do - from their local supermarket!)

    If we ever make it down to the IoWSR, I might get my other half to tell you how special she finds taking refreshment on a train or boat, as clearly the pleasure of the experience has passed you by, and that is rather sad!

    Steven
     
  4. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well said Alex - should we submit the speed of re-occurrence of this topic tot he Guinness Book of Records! ;)

    Actually, my view is that it is wiser at quiet times of the year to staff ONE buffet car than a Tea Room at each end of the line, although I suppose one in the middle might be an innovative approach to the problem!

    Steven
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I visited a railway the other week that was about four or five miles long. The main station was in the middle, with a round trip consisting of a run of a mile or so; quick run-round; trip to the other end; run round and back to the main, intermediate station.

    Rolling stock was all vintage non-corridor. The whole railway oozed vintage atmosphere and really seemed to be "getting it right".

    They had a buffet at the main station; and a second at the further terminus, about three miles away (plus another option to buy food in their carriage shed, which was a couple of minutes walk from the main station).

    Oh, and they were offering afternoon teas on a buffet carriage ...

    IMG_3685.JPG

    All eating establishments (fixed and mobile) seemed to be patronised ...

    Tom
     
  6. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Right.

    As far as the W&LLR is concerned it has a sustained ruling gradient of 1 in 29 topped off with multiple check railed reverse curves. Not somewhere excess tare is to be welcomed. Only the F.R,/WHR amongst the Welsh narrow gauge have corridor vehicles in any case so they are the only ones with on train catering. The V of R, for example, has a journey time of one hour which is longer than the W&LLR.

    The IOWSR has a proud boast that no vehicle you will ride in is newer than 1924. Not an era when secondary services "boasted" on train refreshment services and the rolling stock reflects this.. The principal station is no further than eleven minutes from either terminal and, at busy times, it has three separate catering outlets. The vast majority of passengers board here.

    As for buffet cars being "bad", that is an exaggeration. I think they tend not t0 be very good though and add to management difficulties. The account above of one being closed due to staffing difficulties tends to back this up. I have encountered this myself on another line but as I had something to drink before getting aboard, this was no problem.

    PH
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2017
  7. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    One thing missing from heritage lines, as far as I know, is the platform based trolley buffet which operated at a few selected locations. This is an NRM collection image:
    young-boys-manning-a-refreshment-trolley-at-paddington-station-about-1910.jpg?w=.jpg
     
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  8. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify a point re towing around a buffet car. The seating is available to anyone to use. If we did not have a buffet car in the formation we would need another TO. Average TO 34t and RMB 39t. With a RMB we are only increasing train weight by 5 t - hardly gong to strain a loco
     
  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Steven,
    I know I am not a particular admirer of Tripadvisor but the lack of on train refreshments is not something I have ever read complaints there about the IOWSR. Neither is the lack of on-train sanitation. Hardly surprising. It is only a touch over five miles long and most trains stop at the intermediate station. As for customer care, that tends to get particular praise especially that given by the platform staff.

    Nobody is ever "told" to get refreshments before joining the train. With respect, (sorry for that loaded expression but you have nettled me somewhat) you can have no idea of how this particular museum volunteer treats visitors when working there. Hopefully helpfully, informatively and with respect

    PH
     
  10. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    I recall the last time I travelled on the Wensleydale that was their approach, with a tea room at Leyburn. That was some years ago though.
     
  11. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    This thread is supposed to be about news on SVR locos.

    The refereshment thing is DONE! - can we move on now?
     
  12. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    And could the Mods relocate the latest outbreak of the 'Buffet Car Wars' to the recent specific thread!

    Steven
     
  13. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Done ... before the will to live completely escapes me.
     
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  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Can you change the thread title to "... ex- WSR Operations and ex-SVR Motive Power and ..." while you are about it? Just to save time for the next time it comes round. :)

    Tom
     
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  15. Andre

    Andre New Member

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    If you're doing it right, YES!
    It's obviously far more productive to take the 'counter' to the customer than expect the customer to come to you: on those occasions when we have been unable to operate an at seat trolley service, spend per pax has amounted to around 25% of the usual level. In terms of turnover, add in pre-booked catering packages and it's not difficult to achieve a four figure on-train catering income per day.
    Don't forget that on-train catering can and does drive footfall by those who would not otherwise have visited. So add in the fare box income and it soon becomes an important source of profitable revenue!
     
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  16. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    Consall station, Churnet Valley, does have a trolley buffet although it is not as grandiose as the gem in your illustration!

    The Consall trolley also seems to settle in one place under the canopy so it's questionable if it really counts as a trolley but I can vouch that it does have wheels and can be moved around!

    Sent from my HTC Desire 620 using Tapatalk
     
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  17. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Isnt it just expanding the visitor experience? How many visitors to our railways know what potentially is on offer? and can make their mind up before they visit, the market used to be turn up and travel, but now with almost universal internet coverage, you can see whats on offer, for instance, cream teas etc, a family might think, thats an idea, or more honestly its a good way to placate the female members of your party who are not as interested in railways and steam engines, throw in a cream tea, and they will in most cases go away happy, and tell all their friends about it, and maybe try other offerings such as on train dining :eek: smelling salts please ,
    Even if you dont have a restuarant car, that dont mean you cant offer some degree of at seat cateering if pre booked, I have often wondered,taking PH's favourate railway, once more 4 wheelers become availible, why not offer pre booked hampers in the ventor west set as an experiment or private hire to parties as long as it is done in a way that plays on the Victorian experience, hot drinks can be done using flasks, and they can always be changed on each stop at Havenstreet, or courses brought and taken away a removable long tables in the open saloons should be easy enough to construct even get people to dress up in suitable dress, an edwardian dinner party , with an edwardian menu , in edwardian coaches hauled by a vintage engine, i think you may be pleasently surprised at the popularity of such a venture, and you have most of the necessary activities already at hand.
     
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  19. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Well Martin, as ever I half agree with you and half disagree! There are quite a lot of initiatives around things such as fish and chips and, in one instance in the U.S.A., ice cream. On the IOWSR, catering is extremely lucrative and a new outlet has been established this year alongside Train Story. This comprises a light refreshment counter contrived from a nicely (IMHO) restored freight container. Too early to see if this proves lucrative or not but the facility itself is an ingenious piece of restoration.

    Two warnings. Firstly, if catering can make a deal of money, it can also lose it. One particular railway has had periodic bouts of significant losses from catering. Secondly our friend "heritage". As you well know, whilst I fully accept tourist railways have to change for their new role,I think buffet cars are a step too far if any real degree of rural branch line atmosphere is to be retained. Particularly, forgive me, on an erstwhile Col. Stephens line.

    Paul H
     
  20. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    In Edwardian times, the LSWR had something called a "tea basket" - each basket had a pot of fresh-made tea, milk, bread and butter, Madeira cake and jam - one shilling.

    The Midland had "Luncheon Baskets" - Half a chicken and ham or tongue, salad, bread, cheese and butter, half a bottle of claret or burgundy - three shillings. Or - Veal and ham pie, salad, cheese, bread and a bottle of stout - two shillings.


    If thinking of reintroducing this sort of service, you may want to review the prices!
     
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