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FR/WHR questions

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by lynton&barnstaple, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    The difference between steam railways and banks is that steam railways are not backed by any taxpayers' guarantee - 'too big to fail' doesn't apply to them. mickpop rightly says that they must be run as businesses, but all I am saying is that the people who run them are usually people who have worked their way up from volunteering and have come to know their particular line, so know what they are doing. At least they are unlikely to draw the salaries and bonuses to which bank directors and executives think they are entitled, and they will not be taking the day's takings to the casino!

    Cheap offers would bring in extra passengers but there is a risk that people who would happily have paid the full fare will, not unnaturally, take up these cheap offers too. It's never as easy as it looks!
     
  2. lynton&barnstaple

    lynton&barnstaple New Member

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    Now, perhaps we can move on to K1

    When it did work, it could not do anything without double heading and seems to have damaged the track in the process. I have never ever ever actually seen this thing work and I wonder how long it will be before it starts damaging track again. By then, no doubt, it will be up for its boiler certificate.

    It might be the first, it might be interesting but so much resource going into a black elephant IMO seems questionable. Am I that wrong and how much longer will it languish?
     
  3. DJH

    DJH New Member

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    post removed. covered elsewhere.
     
  4. Roger Dimmick

    Roger Dimmick New Member

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    You know something... even the nice, polite Mr Dimmick is getting more than a little fed up.

    Although it's only natural that the nation's largest and most succesful narrow-gauge network should be foremost in enthusiasts minds, isn't it about time that some attention was given to the many other narrow-gauge railways that, sadly, are missing out on all the intense scrutiny, informed advice and practical operating suggestions currently being channelled in one direction only...??

    Just a polite question, you understand...
     
  5. DJH

    DJH New Member

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    I'd advise looking on the Welsh Highland Freeforum page below on how K1 is:

    welshhighland • View topic - K1

    Duncan
     
  6. Steve B

    Steve B Member

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    Yes, you are probably right, as well as being nice and polite!

    What I find frustrating is that there is often a vaguely concealed sense of criticism about all things F&WHR on Nat Pres from some posters. Why that should be I don't know, but for me (although I have absolutely no link to the railway beyond being an enthusiast and occasional passenger) it makes me want to jump to your defence, particularly when there is so much information available on the internet giving details that you don't get on many other railways.

    For instance on K1 - K1 Working Parties

    Steve B
     
  7. mickpop

    mickpop Part of the furniture

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    Unfortunately no one has asked the question regarding those railways - perhaps it is the price of fame! This is a forum where things can be discussed in a friendly way and those of us ill-informed can end up better informed, all in a polite fashion, but more often than not just get attacked.
     
  8. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    ....you only have to go through all the old threads most of which have been locked to understand that it is impossible to discuss the WHR freely ! At least this forum is not alone it's practically the same everywhere, it just happens to be a subject which winds people up.
     
  9. mickpop

    mickpop Part of the furniture

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    The cost of restoring the WHR was considerable and included donations by individual members of the public as well as a sizeable amount from what was basically taxpayers money [European funds, Tourism Wales etc]. That alone should entitle any of those parties , donors and taxpayers, to politely enquire or comment on matters relating to the railway without being accused of being meddlesome.
     
  10. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    ......there are a lot of WHR supporters on here it's understandable that they don't like any criticism.
     
  11. Roger Dimmick

    Roger Dimmick New Member

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    ...which could possibly be because when the ill-informed are given information by the well-informed to make them more-informed, the newly more-informed then continue to insist that they are obviously better-informed than the well-informed...

    Equally frustrating is that their efforts to be open and helpful on most subjects are not appreciated by those who insist that they should be open and helpful on every subject, whether or not it is a subject that they are able to discuss on an open forum - or even a subject that they have any right to discuss, as in the case of third-party projects...

    John 8:7
     
  12. mickpop

    mickpop Part of the furniture

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    Methinks thou doth protest too much. See my last post regarding the right of anyone to raise questions about a concern that has received much public financial support. I can't find much in the way of criticism in this thread only suggestions offered with good intent that may be rejected on the basis of facts or arguments. Being told that basically 'this is our railway, we aren't willing to discuss or tell you anything so sod off' makes for bad public relations and the over-reaction probably explains why earlier threads have ended up being locked.
     
  13. Steve B

    Steve B Member

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    I think there is the issue that there were any number of opinions as to how the WHR could have been rebuilt - the form that it has taken doesn't suit everyone, but that is part of the nature of the narrow gauge scene in this country. There are those who would have liked it restored to a more historic form - in the same way that some wished the Tal-y-llyn to remain an overgrown by-way. The problem is that these railways are now doing jobs they were never designed or originally equipped for, with passenger expectations that are very much more particular.

    So how do you resolve the issue? If you are restoring a GWR branchline and have to handle much larger passenger numbers than the line used to carry you have some idea of how the GWR would have done it - and be able to replicate it or something like it. On the narrow gauge each railway was different and didn't have to expand or develop, so it becomes a matter of practicalities and opinion. The Tal-y-llyn has retained something of a "victorian" atmosphere, but is very different to what it ever was before preservation. The Welshpool and Llanfair has a delightful bucolic by-way feel about it, but the terminal stations have been revolutionised. The FR and WHR have had to provide locos, stock and stations that are fit for the job. They've done it in a particular way, but it could have been different. So it doesn't surprise me that so many people have different ideas about how to do things.

    It doesn't change the fact, though, that none of us who have no direct responsibility have any right to tell them how it should be done. Perhaps we should develop a computer game called "Fantasy WHR", then we can all have a go at running it without upsetting those who really do.

    Steve B
     
  14. Roger Dimmick

    Roger Dimmick New Member

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    I thinketh not... where in my comments have I denied the right of anyone to raise questions, where have I said anything about criticism or denied the right to criticise - and where have I said (to use your words) 'this is our railway, we aren't willing to discuss or tell you anything so sod off'..? I would hardly describe a reasoned, polite, expletive-free response as 'over-reaction'.
     
  15. lynton&barnstaple

    lynton&barnstaple New Member

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    I would like it to be on record that I think the restoration of the WHR has been a remarkable achievement and one that I never believed would happen in my lifetime. I remember camping on Beddgelert station, armed with 'Narrow Gauge Rails to Portmadoc' when a car and van turned up and we were told to leave by a Mr Honychurch (I believe) because they were laying track that weekend!

    I am not criticising or giving advice in any way but do like to understand what is going on and why. Actually, I think it important that one should be able to ask without being accused of tearing the FR/RhE to bits which is absolutely not the case. Some of us due to old age or infirmity are unable to get to the railway as often as we would like and depend upon information gleaned from fora such as this.

    Being the 'Premier steam Railway (IMO)' it is only natural that there is an intense interest. I find it a pity that current coverage of work and progress at Boston Lodge is not well covered. I would love to see a Barrie Hughes style website 'Direct from Blodge'.

    So Roger, from the instigator of this thread, please believe that I love the WHR and fully support the railway. I admit that I was quite cross to be accused of being 'rude' by AndrewT when I enquired about the progress of 109. It is that sort of reaction that fosters questioning. 109 was bought in a blaze of publicity with WHR fans rushing over to shake PW's hand for helping the railway. PW basked in the glory. A bogie even appeared at the NEC Warley model rail show. The 109 project was firmly launched into the public domain by publicity and because of this, the interest cannot now be shoved back into Pandora's Box.

    I do believe that AndrewT, as I understand it, the FR/RhE PR man, attempted to control discussion excessively and on occasion by being a bully. For my part, I do worry about dilution of resources working on enthusiasts' projects when revenue train operation is so important.

    Frankly, when interest in the WHR diminishes is the time to become worried. I am very glad that 'the nice Mr Dimmick is posting here now'.
     
  16. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    ... i would just like to say how much the last few threads have shown that discussion of this subject is possible on here, that there are those who are aware that the re-construction could of been different and have even touched upon some of the problems. If you go back through the threads you can see there has been over moderation in favour of the WHR, this has been a cause of frustration because there is a lot to discuss and it hasn't been allowed freely. There is also the fact that numerically there are more supporters of the WHR on here than those against, plus the fact that one or two bully boys have been given free reign whilst others struggle with their opinions. I think someone recently touched upon the word 'defence' and i believe that there are many who came here to defend the WHR who they felt was under attack, what this has done is to squash any open discussion. 'Moderation' means just that, you could say it's being fair to all, this includes hearing from those you may disagree with.
     
  17. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    But that's the whole problem isn't it? The vast majority of us don't want to wade through a sea of childish bile and spite just in case there might be a "pearl amongst the swine".

    I personally think that bashing ANY successful preservation project just because it doesn't meet my exact personal preferences is just cutting of your nose to spite your face. The WHR has managed to re-open one of this island's great scenic lines and turned into something it never managed to be in its so called heyday - a serious mover of people.

    Also relations with the WHHR are coming on in leaps and bounds since a change of leadership at the latter, and so the heritage side of things should be looking up too, but expecting the line to be worked on a purely "heritage" basis is never going to happen. So why not enjoy what we have instead of lambasting the organisation because it doesn't meet your narrow view of the world?
     
  18. AndrewT

    AndrewT New Member

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    I wasn't going to comment on this forum any more as my head was getting sore from repeatedly banging it on the desk. But if I may, I will quote some actual numbers from the first six months of the year. The sums of money involved are obviously company confidential, but the percentile changes over the last four years should give some indication of how the WHR is performing.

    If we look at Income Per Train (Jan-July), 2012 is 85% up on 2009; 88% up on 2010 and 2% up on 2011 - which was an outstanding year as you would expect with the reopening of the complete line.

    You will appreciate that we are under no obligation to supply even this small snapshot of our commercial performance and I hope it will clarify matters somewhat. Please do not ask for more details as I am not at liberty to publish them.
     
  19. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    I think part of the reason is that enthusiasts want subjects to talk about on the forum, and when it comes to NG railways, the F&WHR has the most to discuss.

    Railways like the Talyllyn and W&L have probably reached the peak of their evolution now. They have no prospect of further extensions and they have all the locos and rolling stock they need to handle the level of tourist visitor numbers they can realistically expect in the forseeable future. The F&WHR may have now finished all the track they want (for the forseeable future!) but, as everyone acknowledges, there's still a long way to go in terms of providing locos, rolling stock and infrastrucutre facilities. People are naturally curious about what form these developments might take.

    Another point is that the FR, being of the very-common 2' gauge, has more potential to host visiting engines and house "small, but nice-to-have" locos like Britomart, Huge Napier and Lilla than the TR or W&L. It's also the only narrow gauge railway in the world with a physical connection to a totally separate NG line, the WHHR. Porthmadog is pretty much the centre of the narrow-gauge universe. All this adds further interest.

    Finally, given the strong volunteer involvement, it's hard for the F&WHR to avoid information comin out into the public domain. Railways like the Brecon Mountain and Vale of Rheidol have always tended to keep themselves to themselves in the past (though happily there are now signs that they are becoming more open, particuarly the VoR).

    I can sympathise with those actively involved with the railway and don't like the feeling that they are being told what to do by people who have never worked on the railway. Equally, I sympathise with those who believe that we should be free to discuss subjects of general interest, as long as we stay within the grounds of courtesy and decency.

    There are still a number of different paths open to the WHR, in terms of the designs of the new diesel(s), coaches, Caernarfon station, etc. Personally, I think there's little to be gained by specualting on these matters but I await further developments with interest :)
     
  20. mickpop

    mickpop Part of the furniture

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    Ok - I give up! I'm not a troll or an agent provocateur merely a railway enthusiast also with a vested interest in tourist affairs in North West Wales.I have raised some issues raised with me by tourists who have, as well as those who have not, ridden on the WHR. As a business I would have thought that there might be some interest in considering at least that latter group as a potential, untapped, market. It seems not and anything that is not in praise of the WHR is seen as criticism. I am not suprised that historically there was a long war between two factions competing to rebuild the railway if this degree of tetchiness existed then. I think that anyone who has contributed to the WHR reconstruction [or the FR for that matter where my wife was one of the original 'Deviation Gang' working on the Ddault spiral in the 1970s] has a right to an opinion. I actually bought a house in the area because of the WHR being opened so i'm hardly likely to be deliberately undermining it.
     

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