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Isle Of Man Steam Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by David Bigcheeseplant, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. crantock

    crantock Member

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    Just howmany safety wake ups do the railways, tramways etc on the IOM need?




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  2. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Although expressed with all the subtlety of an air-raid, thinking about it, this is actually a fair question. You don't have to go too far from this thread to see clearly that for some, many H&S concerns are an irritation to be borne, rather than a legitimate integral part of safe operation

    Although IoM supporters certainly aren't either the only or the worst offenders, I've seen more than a few comments concerning Manx issues bandied about here and there over the years, slating the former Howard* regime's emphasis on all those pesky H&S issues identified (some addressed, some less so) back then, which I feel is plain daft when considering his only real crimes AFAIK were against style ...... i.e. some right dodgy livery choices and those seat covers.

    *(nothing to do with yours truly btw)
     
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  3. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    A rather disturbing headline in Monday's Isle of Man Examiner read: Scrapping Laxey to Ramsey MER 'is not ruled out'. Contrary to what you may have read in the U.K. newspapers the IoM is not awash with money. Since the U.K. Gov't changed the VAT sharing agreement there has been a lot of enforced 'belt-tightening' across all Government departments and a programme called SAVE was set up to investigate where further savings could be made. A review by consultants found the heritage railways cost 4.87million to operate but only brought in 1.66million the shortfall being funded by the taxpayer. However the heritage railways are reported to bring in 4.5million of spend to the Manx economy annually. Apparently the consultants ruled out an option of truncating the Steam Railway at Castletown but a similar proposal to close the MER between Laxey and Ramsey saving 708,000 pounds "is not ruled out completely".
    Considering that the 2017 season for IoM Heritage Railways was the best for many years, even considering closures strikes me as yet another short-sighted action by those who are, at the moment, considering spending 80 million on a cruise liner terminal!
    Hopefully the 2018 season will be even more more successful than 2017 but I hope anyone thinking of visiting us will do it sooner rather than later and perhaps let the 'powers that be' know what a valuable visitor attraction the railways are.
    The Heritage Transport Festival is coming up in a month's time https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&...WFpbnxpb21zcnNhNTB8Z3g6M2I3ZTVlZmFiYzY5ODY5Nw and MER 125 in September. https://www.gov.im/media/1361879/manx-electric-railway-125th-anniversary-leaflet.pdf
    Cheers,
    Ray.
     
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  4. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    It's depressing, but unfortunately it's a challenge that any publicly-owned 'heritage' attraction will always face. It is always going to be vulnerable when governments inevitably have to tighten their belts, so you have to be prepared to keep on making the case for funding; you are never going to be completely secure.

    Of course, the more of your costs that you can cover through revenue, the more secure you are, so it is pleasing to hear that traffic is healthy.
     
  5. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    From the perspective of a Manxman, would you categorise the threat to the northern section of the MER as more or less serious than that to the horse trams a couple of seasons back?

    Perhaps cynically, I wonder if complete closure north of Laxey is being touted as a means of softening up opposition ahead of any proposal to single at least a portion of the line.
     
  6. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    I cant speak as a "Manxman" as I'm only a 'stopover' having been here for just 30 yrs! It is hard to predict what, if anything, will happen. At the moment this report is just "recommendations" by 'consultants' but the 'numpty' leading the SAVE project, Bill Shimmin MHK, (hope he's not related to you Andrew) has said "It is a lovely trainset we have. It had an enormous emotional pull. Is it a sacred cow?" Unfortunately some of our MHK's have a history of 'knee-jerk' reactions. A little while ago, when her department was overspending to the tune of 11million p.a., one MHK seriously suggested removing our OAP's right to free eye-tests, dental treatment and prescriptions because it might save up to a million pounds! The strange thing is that spending over 27 million on rebuilding/resurfacing the prom. is seen as good value for money by these jokers - and don't get me started on the 80 million suggested for a cruise ferry terminal.
    The MER north of Laxey has been closed (and re-opened) before but worryingly most/all of the recent spending on track etc. has been South of Laxey. The 'Pink Book' has suggested closure before in recent years and nothing has happened so your guess is as good as mine. Singling the line is a possibility and, with a couple of passing loops, there would be enough line capacity for most of the year but would remove the ability to operate a more intensive service at TT for instance. Ramsey station has been closed "temporarily" for over a year. I think there will be further staff cuts (and the Steam Railway, in particular the workshop, is already struggling) probably service cuts and fare increases but, hopefully no closures. However one can never tell so maybe its a case of "use it or lose it" and my advice would be to ride with us sooner rather than later - but I would say that wouldn't I?
    Cheers,
    Ray.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  7. pete12000

    pete12000 New Member

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    Good to see Caledonia will be returning to service in July, is there any information on other steam locos working during the Transport Festival ?
    TIA
     
  8. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Presumably, if you go back far enough!
     
  9. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    I'd have thought the Island's railways could do very well out of a regular supply of cruise ship passengers.
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    ..... though not nearly as well from air passengers coming in through Ronaldsway as might be hoped, when you consider where the airport is in relation to the IMR. Must be all those hire cars and buses, I s'pose. :(
     
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  11. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    They already do - the passengers on the larger cruise ships are currently taken off by lighter and the smaller ones berth at the existing pier. My objection is to spending an obscene amount of tax-payers' money on providing a dedicated berth which is likely to be underused. A recent survey showed that the average cruise passenger spend was only 40 pounds so it will take a long time to recoup 80 million plus interest. The IoM Gov. has a track record of being duped by 'consultants' into building overly large (and expensive) facilities. IIRC the current meat plant was built with the capacity to kill off and process every beast on the Island in just 3 weeks so only works part time. The energy from waste plant needs to use oil, in addition, as there is insufficient rubbish to keep it going. Just my 2p worth.
    Ray.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    I recall mention that ships used to be diverted to Peel when Douglas was unattainable during adverse sea conditions. Is this still the case?
     
  13. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    No. Since the longer breakwater was built it is no longer necessary.
    Cheers,
    Ray.
     
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  14. huochemi

    huochemi Member Friend

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    Cruise ship terminals seem a popular way of giving a government subsidy to commercial companies. Perhaps the great and the good are looking forward to being invited to the rather agreeable cocktail parties that are held on board? ;) Being a small island, the proportion of average spend that stays on the island (as most thing have to be imported) is likely to be a relatively small portion of the gross spend, and of course, hoteliers etc see none of it unless the IoM is an embarkation point.
     
  15. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    My great-grandfather was from Ballasalla, I believe, but he must have moved to Liverpool about WW1. My brother speaks Manx, though!
     
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  16. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    What's the feeling about the suggested repatriation of the ex-CDR railcars?
    https://www.heritagerailway.co.uk/isle-of-man-county-donegal-railcars-may-return-to-ireland/
    From a neutral perspective, I'd just like to see them restored to use. I'm sure they'd open up shoulder period operations and on the IMR and allow the line to take better advantage of smaller scale opportunities, but then ..... I'm not the one who has to justify shelling out Manx taxpayers money ....

    W&SV, Stradbally and Dromod aside, Irish operations away from the mainline have (at best) a chequered history. The Fintown Railway (about which I know next to nothing) website still carries a news story about the upcoming 2017 season (!), but their Facebook site is attractive (like Co.Donegal itself btw) and is kept up to date (unlike most of Co.Donegal!):
    https://m.facebook.com/fintownrailway
     
  17. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    ISTR that I commented on the HR article some time ago but can't seem to find it now so it may have been on another forum. I believe that the source of the HR article was a member of the railway's middle management however, when questioned about it, 'the Boss' assured us that the railcars weren't going anywhere. I have seen the estimates for completing the restoration and I can't see any of the Irish lines having the cash needed, and as you say, they don't have a great track record. One only has to look at the T&D shambles (despite having received huge 'start - up' grants) to see what I mean. The railcars were in Ireland for just 10 years but have been part of IMR history for nearly sixty so really belong here in my opinion. The article is inaccurate and misleading in stating that the power bogies have been overhauled - they have not and this is the most expensive part of the restoration still to do. There is no mention of the fact that a form of export license from Manx National Heritage would be required and, as unique vehicles, hopefully this would be refused. If any Irish group (or anyone else) is so flush with money perhaps they would like to fund the vehicles' restoration over here where they belong. With a little 'thinking outside the box' I believe the railcars could, once again, be useful pieces of rolling stock and an attraction in their own right.
    Ray.
     
  18. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    For once, I actually checked back to the date on the HR article before posting. :)

    No disagreement about the GMFU at Tralee! Precious little from the WCR recently either, though things on the Suir Valley might well get interesting soon, as they seem to have decided they're consolidated enough to be thinking about steam haulage ..... So how do you feel about Mona and Peveril earning a crust on a long term loan? (It hasn't been floated AFAIK .... but the notion certainly ought to put the cat among the pigeons!)
     
  19. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    Well, Peveril is an important part of the display in Port Erin Museum (as is Mannin) whilst Mona and Douglas are in the asbestos tent at the back of Douglas carriage shed. Before either of the latter could be moved they would have to be decontaminated at a considerable cost which was how their ownership (and liability) reverted to IoM Gov. I doubt that any of the Irish groups would be willing or able to cover this let alone the cost of a full rebuild (+/- 1/4 million, my guess). We have seen approaches from various persons purporting to represent Irish groups before who seem to see the IoM as some sort of 'one stop shop' for 3' gauge equipment. Perhaps they should concentrate on restoring what they already have on the Emerald Isle and leave our railway heritage where it belongs.
    Ray.
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    The asbestos thing (sigh) is, as they say, "known to me". So's the fact that it's still a serious issue preventing anything much happening. My thinking is that, with No.1 Sutherland basically a boiler away from service, No.2 Derby lost to scrap, No.3 Pender a sectioned display in MOSI, No.14 Thornhill, in secure private ownership (s'pose I'd better mention the nonexistence of most of IMR&T owned No.7 Tynwald too, wherever it is now), No.9 Douglas is actually uniquely different to what's working, out on the tracks (even to No.8 Fenella) and too historically significant to be messed about with anyway .... which I'd suggest makes it a better prospect as a museum display than Peveril ...... and I said nothing about Mannin, be it known! :)

    The suggestion of Nos.5&6 going on loan was a bit tongue in cheek tbh, though forgive me for saying so, but there seems to be a tendency for any idea to break the impasse preventing getting anything positive done with Nos.5/6/9 or railcars 19/20 to be rejected out of hand, or met with suggestions somebody just coughs up, out of the sheer goodness of their hearts ..... and so the impasse continues.

    I fully take the point about the IoM not being some one stop shop for 3ft gauge kit, but equally see valuable, historic assets which have lain near derelict or actually derelict for decades now and the likelihood of anything being needed on a reopened Peel line (let alone Ramsey) being as near to zero as makes no practical difference. One observation, if I may ..... Were the IMR to loan kit, the reputation of the IoM as "the home of the 3ft" could only be enhanced and there may even be a few more tangible benefits associated with such a status.

    What if the railway (and Manx taxpayer) could benefit from some fixed term loan agreement, guaranteeing the restoration of these gems and their eventual return (in much better condition) .... all whilst under sole IMR ownership? In all honesty, I've no notion of whether costs of restoration can realistically subsumed within the life of a (say) 10 year loan ..... but does anyone know for certain that they're not? ... Or is it heresy to even ask such questions? :Stop:
     
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