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Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Freshwater, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    A bit of both I think. No doubt about it the IWSR is fortunate that the Island probably has more grounded carriage bodies per head than anywhere else in the world! Yet alongside this was a brave decision to concentrate on collecting and restoring them, including lottery applications for the carriage workshop, acquiring a string of PMVs for donor underframes and more recently the storage facility to keep them nice - it has been a long road. I'm sure it would have been quicker and simpler to buy up some carriages from elsewhere and lower the track here and there.
     
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  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, I didn't mean to imply that it was the only choice available, or that it was easy. Just that many other railways never even had the opportunity, and also partly because they chose to focus on other aspects.
     
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  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    They still keep crawling out of the undergrowth in gardens for miles in every direction (except south!) down here. Probably something to do with the proximity to the old LBSC carriage works, first at Brighton, then later at Lancing.
     
  4. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    Wasn’t there once a plan to get hold of some class 205 coaches? The idea being that they were air braked already, and so could provide a quick fix to the need for more coaches. Longer term I think the idea was to use their underframes for restored grounded bodies.

    Not sure why that didn’t happen. Possibly because the 205s were quickly snapped up elsewhere.
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The IOWSR did at least start with operational rolling stock. It isn't that they started with a load of ex-summer houses. The reality for most lines during key phases in their development is that passenger growth outstripped supply of carriages and necessity drove choice of carriages. Again, decisions made 50 years ago were not made with an eye to what the world would look like in 50 years time.

    There are lots of decisions taken 50 years ago which in hindsight have left lines in something of a straight jacket. No doubt if people could have their time again they would do things differently.
     
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  6. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    That, indeed, is the whole vexation.

    As I understand the course which was taken was held to be greatly superior. lMHO it was.
     
  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    For instance, other railways have more station estate to restore/maintain/rebuild, more S&T stuff, more bridges that need spending money on etc. etc.

    Some railways have excellent vintage carriages. Other railways have a superbly string of pearls of restored stations. Some have much more comprehensive signalling and layouts allowing more intensive operating. All railways are different, measuring success purely by the age of the carriages they run is ridiculous. It is but only one part.
     
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  8. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Since it would not (I gather) be used for an operational line, just occasional shunting, presumably at low speed, the scale of the solution needed would presumably be lesser. (Any buildings built in that area would of course need appropriate to their foundations.)

    Noel
     
  9. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    In some cases, had to, not chose to, I expect!

    Noel
     
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  10. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Two things. Firstly the Tripadvisor correspondent who was pleased to find a steam railway which devoted as much attention to the insides of the carriages as the outside of the locomotive. Secondly (said directly to me but unprompted) the passenger who compared pre-Grouping third class favourably with Network Rail first class in terms of style and comfort. Carriages and lavatories are the priorities.
     
  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I can produce near identical tripadvisor correspondents and people with unprompted comments in person for Mk1 carriages. Absolutely, cleanliness and general standard of repair of the insides of carriages is of utmost importance, but as usual you conflate that with having interesting pre-grouping carriages. Your quoting of that tripadvisor comment in the context you quote it you imply that only railways who have vintage stock could possibly devote the necessary attention to the insides of the carriages as the outside of the locomotive. That is very much not the case.
     
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  12. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Small sample size alert.

    As everyone has said, it is great that the IOWSR has the carriages it has and they are the jewel in the crown of the line. Other lines have different jewels. Berating them for not having the jewels as you seems a bit quixotic.

    Your argument is 'if my aunt had balls'.

    I am sure that if people wanted to they could pick over the bones of decisions made in the late 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s at the IOWSR and say 'should have done this...', but I am not sure you would like that very much. I am quite sure that if people knew then what they knew now then maybe Chale might have been saved, maybe fought harder to stay at Newport, been less of a no where to no where line etc etc, but in the end the line is what it is, it is a very fine line with limitations because of the decisions made in the past, no different to any other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  13. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    No-where said, implied or even hinted. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    To my mind, the real strength of the IoWSR is that they(*) seem to have a very clear vision of what they want to achieve; and then set about delivering that with tremendous focus. Part of that, and where some other railways fall down, is also being very clear about what they don't want to be - that almost certainly means saying "no" to things that might on the surface seem superficially attractive, more often than you say "yes".

    A weakness across the sector is that completing, and funding, major developments is rather easier than then maintaining what you have built / procured. If I could carve a motto above railway boardrooms, and have it embossed on membership cards, it would be "do less but do it better".

    (*) As I am a member, albeit non-working, I guess I could say "we", but I can't claim any real credit for the above.

    Tom
     
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  15. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    You have done Paul on numerous occasions in the past. It’s one of your greatest hits, like ‘big chufferitus’
     
  16. cav1975

    cav1975 Member

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    What was looked at was trailer cars from class 501 North London Electrics. Apart from the lack of steam heat they were superficially attractive - air brakes; side buffers & screw couplings; short underframes & window bars limiting how far people could lean out.

    We realised that if we did this a lot of effort would go into maintaining the 501 carriages which would effectively prevent the restoration of grounded bodies. We spent the money on a batch of 10 PMVs instead. This was in the late 1970s / very early 1980s. The first 4 wheeler resulting from this project (IWR 46 / SR 6336) returned to service in 1986 and has been in regular service ever since.

    For bogie stock we have subsequently invested in some bogie SR vans, the underframe of one of which is now under Brighton carriage 2403.

    PS - The 205s weren't available until 1987 at the earliest and weren't considered.
     
  17. cav1975

    cav1975 Member

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    You can certainly say "we".

    Nick
     
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  18. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    No-one seems to measure heritage worthiness by the age of their PW .... well, perhaps the broad gauge line at Didcot.

    In serious vein though, as lines mature, priorities obviously change. Some discrete projects come to an end, having achieved their objective, some get 'parked up', pending more favourable circumstances, others through objectives ceasing to be relevant, some through failure for whatever reason. A few may become subsumed within other schemes.

    Locating suitable vehicles, yes, is a problem. As every year passes, sourcing stuff for restoration becomes more involved. There are still many more vehicles (at any rate, bodies) kicking around, though the scale of restoration needed will naturally be more involved. Trickier? Sure. More costly? Certainly. Hard cash is always an issue, but it's always there, if you can work out how to get it. The same can't be said of folk with the ability to undertake the work needed, meaning in actuality, people with requisite skills are by far a more critical resource. All the money in the world is useless, unless the skills necessary to restore and operate kit are available.

    I doubt there's a single line which hasn't benefitted in some way from active members coming in from a different, perhaps longer established line and expanding their own capabilities as a result. In the future, the trick will be for the accumulated knowledge to be successfully cascaded down to you younger generations, whom our movement will need to survive long after us oldsters have croaked. Just look at the sheer range of skills now encapsulated by our movement. True, quite a few will continue to survive as 'valuable to the mainstream economy', but quite a few are obsolete outside the context of heritage railways.
     
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  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I am not disagreeing with you. I don't necessarily think there is a right way or a wrong way. I think that if you focus on one area you lose out in another. The Ffestiniog extended early and rebuilt their whole line and deviation in under 30 years, they have fine coaches, on the other hand, tbh, BF is still not really finished some 40 years after being reached. Whereas the GWSR has rebuilt Broadway but has MK1s. What you do in one area you lose in others because resources are finite.

    Let us take a counter point, lets say that the Ffestiniog had stopped at TyB and not gone onto BF. It would I suspect be a much smaller operation, probably less well known, but with perhaps a core fleet, more like say VoR or Talyllyn. I doubt Welsh Pony etc would have been restored or there would have been any need for any new build locomotives or carriages, and I suspect that if in 2021 people were looking at reaching BF the economics in terms of mileage, costs and stresses on the fleet and volunteers means that we would say 'impossible to reach BF' now. The deviation was possible in the 1970s but impossible now. The flipside is, some heritage restorations/new builds that were impossible in the 1970s because of other demands are now possible. So I think there are a range of pay offs, not just costs associated with different decisions.

    My guess is this - had say the Bluebell expanded as rapidly as the MHR did in the 1970s, I wonder if the carriage fleet would be more mk1 heavy, flipside, had the MHR stayed Alresford-Ropley maybe they would have restored more of their historic carriages. What we gain in one direction we lose in another. I think it is only ever possible in the very long term to have everything (route, facilities, locos, storage) and getting there will involve compromises - either you never extend, or you have poorer facilities, or you have mk1s and 'too difficult' restoration projects get pushed to the end of the siding and sadly some things get lost (who doesn't lament the loss of the LSWR diner).
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  20. City of truro fan

    City of truro fan New Member

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    One thing that not a lot of railways use is wagons with seats in. Bristol has done this and it works great. They don’t have to waste any time fixing coaches or keeping them as tidy
     

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