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GWSR - Cheltenham Spa and possible extensions

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

  1. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Every thing on everyone's wish list involves money and time and people to do the actual work, Having just extend to Broadway and there is still outstanding jobs there, let the railway actually finish what it's started before moving on, but I have to agree with what Alex wrote, number one on my list has to be covered accommodation for the coaching stock and better workshops etc and facilities for loco and coach restoration / overhaul. As regards CRC yes leaving coaches there overnight is a big no no, but saying that, how long is hunting buts tunnel? could it be made secure to safely store a rake overnight on week ends to enable a service to start from there, the first run of the day could always be diesel to Toddington where change over to steam is made, and on the last terminating service again, a diesel hauled service from there, the diesel can then run round and propel the stock under cover, and then the next morning be fired up brake test and the coaches pulled foreward into CRC ready to be cleaned before the departure time.
     
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  2. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Indeed and would Racecourse to Toddington by Heritage diesel really put travellers off if the rest of the round trip to Broadway was steam hauled as Alex has suggested? Is Broadway safe enough to store stock and a outstationed diesel - in that case do the same with an earlier first train off Broadway again changing to Steam at Toddington.
    A wide variety of options and choices it seems to me with a primary focus on the Passenger. Could even increase the attraction for volunteers that like working in small groups of 2/3 rather than larger gangs so ideal for cleaning an outstationed set.

    Guess what I am saying is approach this with open mindset rather than within the current operational set up. Your customer is your king at the end of the day.

    B
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  3. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    All very fair points, but first impressions count. And if the first impression of a steam train is a diesel, that undoes the impression of "steam railway".
     
  4. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

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    I wouldn't build on the trackbed, for 'politics' reasons, & there simply isn't the space to do so, unless it's a very simple tin shed that just covers the track width. How you would service a loco, steam especially, though? It's only double track width & in a cutting after CRC, with no road access.
    There is a plot of land on the north side of Swindon Lane that adjoins the track, just that it's the other side of the tunnel. Not sure what ground levels are like though.


    Hunting Butts would need to be cleared out of all the wagons etc that are currently stored there, double track in the tunnel itself & >400metres worth of stuff between tunnel & CRC. (more track at Broadway?)
    The tunnel itself has about 80metres of usable space, so a rake of 8 carriages could be stored in it if split into 2 sections. The southern end is somewhat secured, probably better if it was bricked up, CRC end would need some big gates & have services ran to it from CRC (lighting & security system)


    You could probably take the risk with storing a rake of carriages there overnight between running days, & no reason why you couldn't run a steam loco down to CRC as a straight through run, to then start a steam service from CRC.
     
  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    I was just about to simply reply that I'd been through Hunting Butts tunnel as storage before and in my view it's not simple, but you've raised another interesting point - access for cleaners. Our coaches get a deep clean every Monday by volunteers and contract cleaners clean the train at the end of every day. A carriage shed in the yard at Winchcombe would be ok for that as access would still be good, but down the trackbed at Cheltenham when there's only room for a normal double track formation in a cutting? I'm not so sure. You certainly wouldn't get cleaners, contract or otherwise, to trudge all the way down to the tunnel, especially in the dark, it's a non-starter.

    I think the only way we could ever store stock at Cheltenham would be to look into @RichardBrum 's suggestion of that plot of land, big money though.

    Stationing a set at Broadway overnight has merit though, we've already done that once for Gold Cup day. I don't think leaving a loco there overnight is even that important, just having the stock there would be helpful enough. Doesn't do much to help earlier trains out of Cheltenham though which is still the major sticking point.

    I think all this discussion proves that there is no easy answer and splitting shifts to make the day longer allowing for those early and late movements really is our only option for at least the medium term.
     
  6. jnc

    jnc Member

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    Right, but IIRC plans to do that are pretty advanced. So what will minds turn to next, I wonder?

    Noel
     
  7. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

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    I don't think it's quite comparable. Depending where you start from, of course, driving to Pickering can be significantly shorter than driving to Goathland or through to Whitby. How many major catchment areas are there from which driving to Honeybourne is any quicker than driving direct to Broadway?
     
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  8. jnc

    jnc Member

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    They just built a pretty large building extension for stock restoration a couple of years ago, with separate upholstery and woodworking shops, and a large painting bay, added to the then-existing undercover barn (to which doors on a small extension were just added this winter), and from the C+W blog it seems to do the job pretty well. From the steam loco blog, that seems to have a reasonably capacious building too; not sure if they need any addition, though. So I think they are fairly well set on those fronts.

    Noel
     
  9. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    Building the shed I hope!
     
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  10. jnc

    jnc Member

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    I meant after that; the GWSR seems to be an organization where 'we're in the final stages of planning to do X' is always followed in relatively short order by 'X is done'! :)

    Still, it will be good to see the shed up; the C+W crew there do such a good job, it will be great to see their work under cover!

    Noel
     
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  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    We've got very nice restoration facilities but still absolutely nowhere undercover to store stock when we're not working on it, or when we want to do maintenance - checking and oiling axleboxes in the pouring rain isn't great.

    Regarding the steam loco building, they have a nice machine shop and a pretty spacious shed, but volunteers themselves are still in a rusty converted RBr which really isn't fair,e specially when you look at our C+W messroom! So that's the main purpose of the new loco dept. building, although naturally once a building is mooted, you get all sorts of "Ooh, can we have a room for X please".

    Not forgetting poor S+T still in a very rusty TSO, they've had their promised workshop pushed back at least twice due to unforeseen bridge repair costs.

    I think the point about not planning any further until we've finished what we're working on though is more related to operating patterns, which links in with carriage sheds etc, rather than the buildings themselves. There's no point building a carriage shed at Winchcombe which can hold all of our running fleet if it's going to be empty half the year. It sounds daft but it's the sort of thing I can see happening if we push for one thing too hard without considering future possibilities. Which is why I'm content to wait a few more years for a carriage shed whilst we settle on what sort of operations we want. In the meantime we can still get on with the loco dept. building as that is largely unaffected, plus the S+T workshop although that is slightly more dependant on where the carriage shed goes.
     
  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    I meant to answer this as well earlier but forgot. I think I've said all I can on Hunting Butts, save to point out that clearing all the wagons out from there is no easy job. I accept in your ideal world you'd take them all to Honeybourne but again, I really think that's putting the cart way before the horse. In the meantime, that's the best place for them to be. They are all unrestored and rather unsightly, and South of the racecourse is the perfect place for them well out of the way of passengers eyes. When we got the Broadway headshunt we cleared the Toddington north siding partly for the same reason, any rubbish is more more inconspicuous beyond the extent of our running line. Although in the latter case it was also partly plans for some of the stock stored north of Toddington and also we wanted it free for more coaches for flexibility.
     
  13. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

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    A Honeybourne presence wouldn't only be about passengers coming by car though. The passenger numbers to/from Honeybourne may never be much, but there is also the potential for operational changes because there is space for a depot.

    If a decision is made that operational carriages need to be kept in a more secure, weatherproof, servicing accessible space, then where is that going to be?
    Plan is to build it at Winchcombe, which makes sense as that is where C+W is. But that causes issues with starting from CRC &/or Broadway, because you have to move all the stock to those locations, every single running day, & all the way back. (You might say, well run them as a service from Winchcombe, but can you get all the required volunteers there?)


    I'm quoting myself now, from post #325
    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.​
     
  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    But we're actually already addressing those issues. As I've said we've committed ourselves to running earlier trains out of CRC in 2021 to be achieved by splitting shifts. So that will hopefully solve the moving stock to start locations problem, we'll just get on with it. I don't think a LE run between Toddington and Winchcombe is the end of the world, it is our shortest section after all. At which point the only issue is the one you pointed out, can we get volunteers to Winchcombe? In terms of driving/access there's very little in it between Toddington and Winchcombe, so the only issue is car parking, something which will hopefully be addressed when we properly sort out how to make best use of the yard because no question we'd need more spaces if more volunteers were to start and finish their days there. More doable than getting to Honeybourne at any rate! :)
     
  15. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

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    It was more in the context of operational storage at CRC.

    Some of the stuff up there looks interesting, wonder if some of it, like the cranes, would make a suitable display on the north part of Winchcombe yard.

    https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/hunting-butts-tunnel-cheltenham-racecourse-may-2018.113035/
    https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/ma...s-train-graveyard-cheltenham-july-2018-a.html
     
  16. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    I wonder if either of those bloggers had any right to be there....

    There are a few interesting bits and pieces in amongst the dross. as a wagon enthusiast, of the 70 odd vehicles there I'd say there's less than a dozen that interest me. There's 4 GWR 5-plank opens including one china clay which I'd like to get out, a Midland 3-plank open, a GWR hand crane, a GWR crocodile built 1888 (one of the oldest datable GWR freight vehicles). There's a couple of steel mineral wagons which could be interesting, but the vast majority of it is engineering vehicles which we've no use for (mermaids etc.), flat wagons, ex-military, and/or not appropriate to the period we're trying to portray. At one point I did hear of a plan to get the GWR crane out and do a cosmetic restoration, to be displayed by the heritage goods are at Winchcombe. I should definitely like to see that happen.
     
  17. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    But how much is it worth spending for those outcomes? 5 miles of track won't come cheap, will require maintenance and will change the nature of the service to cover the whole line. A scheme that requires 5 miles of track before you can deliver the facilities you describe, for the marginal gain of an NR connection (whether physical or cross-platform), feels like a serious case of jam tomorrow, and without obvious benefits to help recover the costs.

    If I look at the map, there's not a lot to choose between Honeybourne, Broadway, Toddington and Winchcombe for access off the Evesham by-pass (others with more local knowledge please advise if I'm missing something important), and I drift out of the best countryside. They aren't reasons not to do it, but I'm seeing a lot of WIBN without value.
     
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  18. huochemi

    huochemi Member Friend

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    When you say split shifts (and I take it you mean a few hours on, followed by a break, followed by a few hours on), which activities would be affected? It does not sound terribly attractive unless you can find something useful to do in the middle.
     
  19. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Sorry, my fault, been discussing it so much recently I've forgotten the need to explain here. No, simply splitting the day into 2 shifts, so someone turns up first thing and works until lunchtime then goes home to be taken over by someone else for the rest of the day, or variations thereof. Different departments are experimenting in different ways, on different timetables e.g. the loco dept on 2 steam days have 3 crews, one crew preps both locos handing over one loco to the "day crew" immediately" and taking the other loco on half a round trip before handing over to the other day crew. At the moment for guards each train has an AM guard and a PM guard, although I do wonder whether it might be worth investigating whether we can emulate the loco dept in that respect for train prep. TTIs currently aren't splitting but I'm working on the possibility of moving from 2 on all day to having 3 staggered throughout the day with one joining and leaving at Cheltenham leaving a single TTI just for those in effect ECS moves at the beginning and end of day.

    At the moment it's working ok; the current timetables don't require splitting shifts because we haven't reached that stage yet so it's not working perfectly. Obviously some people coming from afar don't want to drive all that distance just for a morning turn and for guards at least, for the moment we're allowing them to work a whole day. How that works when we move to timetables that really do need split shifts we'll have to see, but for the moment, it seems to be working about as well as can be expected. It just means I have to spend a few more hours on the roster making sure everyone's got an even number of AM/PM turns or ensuring that they get rostered all day if that's what thy want.
     
  20. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    .....and, of course, the 5 mile section from Broadway to Honeybourne does not belong to the GWSR, but, hey, let's not worry about that eh?! I don't see GWSR money ever buying it or laying track either. A third party might but why would they want to?
     
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