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Didcot "we need small engines to survive"

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Reading General, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    Have you done market research into what the paying public think of BR liveries?
     
  2. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    The King looks absolutely lush in Blue. Most people won't distinguish a dark green engine covered in shiny nonsense with BR emblems on the side from a similar loco with GWR written on it. Let's be honest with ourselves on that.

    The thing I noticed about Didcot the last time I visited (we were passing by on the Tornado weekend) was that lots of things felt very tired. Ironically the 14 was an exception to that, as was the King. I've no worries with the locos and stock having a patina of dirt and wear, but for example the coaches Tornado was dragging up and down looked knackered. Not the end of the world for me, but for non-enthusiasts it is a real turnoff. Similarly the toy/branch line with the railmotor would be better if it was looked after better - the railmotor itself looked faded and dirty. Realistic? Probably… attractive to your average visitor? Not so much…

    It's hard enough to drag grudging visitors through the fug of the (more than) occasional socially inept lost soul wandering around the site. But it gets harder still when the exhibits, whether they're buildings, locos or rolling stock aren't in decent nick (and yes, I recognise the challenge of keeping stock well-maintained etc.… just making the point that in comparison to worrying about absolute consistency in company branding, focusing on keeping stuff clean and shiny is WAY more important - particularly after parking in a grotty car park in an industrial estate, walking over a scaffolding bridge, and then through a sewer - ;) - to get on site in the first place… ).

    Simon
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  3. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Are you sure it was Didcot you went to, I don't recognise it from your description and there is a car park opposite the main station entrance a couple of minutes walk away.
     
  4. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    Maybe you don't know it as well as you think you do? I'm also pretty certain there's only one blue King doing the rounds…

    https://goo.gl/maps/YDoZTpYMzKL2

    Simon
     
  5. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I know it very well, there a few weeks ago on a photo charter, the car park I mentioned is on your map
     
  6. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Following my last visit to Didcot 12 months ago, there is not a word of this I would disagree with.

    Steam centres/steam railways are in competition for trade with innumerable tourist attractions, most of which have the great advantage of not using dirt producing steam machinery. If you don't think this matters I would cite a well expressed Tripadvisor review where the lady expressed her pleasant surprise at finding a tourist railway where the carriage interiors were kept clean as were the windows.

    However, Tripadvisor should be approached with caution. It is essentially amateur and can suffer from excessive enthusiasm as well as, frankly, spite. Far more significant, if not perhaps in terms of public awareness, is the professionally inspected Quality Guarantee scheme of VisitEngland. Above the basic standard required for membership, there are various"accolades" for particularly high standards in various categories. There is an overall gold accolade for across the board standards which requires an overall score of 85% and takes some achieving. A bit like Michelin stars in fact.

    Several steam railways/centres belong, amongst over 1,000 organisations but how many receive any sort of accolade? Precisely two. Rather more important IMHO than worrying too much over paint shades.

    Paul H
     
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  7. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    That it may be – unfortunately it's not the one signposted from the A34 which, seeing as it had been more than 30 years since my last visit, and it was very much a spur of the moment visit rather than anything I'd actually planned, is the route we took.

    Simon
     
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