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.

GWSR - Cheltenham Spa and possible extensions

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by JMJR1000, May 11, 2012.

  1. burmister

    burmister Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    222
    Back to today and the difficulty of the first train is too late from the Racecourse. If the market destination is now deemed to be Broadway why not in the summer have this first train start from Toddington as now but earlier and hauled to from Racecourse by a diesel swopping over to steam at the same time as it leaves now from Toddington. Most importantly gives passengers what they want, with bonus of keeping Steam duty hours down etc.

    B
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2019
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    6,342
    Likes Received:
    7,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham, or Sheffield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It's not a bad suggestion but it doesn't do anything for train crew hours and we still have to turn up typically an hour and a half before first departure time to prep the train - 8 carriages is a lot of walking up and down watering up, stocking toilets, unlocking doors, sorting out group bookings, inspecting the running gear, pulling strings and brake test. Having a diesel haul the train to Cheltenham would probably be fine as there's usually no more than 30-40 odd people on board but given that the first train out of Cheltenham is most popular (300+ commonly) I really think it ought to be steam all the way, at which point having a diesel bring you down doesn't really add much, other than saving the 20 minutes run round time, which may in itself be worthwhile. Depends if we have the diesel crews for it of course. I'll mention it if I get a chance.
     
  3. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,870
    Likes Received:
    2,510
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The G&WSR seems to have done well with its plans and seems to be in a pretty good shape. There are always things to be done on heritage lines but I believe those 'in charge' have got their priorities in the correct order.
    The long length of the WSR - and the difficulties maintaining it - must be something the G&WSR is well aware of.
    My personal viewpoint is that given political and environmental challenges ahead then consolidation rather than expansion (empire building?) should be the order of the day.
     
    Bluenosejohn, Paul42, ghost and 3 others like this.
  4. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    9,849
    Likes Received:
    6,540
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I'd agree - while a mainline connection is a nice to have, I'm not sure how it would justify the cost of building seeing that neither Honeybourne nor the available locations in Cheltenham are exactly honeypot locations.
     
    ghost and Kinghambranch like this.
  5. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There's been a few really good points bought up, which are important enough & general enough that they can apply to many other heritage railways;

    1) You may be operating to/from locations where the railway is not the only attraction, & so visitors will want a round-trip time that easily fits into the day, so an hour or less, are likely not getting off at the other end, & ideally needs to be do-able without changing trains.
    2) You are likely to not have many people doing a round-trip of the entire length.
    3) The head will need to do battle with the heart.

    Specifically on the GWSR;
    You can't do all of (1) at the weekends from Broadway, even with a change at Winchcombe it's 96minutes, though that might not be too much over. You can sometimes do it on the weekday timetables, if your quick at changing at Winchcombe.
    A trip to Honeybourne & back, with a run-around, would be about an hour, & obviously no changes required.

    For (2), does that matter?
    So no-one does CRC<>Honeybourne. You could have people doing Bway-Hbourne-Bway, Bway-Todd/Winch-Bway, CRC-Winch/Todd-CRC, etc etc.
    Note that those first 2 passengers can use the same seat, because they don't cross over at Broadway. You could sell 2x£10 tickets instead of 1x£15 ticket, so you've an extra £5 revenue with no difference in on the day running costs.

    For (3), if you can combine multiple peoples desires, you could have the critical mass in terms of funding, volunteers & other resources to achieve an extension, & operate it.
    No need for a battle, just a working through of what is possible & at what cost, not just initial funding, & presenting it to all of those with the desires.
    eg. I would like an NR track connection, I would like to have trains go to a mainline station, I would like to build a new station building, I would like more storage/works space for locos/carriages, etc...
    Of the two possible extensions, only Honeybourne has the potential to fulfil those.
     
  6. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    4,222
    Likes Received:
    1,891
    With very few exceptions, anyone driving from the Midlands to visit Broadway will drive directly to Broadway. Having got there they might possibly have time for a ride on the railway as an add-on to their day, but that won't be large numbers.

    There is however a potential market of people travelling by train from the Midlands, Reading, London and elsewhere to Honeybourne and thence by train to Broadway if that service existed. An appropriately advertised connecting "train replacement" bus service between Honeybourne and Broadway (or even Stratford and Broadway via Honeybourne) would not cost a fortune to run, would certainly bring in some custom to the railway, probably at least enough to pay for itself, and would allow the size of the potential market for trains from Honeybourne to be assessed. It might not be enough to justify the extension but at least there would be a hard figure for the likely revenue rather than a guessed "very little".
     
  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    6,342
    Likes Received:
    7,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham, or Sheffield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Equally, you don't need any extension at all for all but the first two of those and plans are already in place for more station buildings and more storage/works space for locos/carriages.
     
    ghost and paulhitch like this.
  8. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Toddington is also in the middle of nowhere, but it has been developed into a centre for the railway.

    For those coming from north of Broadway, whether customers or volunteers, Honeybourne is a 10min drive from the A46, which is a straight line continuation of the A435/441. So that's Redditch & South Birmingham connected. (Indeed, years ago when I used to volunteer, that was the route down, A46 to Evesham, then to Broadway & down to Toddington) The A46 towards Stratford gets you Warwick & Coventry. Honeybourne is also within 45minutes of Banbury.

    There's the additional possibility of volunteers from Worcester & elsewhere on the Cotswold Line using the train to Honeybourne.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,297
    Likes Received:
    23,696
    Location:
    21C102
    I'm not sure about that - every change in journey in public transport seems to further reduce patronage. So train + bus to reach a heritage railway won't give a true picture of what a direct connection would give (by "direct connection" I mean an interchange station; not necessarily a physical rail connection).

    As an example, before the Bluebell opened to East Grinstead, it ran a bus connection between East Grinstead national rail station and Kingscote. It's only two miles but it might as well have been two hundred for the amount of traffic it generated. It certainly gave no indication of what current traffic originating at East Grinstead is; we had to open to find the answer to that. Ultimately, extensions carry a big dose of the unknown as to whether they will generate more new traffic than they cost to operate or not.

    Tom
     
    jnc, Paul42, Steve and 1 other person like this.
  10. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,871
    Likes Received:
    2,658
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Obsessions about extensions sadly seem to persist, oblivious that tourist railways are for the most part a visitor attraction rather than something performing any sort of transport function. Pure W.I.B.N. sentimentality and a paradox at a time when the extra expense of running a longer than necessary line is beginning to sink in.
     
  11. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I meant more in terms of beyond that which can be fitted onto the current Toddington & Winchcombe sites.
    Toddington is maxed out, & how much can you realistically store & service at Winchcombe?

    What if there's a proper dining train again? Or some restaurant cars so you could do afternoon tea?
    Long term project space that would rarely have public access, somewhere to stash the stuff that's just north of Toddington & at Winchcombe, p/way train etc.
    Storage for sleepers, track, random stuff, etc.


    I am not saying 'Extend to Honeybourne & build a new station & build carriage storage space & build a loco stabling point all at the same time'.
    However, Honeybourne does have potential & possibilities.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    9,176
    Likes Received:
    4,334
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I'm afraid that I disagree with you. With sensible marketing you will get people to drive to Honeybourne and take the GWSR to Broadway. The NYMR has managed it for years with people taking the train to Goathland. It adds to the day out.
    As for there being a potential market for people travelling by train from the Midlands, London and elsewhere, there will undoubtedly be people that do just that. However, IMHO, unless they have an interest in railways, families rarely take a day out by train if they have a car as it becomes an expensive way to travel. Joe Public may see the GWSR as a railway to visit but not the the big railway.
     
  13. Breva

    Breva Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    972
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Honeybourne has a large yard - West Loop - which is 10 tracks wide and a freight train long. Coal trains would meet iron ore trains here, on the Honeybourne line.
    What could you do with an area like that?
     
  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    6,342
    Likes Received:
    7,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham, or Sheffield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I appreciate you don't mean do it all at once, but what I'm saying is see how best we can make use of the quite substantial yards at Winchcombe and Toddington, the former of which there is so much more we could do with, before deciding if the extra space afforded by going to Honeybourne is something we actually need. In comparison to other lines we have masses of space, so the question does have to be asked that if even with the luxury of 2 large goods yards and probably another mile's worth of headshunts North and South of Broadway and Cheltenham respectively at least; have we got too much stuff! If we need a yard 10 tracks wide by a whole train long to store surplus stock, I think we've gone wrong somewhere!

    We can already do afternoon tea if we want, we have an FO next to our RBr in our main rake which was particularly popular, but for reasons that escape me now (possibly volunteers?) I don't think we offer that any more.

    Sat down here and now thinking about it, the only way I can realistically imagine us getting a proper dining train is when Mk1s are finally banned from the mainline and we buy a few off a mainline company with minimum work needing doing, otherwise I simply cannot see how we in C+W would ever be able to produce such a thing. But it is something I'd like to see us offer.
     
    michaelh likes this.
  15. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I was thinking more of the triangle north of the Cotswold Line. The mainline secures it on the south side, there's road access, though the bridges don't have much clearance.
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    9,176
    Likes Received:
    4,334
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The trouble with both Toddington and Winchcombe is that they are in the middle of the railway which makes them operationally inconvenient. OK for a workshops or PW depot, perhaps but not for operational stock and locos in daily use. Comment has already been made that the first train out of Cheltenham is really too late (and I found that out when I visited last month) mainly due to the loco and set starting its day at Toddington. The first train into Cheltenham is probably akin to an ECS and the last train back to Toddington, likewise.
     
  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    6,342
    Likes Received:
    7,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham, or Sheffield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    That's true of course and you're right about ECS movements. Toddington works ok as a base because that's still where most people start their day I think - although that info may be a little outdated by now. If we compare to the SVR Toddington is now a bit like Bewdley and Kidderminster Broadway, there it's not an issue, it's that we've no operational equivalence at Cheltenham. Being able to start trains at Honeybourne would indeed solve the issue of trying to get earlier trains out of Honeybourne, but if we don't extend there in the first place that's not an issue that needs solving, and if all operational stuff was based at Honeybourne, we'd be having even later trains out of Cheltenham! Looking at it like that, having the first train out of Cheltenham being stabled at Winchcombe slightly improves on the timings and would allow operational stock to be stored undercover in a carriage shed situated at Winchcombe throughout the running season rather than stuck outside at Toddington only to be let inside during the winter shutdown.

    To my mind getting trains out of Cheltenham earlier and back again later on our existing railway by whatever means has to be high priority, and once we've achieved that we can take stock of where we are. In terms of volunteer numbers, it's actually going to be at least as big a jump if not more from when we opened the extension to Broadway itself as a result of the necessity of splitting shifts.

    PS You must say next time you're visiting! :)
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    Bean-counter likes this.
  18. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    9,176
    Likes Received:
    4,334
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Solution is relatively simple. Forget extending into Cheltenham and build a small loco AND carriage shed on the trackbed you already own.

    I did think about saying I was visiting but had SWMBO with me and the whole plan involved walking to Cheltenham Racecourse, taking the train to Broadway for a wander and something to eat before retracing steps. No time (or permission) to wander off that itinery. I can generally get SWMBO to ride on a train if it involves a non-railway destination.
     
    ghost likes this.
  19. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,773
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    White Rose County
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Toddington was in the middle of nowhere because, in 1980, it was the only site available with enough space to start a "railway scrapyard" which is what the local authority tended to view it as until around 1990 when the GWSR had a large steam gala which brought in lots of punters and money. For a time, the GWSR was limited to Toddington-Winchcombe (and there was a widely-held view by some, including some of the volunteers, that it would struggle to get any further). However, having purchased the trackbed from Broadway to Swindon Lane bridge area south of Cheltenham Race Course, there was always a determination to make that link from Cheltenham Race Course to Broadway, as I'm sure you know as you used to volunteer on the GWSR as did I. Any plans or dreams of extending are totally academic in any event as FS123's list makes clear: there is enough to do to keep the current line in order, including a carriage shed, a carriage shed and a carriage shed.
     
    Greenway likes this.
  20. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    What if it was somewhere more secure to store the stuff currently at Hunting Butts & the Broadway headshunt, & the stuff north of Toddington, in the yard headshunt, scattered around Winchcombe (all visible from the running line) & the random stuff that will always start to collect. Somewhere where it's not in public view.

    Honeybourne would be an additional depot site, it wouldn't replace Toddington & Winchcombe. It wouldn't even be somewhere for the public to go. You might not even be storing stuff there all the time, it could just be the overnights between running days.

    It's also a way of spreading risk, which is a way of reducing the impact of those risks.
    eg. If all the carriage rakes are at Winchcombe, if something prevents you getting them out, you can't run any services. Even a 30minute delay would be a major issue.
    The same at Toddington, if you can't get locos & DMU out.

    If there's an idea to have all the operational carriage rakes stored at Winchcombe all the time, then you're going to have an ECS move from Winchcombe to Broadway, & unless your also storing some locos at Winchcombe, that also involves a loco move down from Toddington. That's going to be about an hour of moving stuff before you can start the service at Broadway.
    Honeybourne to Broadway would be about 20 minutes.
    For volunteers from Birmingham, Coventry etc, you could get to Honeybourne via the A46 in the same sort of time as it would take to get to Toddington or Winchcombe via the M5.
     

Share This Page