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ETL [ACLG] To dispose of fleet

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by markb846, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. TheLairdofNetherMoor

    TheLairdofNetherMoor New Member

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    I've met a significant number of younger enthusiasts who have no interest in steam whatsoever, regardless of what colour it's painted. It just isn't relevant to them. Given that Railways are far less of a mainstream interest than they were for the previous few generations, there will be fewer interested people to potentially preserve more and more items, as not only do we wish to continue with the preservation of all the existing stuff, but we'll have to add many of the current locos / stock / .... to that list. Something will have to give, unless railways suddenly become an in-vogue thing to be interested in and there's a mass influx of people. There appears little chance of that being the case with the current generation, by which time it'll likely be too late for a good number of preserved items.
     
  2. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Part of the furniture

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    This line of argument is deviating from what ETL are proposing to do. There was obviously sufficient interest to purchase these electrics from their previous owners (I assume) but now that there isn't a certain mainline future for them, they have to be cut-up. Really not sure where your argument ties in with this. Perhaps there would be a rescue plan for them if they were made available to other people who may pay less than the scrapman - which takes me back to John's point a few days ago - are ETL in debt?
     
  3. TheLairdofNetherMoor

    TheLairdofNetherMoor New Member

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    You're correct that the discussion has deviated somewhat. These locos are not 'preserved', they are owned by a company, ETL, and so I would fully expect them to go to the highest bidder, whether scrapman, preservation group, or export market. I have to admit to being unsure of the relationship between ETL and the ACLG, as my perception was that they appeared very close initially, but have gradually distanced themselves from one another, perhaps for good reason. Clearly the aims / motives of a company and a preservation group will likely be very different.
     
  4. captainbigun

    captainbigun New Member

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    Look at Companies House. Clearly not.

    What's your suggestion for keeping half a dozen locos home and dry?

    There is no magic rescue plan, the costs involved not only in purchase but also storage and transport mean that it would have to be a very wealthy individual who could sustain this. None have been forthcoming.

    ACLG is a Group of people. Locos have to be owned by a company, not only for initial purchase but also for insurance, both of the asset and for public liability. Hence ETL. No other preserved loco which operates on the mainline is any different.
     
  5. markb846

    markb846 New Member

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    I was under the impression that the locomotives are owned by the ACLG, and ETL is the operating company. Four years ago Euro-Phoenix and ETL exhibited at Railtex on the same stand, so there is also a bit of a tie up there. But clearly they are operated as separate companies. Recent updates do not mention ETL at all and only talk about impacts on ACLG finances. It may well be ETL has ceased trading The ACLG home page certainly indicates the locos are owned by the group http://www.aclocogroup.co.uk/index.php
     
  6. captainbigun

    captainbigun New Member

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    Europhoenix = Export of 86 and 87
    ETL = UK operations

    87002 is on hire to NR, so I am pretty sure ETL is still trading.

    ACLG cannot own anything, it is not a company.
     
  7. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Part of the furniture

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    So if only a wealthy businessman could afford to keep these engines running, what on earth did the business plan look like when this venture was set-up?
     
  8. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    on the website this line below possibly gives insight into the business plan...

    and their core business service is summed up in 1 pdf on the website..
    http://www.electric-traction.co.uk/downloads/Class86hire.pdf

    if a commercial business is reliant on volunteer labour.. the two dont always generally go hand in glove and disputes can easily arise... why 84001 would affect ETL misses me.. but my pure speculative thoughts of course, perhaps a lack of volunteers and a big bill could quite easily upset that balance and of course a few personalities and egos too...

    Of course a business needs more than a business plan.. it needs aggressive sales, marketing and business strategy, something not easily found amongst volunteers If the business plan is to offer a mobile phone number on a pdf, and wait a call from someone wanting a class 86... (anyone here ever felt the urge to rent an 86 for an hour ?) well I can understand why the mobile phone bill could become tedious too after a while.. not to mention needing a new pair jeans when it erodes the lining of your pocket, but if that was the marketing strategy I can understand now why the next step is "thats it ! my phones not rung so i'm scrapping them".

    My business uses many partners allowing me to offer "by the hour" contract services, with a USP that I dont possess with my own resources in house, nor would it be cost effective to maintain myself, but the service offering by my partner appeals to my customers as a package my business offers, so I provide and my partner provides.. This isnt a difficult concept, but if my partners didnt offer what I needed, or didnt proactively pursue my business and work with me... well I'd either not offer the service or find it somewhere else.
    ETL's USP (IMHO) isn't that it has volunteer maintained historic class 86's to rent... it's an ecofriendly, environmentally efficient service (that may well be cheaper) that their customer's marketing teams can show improved environmental credentials to their customers...
    in short.. how many freight hauliers out there (not many)... and how many of them offer electric traction.. (even less) and how many of them probably market their "environmentally friendly modern diesels as more efficient than other competitors using older traction" because their sales teams dont know they could partner with a source that provides electric traction ?

    Making welsh paper may be an environmentally friendly business, Dragging scottish trees down the west coast mainline to make it.. by slugging it down there with a 56 isn't..
    If the 86 piloted under the wires at higher speed than the S&C allowing the diesel to shut down (and save fuel/cost) may appeal to their tree hugging customer... but I guarentee that customer doesnt know what an 86 is.. but will definitely understand a nonpolluting source of power in the form of an electric is more attractive and something they can stick on the box they ship their paper with..."We use eco friendly transportation methods", as would the accountant who could offset a portion of emissions charges by using eco transportation methods.

    If I were ETL.. I wouldnt been looking to Colas etc as my customer.. I'd be looking at who is dragging who's products around the country, approaching them directly and saying hey we provide energy efficient, eco friendly traction and we partner with freight hauliers x,y & z... would your board of directors, shareholders, customers, emissions regulators, compliancy and accounting departments find this of any interest next time you negotiate that contract with your freight haulier ? - and they are more likely to listen to you, as you are not perceived as selling to them directly.
     
  9. markb846

    markb846 New Member

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    The time was all you had to be to make your way in the word of preservation was to be reasonably good on 'The Tools' Now to run a preservation project you need to be a lawyer accountant clerk it sometimes seems the very last thing you need are any tools. that said it does the ACLG or ETL little favours to keep repeating the voluntary sector is past its best. Clearly the perception is that the 86's ad the 87 are preserved locomotives, and are therefore likely to attract more attention than a commercial operator would if they chose to dispose of say a Class 47. It is at best unfortunate that Rail has published a headline quote from the ACLG chairman which show such a negative view. The truth is there are many good quality preservation people out here. The ACLG may have done well to have thought of this. If this view is allowed to go unchallenged we may as well scrap all of our tools and shred all of our drawings and notes collected over the years. In real life the fate of the locomotives is probably decided already. As to the fate of the preservation movement The patient may be unwell but reports of his death may be a little early.
     
  10. vanbasher

    vanbasher New Member

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    87002 moved

    87002 has today been retrieved from Carlisle by 47245 and dragged to Willesden for further storage. The loco is set to go for export, if this happens the loco is almost guaranteed a trip to Long Marston so Europhoenix can overhaul and get her ready to go so maybe not the last time she moves on the mainline but under her own power that's well and truly over :-(.
    Regards
    Vanbasher..... The 87 Chase is over farewell Electric Scots!
     
  11. vanbasher

    vanbasher New Member

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    86101 is also on the move from Carlisle today however by road. The loco was due an exam hence not being able to go by rail. The loco is either Willesden or Ilford bound and is currently southbound on the M6 its all ending now :(
    Regards
    Vanbasher.... The 87 Chase is over.
     
  12. xg125

    xg125 New Member

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    I would support any fundraise to get 87001 out of the NRM and on the mainline again.
     
  13. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    Restoring is one thing. Getting income to keep it running is another. Is there really enough business for mainline electrics?

    Richard
     
  14. simonwass

    simonwass New Member

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    From - The AC Locomotive Group
    Our most recent acquisition, 87002 represents the final type of locomotive built specifically for the West Coast Main Line: Class 87. The loco has been acquired for preservation with the kind co-operation of the Bulgarian Railway Company and Porterbrook Leasing, and is full working order. It has been fitted with OTMR and is now main line registered, having hauled its first test train on 16th July 2008.
    OUR most recent acquisition. Acquired for PRESERVATION. This may be where the confusion about the status of the loco arises?
    I've not given any money to the ACLG but I think I'd be a little miffed if I had, thinking it may have been used to acquire 87002.
    There's quite a few 'preserved' locos ending up not preserved (and scrapped), I'm sure there are lots of miffed people out there who have given money and time to 'preserved' locos.
     
  15. xg125

    xg125 New Member

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    There would be if everyone saw the potential.

    Although there are those who do, like Railway Touring Company with 86259, and UK Railtours frequently hire electric traction on their ECML tours.
     
  16. captainbigun

    captainbigun New Member

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    And this, unfortunately is the problem. Cheese butty specials do not pay the bills. One a week would not pay the maintenance, let alone the other costs. You have to ensure you can cover major failures. What happens if your transformer blows up or you needs new wheels? Those items have a six figure price tag. Taking Doris to the seaside once a week does not pay for these items.

    Les funds a lot of his hobby and much credit to him for that.

    I find it slightly insulting that there appears to have been little consideration for those folk having to make the difficult decisions. There are a number of folk who have sacrificed a lot of personal time, effort and money over the past 6 years, it's hardly easy to watch that come to a grinding halt. But the alternative, as has been seen many times before is receivers and then who knows. Better a controlled ending that potentially sees 87002 continue working elsewhere, for example.

    So a hypothetical situation, 87002 is parked up, that's a one way journey, too much knowledge and spares will have gone to reverse that. Where does it go? Who pays for the cosmetic upkeep and storage bills?

    Too many armchair correspondents with insufficient knowledge and understanding of how the railway works, the time and effort, and indeed battles, as well as the money involved.

    As for 87001, you'd need to persuade the NRM there was a business case and have at least £250k in your pocket. For starters. Unfortunately there is insufficient interest in heritage AC locos to make it pay. That's just how it is.
     
  17. markb846

    markb846 New Member

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    Well it is true any locomotive owner can more or less do what they want with their locomotive. They also have the right to make unpopular decisions and say I have done it now live with it, and in a normal business that may well be acceptable. However in the world of preservation things do not really work that way. Being somebody who does get out of their armchair and dusts off the imperial spanners to arrive armed dangerous and with intent at one or other of the heritage railway centres I frequent. I fully understand the problems of skills being lost as time passes. That said if the opportunity is taken away the skills will die out by default. In real life it is not likely every volunteer that walks though the door will be a time served multi skilled technician, who just happens to have a spare couple of million pounds in there bag. But does this mean we should all throw in the towel? Unskilled people have there place, and a normally happy to do jobs technicians may not want to, or better still may want to learn how a locomotive or system works. surely as responsible custodians of our railway heritage this is the way forward. I understand the main worry about running a heritage AC loco is the transformer, I even have enough knowledge to understand the tap changer arrangement in classes 86/87 is a lot more complex than the thyristor control used in modern electric trains is. However other risks are the same as a preserved diesel loco eg wheelsets traction motors and so on. A good example of preservationist overcoming adversity would be 50044 when it suffered serious engine damage. Surely it owners could have said well what a shame but at least we have another three. But no they have taken steps to repair it. When I started this topic I did it with the good intent of raising the interest level of preserved electric traction, and to some extent it has been successful. Electric trains will never be as versatile as diesels therefore their earning potential will be less, but is that really a reason to not engage with people who could make a positive difference. Just for the record next Saturday I will leave my house before 0600 armed with imperial tools heading to help breath life back into 117 tonnes of English Electric heritage excellence so at least the armchair will have a day off. Or it may just be my opinions like a Class 50 86 or 87 are now classed as heritage
     
  18. captainbigun

    captainbigun New Member

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    I fully agree with where you are coming from. But there's a piece missing from the jigsaw. The skills required to maintain the tapchanger (as an example) are not only read from the relevant WOSS, but there is fine adjustment that you learn with time. By my reckoning there are now three people in the country that can still do that. All work at depots and are not involved in the preservation side.

    There seems to be an assumption that the ACLG and its members could maintain a loco. They couldn't. They don't have a depot and they don't have all of the skills. There is no way on this earth that Willesden, for example, would entertain have volunteers on site undertaking work that they themselves could do and would charge for. Sure, they can do some of the work away from a depot, as happened with 86101 with its reinstatement.

    If you need to have the transformer detanked (which you would should it fail), you would have to send it to Stafford (Areva) or Brush etc. This is work that volunteers cannot do.

    As for 50044, it's a good example. But they have a far bigger following, it's back to the limited following that the AC locos have. Therefore, by default, there is more pressure on fewer peoples time (and money) in the AC world. Yet ETL/ACLG have by FAR the biggest fleet of locos to look after.
     
  19. vanbasher

    vanbasher New Member

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    On a slightly brighter note, not that she will ever run again 87035 ROBERT BURNS based at Crewe Heritage Centre is undergoing a repaint into Intercity colours. Viewed from a passing train today.
    Regards
    VANBASHER..... THE CLASS 87 BASHER.
     

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