If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Great Central Railway after the link up

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Reading General, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,206
    yes and that's why you should also read the good ratings. Mostly the proportion of good bad and indifferent ratings, rather than actual comments, will give you a good overall picture. Not that bad ratings should be ignored, I find it worrying that some lines still get slated for their toilets, probably the most important opinion shaper there is.
     
    30854 likes this.
  2. Sidmouth4me

    Sidmouth4me New Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    209
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Totally disagree. TripAdvisor represents the views of the masses, and how they experience the hotel, attraction or whatever, and I use it all the time to decide where to visit and stay. If there are negative views from one person then I examine whether that person has only ever given one review (then ignore), only gives negative views (then ignore) or is balanced their other reviews (then sit up and listen). Same reaction for positive 5 star reviews. I also give reviews on heritage railways and have only ever given a single 1 star review once because of lack of advertised catering (in that instance TripAdvisor verified my review with the operator before publishing). In that instance my better half was seathing, and we won’t be returning. So don’t dismiss TripAdvisor so readily, but ‘listen’ to the negative reviews, read between the lines, and see what lessons there are to be learned if one wants to improve profitability. Some lessons don’t cost anything but maybe a smile.
     
  3. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,710
    Likes Received:
    2,495
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Referenda of all sorts give doubtful results. I would be happier with TripAdvisor if it did not attempt to give scores.

    PH
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  4. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    8,821
    Likes Received:
    5,798
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    All fair, but the strength of TripAdvisor is in the time over which ratings are given and the power of averages, especially where there are many reviews. Mr Chump is then, frequently, obviously actually Mr Complete Chump.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    8,821
    Likes Received:
    5,798
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    But the scores are precisely the point. And, having endured “4*” hotels that have been accredited by “experts”, please pardon my scepticism about whether “experts” are that reliable a judge of what I will consider a good visitor experience.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Jamessquared likes this.
  6. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,289
    Likes Received:
    3,216
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Leaving aside reviews containing perfectly valid criticism, where it's up to an attraction's management to take feedback on board and improve accordingly, plus noting I've reservations about the word 'amateur' (especially amongst ourselves!), I do take your point.

    Although Trip Advisor does allow those reviewed to respond, in the case of several posts I've read, that would scarcely be likely to penetrate the skulls of the worst offending reviewers! I've noticed that hoteliers seem commited to monitoring feedback and most appear to task someone with responding .... promptly.

    Contrast this with the heritage sector, where I get the distinct impression that one or two lines (no names!) seem unaware that Trip Advisor even exists, to judge by the total lack of responses. Awareness of social media generally is an area for serious and rapid improvement.

    One very well known line (which shall remain anonymous) was content to allow Facebook responses to appear unexpurgated on their public page, as a result of which for several days, the visitor to that page was treated to a very visible (and unanswered) complaint about the cost of tickets and an opinion that it represented very poor value for money. 10/10 for 'warts and all' honesty, but minus several million points for astute business practice!

    Having posted a handful myself, I can confirm that Trip Advisor reviews don't 'go live' immediately, though quite what checks they undergo in the interim remains a mystery to me. My guess would be some puritanical concern with 'profane' content, as it sure as hell has precious little to do with accuracy!

    There exists an aphorism, in oriental philosophy, which roughly translates as "all which exists may be turned to advantage, if only you can work out how". Even I, often befuddled by the pace of technological change, recognise this was never truer than with the evolution of websites, social media and all the other developing features of information technology.

    T'interweb itself is a conundrum. On one hand, it's the greatest repository for information the world has ever known, whilst on the other it's an open sewer. For now at least, it is what it is. Those entertaining doubts are free to do so, but keep in mind the tale of King Canute. Hate it or loathe it, you can't ignore it. All the reasons for inaction in the world count for nowt. Bottom line is .... that has to change. No excuses, adapt or die. It really is that simple.
     
  7. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    1,916
    That's a good reason to ignore it.
     
    jnc and Bluenosejohn like this.
  8. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    948
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E sussex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    TripAdvisor can be such a wind-up, like the the bloke who rated the Lynton and Barnstaple at 1 star because it went to neither Lynton nor Barnstaple, despite the huge sign in the entrance telling him where the trains DID currently run to!
     
    Bluenosejohn and paulhitch like this.
  9. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    344
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Still working on that...
    Location:
    Nottinghamshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As I understand it the volume of traffic roundabout the 1980s (or whenever the houses were built) was so low and the idea of preservationists moving in not significant enough that the presence of a railway line with an occasional diesel train moving along at slow speed wasn't considered a big enough barrier to new housing. Part of the problem now is that 'clean' diesels have been replaced with steam engines belching out smoke, which can, among other things, spoil nice clean washing being hung out to dry in the garden. There is also one house owner on the edge of the new housing estate beside the line immediately to the North of East Leake who appears to have at some point extended his garden to be even closer to the railway line. Whether this happened after preservation trains began running or not I don't know, all I know is that I started volunteering in 2008 and it was the case then.
     
  10. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,331
    Likes Received:
    568
    Those houses were built sometime in-between 1987 (when I started doing a paper round that went past them) and about 1992 (when I went to uni) as they were built during the time I did that paper round. As the GCRN project got underway in 1990 I think you can see that expanding the GCR was very much under consideration at the time the houses were built, and indeed I believe the GCR were quoted in the local press as opposing the development, though whether they formally objected I'm not sure. Certainly at the time there were no trains running of any description, other than perhaps an annual weedkilling train (if it even ran). When gypsum traffic did resume it was under the GCR/GCRN T&WAO after the GCRN bought the line and brought the track back up to operable standard. In other words, at the time the houses were built the line "looked closed" but actually wasn't (and never has been); at that time BR could, subject to fixing the track, have quite legally run 100mph trains up and down it 24 hours a day, had they so wished. So any suggestion that the presence of a railway was not significant was, at best, misguided.
    When the GCR/GCRN applied for the T&WAO various people living in those then quite new houses objected, but of course they didn't really have a leg to stand on because what was being applied for was a transfer of who had the rights to operate, not any new rights. That operational restrictions were placed in the T&WAO to placate about 4 objectors is really an injustice (arguably an abuse of process) and should never have been allowed to happen. It is a matter of regret that the GCR/GCRN didn't object and get those clauses removed at the time; I suspect they simply lacked the resources to do so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
    TommyD and jnc like this.
  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,710
    Likes Received:
    2,495
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Actually, coal can be obtained at present which produces very little smoke, arguably less than some diesels. The trouble is that some tourist railways (I am not saying that in any way the G.C.R. is one of these) seem remarkably insouciant about chucking out black smoke.

    PH
     
  12. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    295
    Occupation:
    Boilermaker
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yes it can be obtained, but for at least some sorts of use cycles said coal is fairly unsuitable for burning in railway engines. A railway I'm involved with briefly considered soft welsh coal, and basically other than the smokelessness every other aspect was entirely unsatisfactory (particularly what it would have done to firebars, and the fact that 50% of it would have been dust by the time it got to the engine's bunkers due to the way we have to store and handle it).
    It's also far from certain such coal will continue to be available, so altering all the coaling facilities, getting firebars with a high chrome percentage, re-training crew who have all got used to "fast" coals etc only to end back on hard Northumbrian open-cast muck anyway seemed a particularly pointless exercise (said stuff isn't actually bad to use, apart from the smoke aspect, and the amount of ash it generates).
     
    Jamessquared and Steve like this.
  13. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,710
    Likes Received:
    2,495
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Hmmm. I hear you.

    PH
     
    jnc and flying scotsman123 like this.
  14. And so promptly ignore the views of the majority of preserved railway visitors. That's wise...

    TripAdvisor is like everything else in life - it exists on a scale from one extreme to the other and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It's not too difficult to average out the opinions, but it's made easier by the ratings system. Which is precisely why that part of it is so useful, Paul.
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,710
    Likes Received:
    2,495
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It's a bit more than "for amusement only" but not an enormous amount more. The people whose views you really need to know are the vastly larger percentage who never file a report. That requires a user survey which involves expense but reduces the amateurism.

    PH
     
  16. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    1,916
    If you read the post to which I was responding you will discover that I was posting as an individual visitor not a preserved railway representative considering methods by which visitor numbers might be increased.

    For my individual purpose Trip Advisor is not useful.
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  17. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    344
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Still working on that...
    Location:
    Nottinghamshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    That may be true. However, the problem is that in the perception of Joe Public who has just spent many thousands of his hard earned pounds to buy a house by the railway, a steam loco is dirtier than a diesel, and he's not really going to be interested in you coming round to his house and explaining all the reasons why because of your coal type and firing techniques he actually doesn't have to worry. There will still be a concern in the back of his mind, and it can only take one isolated incident of severe smoking, even if it's an honest mistake or can't be helped, to set his mind firmly against your cause
     
    35B likes this.
  18. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    7,132
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chartered Certified Accountant
    Location:
    North Yorkshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A man of vast knowledge, intuition, wisdom and humanity who I am proud to have known and served on a Railway Board with after his retirement as HMRI.

    Steven
     
    Hirn and 35B like this.
  19. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,206
    that's true and add to that the tendency to stick to your guns irrespective of how unreasonable you are being. You can't lose really, you can only gain from thi attitude and of course, the Railway can only lose....
     
  20. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,710
    Likes Received:
    2,495
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Quite so, save that I would not be going round knocking on doors. It's up to steam railways to be good neighbours which means not acceding to requests from gricers for clouds of black smoke for the next posting on NP or smoking out premises adjoining termini because of fires being made up over heavily before departure. I have seen drone shots on YouTube where the exhaust is so clean you can see right down the chimney. In one of these, the fireman is so relaxed that he is drinking a mug of tea as the train comes to the top of the climb!

    As Mr. Punch says "That's the way to do it".
     

Share This Page