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Class 507 to be preserved at Nant Mawr, funding appeal launched

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by eldomtom2, Mar 26, 2024.

  1. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    So you want people to fund, volunteer for, restore and find covered accommodation and workshop space for something that they either don't like or have no strong affinity for?

    Good luck with that!

    Do come back in a years time and let us know how many vehicles you've saved/restored and how many volunteers you have working on them.
     
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  2. eldomtom2

    eldomtom2 New Member

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    Obviously everything needs some degree of interest to be preserved; what I was disagreeing with was the attitude that only those items with general popularity with the GP etc. were worthy of spending effort on.
    I'm absolutely not saying that; I'm responding to a post saying the people who are interested in preserving EMUs etc. should give up.
     
  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    if you want to preserve something then what is the plan for maintaining your item . Can you commit to the long term and have a fund for ongoing maintenance , or can you earn enough to sustain the item . Do you have the skills to maintain it , or a team around you to support the long term preservation and maintenance
    And this is where EMU preservation struggles . Easy (ish) to secure the item but then there is no work for it . Fair play to those at the SERA who saved many items but the harsh reaity became there just isn't the support to secure these items long term and outside storage just contributes to rapid decay
     
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  4. Musket The Dog

    Musket The Dog New Member

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    I don't think anyone has said that. I think what has been suggested (rightly or wrongly) is that the effort spent on this particular unit could be better spent elsewhere. EMU preservation can be done successfully. The IOW Steam Railway have shown that quite recently with their preserved class 483 which is currently an interactive but static museum piece in their Train Story museum. This unit was fortunate in that it could come straight out of service, in reasonably good condition and move directly into covered accommodation. It also directly ties into the history of the Island's railways so fits the museum well. It is also unlikely to be duplicated in any meaningful way until the 484s come out of service.

    However it demonstrates the issues of static EMU preservation quite well too. The Train Story was full before it went in so something (or some things) else precious to someone else has to come out to make a 2 coach EMU sized space. What would you take out of the Museum of Liverpool to fit it in? If you are a fan of EMUs, should you spend the cash trying to preserve one of everything even if it just rots on a siding past the point of saving, or concentrate the finite funds on preserving and potentially restoring a smaller selection? It's not like one of every class of steam loco has been preserved, or one of each type of steam hauled suburban coach.
     
  5. eldomtom2

    eldomtom2 New Member

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    The post I was responding to wasn't suggesting focusing EMU preservation on a few examples though. It seemed to be like it was suggesting giving up on EMUs altogether.
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's not really how things happened for Victorian 4/6 wheelers. Pretty much every such coach that is running today was not "preserved" in the conventional sense. Instead they were sold off by the railway companies for use as houses, pavilions and the like, before being rescued decades later and restored, often from very poor condition and almost universally without under frames.

    The equivalent today wouldn't be someone saying "can we preserve this 40 year old EMU?" It would be selling the 40 year old EMU off to a private owner who stripped out the interior and converted it for glamping, dumping the bogies in the process; and then rescuing it from a field 70 or 80 years later and saying "hey, we could restore this".

    Don't over-romanticise the past as if there was some golden age when we knew the historical value of old machinery and acted accordingly. By and large that was never the case; things only start to generate interest when they are already scarce. 'Twas ever thus.

    Tom
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'd pay to ride in a first gen EMU!

    [​IMG]

    If you are talking about Coventry in the 1970s, aren't you up to about the fifth or sixth generation!

    (Apologies for the off-topic pedantic rant!)

    Town
     
  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    However, @The Green Howards is saying exactly what did happen with the Quad Arts. Important - but utilitarian - vehicles that were recognised as important, then preserved in varying degrees of benign neglect for many years, before undergoing a proper restoration.

    Ditto the Chesham set.

    If all of the PEPs are scrapped, they won't be available for restoration later. Preservation schemes like this, however flaky they seem now, may be all that stand between us and complete loss of that part of our heritage. I'm sure I've read of historically valuable rolling stock being stored on the Ardingly branch, and now being regretted as being lost for ever.

    One final point, aimed more at the views expressed by @goldfish. Tastes change. There was a time when St Pancras was up for demolition and Victorian architecture deemed unworthy. Yet now...
     
  9. Musket The Dog

    Musket The Dog New Member

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    Like I said, I can't see anyone saying 'don't preserve EMUs' or that people should give up with the idea or even suggesting it. Just being realistic, which is probably a long hard stare at what's been gathered in the preceding decades.

    If it's about 'keeping and preserving what we already have', that still includes a heck of a lot of EMU stock. Just look at the list of disposals from the Electric Railway Museum and then how many other objects are also owned by the groups that have taken them on. The unfortunate truth is that the money required to shift the 507 and conserve it, is still more money that is not being directed at the existing fleet of unrestored EMUs.

    If it all rots away because the cash is spread too thin then everything loses. That counts for everything too, EMUs, heritage coaches, steam locos...
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes, but two important points from that.

    Firstly - yes, the quad-arts were saved. The Chesham carriages were saved (or most of them, at any rate). More recently, the 4-VEP was saved directly out of mainline service. But those are exceptions - the fact that we saved the Cheshams doesn't mean we have a complete collection of turn-of-the-century suburban rolling stock. So there is still an element of preserving some things as significant but they have to represent a wider picture. Additionally, preserving one thing decreases the significance of others. If, back ca. 2005, there had been options to preserve both a 4-VEP and a 4-CEP - should you have preserved both? I wouldn't like to say which was more or less significant in historic terms, but what is demonstrably true, once you preserve one of them, the significance of the other declines. Which is important if you have limited resources.

    The second point, relating to Ardingly - yes, lots of rolling stock was scrapped that now we mourn its passing. But realistically, what was the alternative? It was owned by BR, and at the time there was almost no preservation movement that could have taken it on. For the (more or less one sole line ...) that could have done so, the opportunity cost of doing so would have been huge - maybe we'd have half a dozen unrestored hundred seaters but no Adams Radial or Billinton E4 because money was not available, having been spent preserving carriages that were surplus to requirements. 60 years on, we'd now be having a conversation about which two of the eight notionally surviving hundred seaters should be saved, and which six should be broken up ...

    Tom
     
  11. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    I find that a rather patronising reply from you, Tom - one that is unworthy of you. I'm perfectly aware of how what few 4/6 wheelers came to be preserved given that I live in a part of the world where many an ex-GER grounded body is to be seen.
     
  12. Sheff

    Sheff Resident of Nat Pres

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    AFAIK they were the 1st generation on the WCML in that area?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  13. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I agree completely, which is why where the PEPs are concerned, I've been clear to suggest that I don't see "one of each" as a desirable outcome. So, given that a 313 has been preserved at Eastleigh, I see the 507 as materially less important because the page in history can be more fully represented by the dual voltage 313. Likewise, the preservation of a number of SR DEMUs assuages my regrets about the lack of some of the similar EPBs and HAPs/CAPs.

    However, the world has also moved on since the pioneering days of preservation. I intend no criticism of those who made the choices they did 60 and more years ago. But we also know with the benefit of hindsight that those choices also had costs, and that there are regrets from decisions that weren't taken. My critique of the "it's utilitarian, so let it go" school of thought is that, aside from the poverty of its view of historical significance, we know that tastes have changed over time - St Pancras being a primary example.
     
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  14. eldomtom2

    eldomtom2 New Member

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    I was specifically talking about Goldfish's post; apologies if I misinterpreted it.
     
  15. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The 507 has raised an important element of preservation in the fact that its prime claim to fame is 46 years of service within the Merseyside network hence the importance of it being preserved within Merseyside where neither space for stabling and maintenance or opportunities for regular running are available. In that sense it's a pity that Birkenhead Central shed couldn't be made available but I presume H&S concerns over the 3rd rail preclude that. Its importance as one of the last PEP family to be operational allows its preservation to be undertaken at sites outside Merseyside although one with a Merseyside connection would be most appropriate given the availability of a converter brakevan fitted with buffers at one end and a class 507 coupling at the other to allow use as hauled stock.
    Sadly the preservation opportunity exists within a short window but, as Sidmouth points out, the would-be preservationists need to schedule regular maintenance and under cover storage once they take possession of the unit. The current fates of both the class 502 & 503 trainsets indicate the problems and consequences over time of preserving EMUs. Whilst I have a small collection of images of both trainsets - including running in service in LMS livery - these images at least will survive in a more secure state than the subjects of the images will and may be used once the loss of the original is appreciated. Many in Merseyside mourn the passing of the Docker's Umbrella which would today represent a major tourist attraction - a fact not appreciated at the time hence its destruction - and the long-lived class 507 /508 are liable to go the same way; such is progress.
    This is not a new phenomenon as the LNER scrapped the original Newport - Sheldon electric route when renewal costs proved dearer than using available steam traction whilst the L&YR scrapped the Holbrook branch after using it to test electric traction. Sadly looking back with rosy vision does not fund the preservation of rolling stock which needs expensive infrastructure to operate and is difficult to find both storage and running opportunities for such items.
     
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  16. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    Happy to be proved wrong, but my understanding from speaking to one of the founding members is that the Quad Arts were not primarily preserved for their "recognised importance". They had been tripped by BR to Norfolk for scrapping and were subsequently seen as a local, available, all-in-one train that was light in weight and had a high seating capacity which was the desired combination to accompany the small industrial locos which were being proposed to run the fledgling NNR.

    It was only later it was realised that they had (almost accidentally) bought the only steam age articulated set to survive, and later still that serious inroads were made to preserve them properly. There were several moments in the railways history where their disposal was considered - of course with the benefit of hindsight the Quads story is almost fairy tale like, but I'm sure it was nowhere near as clear cut for those involved at the time.

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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2024
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