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Isle of Wight Steam Railway

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

  1. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    .The Isle of wight was an one off location, there was no other option but to buy what ever they could get from the former island system, there was nothing more modern in 1967, that was available to buy either from Ryde, or from the scrap line at Newport, unlike the mainland where ready to run MK1's could be purchased given a coat of paint, and been almost put straight into traffic, an older stock was often engineers coaches that needed complete interior reconstruction.
     
  2. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    All this discussion of Mk1s etc is going over old ground - again.

    But one of the things that @Paulthehitch often emphasises, and which shouldn't be dismissed as merely a matter of tastes and opinions, is the way in which things like carriages are presented - their condition, cleanliness, maintenance and protection when not in use. This is an issue that shouldn't get swept under the carpet in debates over whether or not Mk1s are any good.

    It's not just that the IOWSR has a fleet of wonderful pregroup carriages, it's the way that they are presented and looked after that is also special. They are not the only railway that does this, but there are many that turn out tired looking carriages with worn paint, roof paint pealing with rust showing, worn seats, etc. The fact that many of these are Mk1s is not a good advertisement for them as a type of carriage.

    I'm quite sure that when visitors get on board a well restored Mk1, and is clean, well looked after, and perhaps in a train, more than just (what sometimes seems to be) the preservation default TSO, then they will also be feeling the sense of stepping back in time. I came across this the other day - https://gwsrcarriageandwagon.blogspot.com/2022/05/evolution-survey-of-our-mk-1-coach.html - which is one railways look at their coaches, which shows the variety of Mk1 carriages (as well as being an interesting read). Compare those interiors with the airline type seating of today's trains, or the ambience of a class 150, and hopefully you'll see what I mean.

    Steve B
     
  3. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    All that is true, but there's another factor, which is that the IoWSR was able to cope with the demand in its early days by using the coaches it had available and so had the time and resources available to rebuild the 4-wheelers. It simply didn't need to capacity early on to cope. Other lines - e.g. the NYMR - had some usable pre-nationalisation vehicles to begin with, but they were in need of overhaul and the capacity needed rapidly outgrew what they could supply, and by the the only ex-LNER coaches available were departmentals. As the NYMR - and other railways - railway grew, Mk 1s were the only viable option, a reality PaulH consistently refuses to acknowledge. The choice lay between Mk1s or no means of carrying passengers. The numbers of preserved Mk 1s vs those of pre-nationalisation coaches of all varieties really hammer home this point.
     
  4. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant Well-Known Member

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    You're not wrong. My point was more aimed at our esteemed MK1 hater making it sound like eco diversity than a finite resource.
     
  5. iowcr3429

    iowcr3429 New Member

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    This is going to come as a shock to many. Yes I've spent many a hour helping to restore and maintain the Islands carriages. Like many it is great to finally see a long withdrawn body put back into service knowing all the hard work put in to get there. I've worked on 4211 at the Mid Hants and travelled in many a Mk1 both EMU's and preservated which I do like so have a fair bit of knowledge towards carriages.

    A well presented carriage is a joy to see whatever its origin but if I was to be quizzed I do have a soft spot for a early Mk2 TSO carriages with opening windows and wing seats (many a hour spent on trains to Waterloo in the 90's).

    Yes I maybe a bit of a nutter
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I've not got the information to prove it but I'd suggest that, when the Bluebell started in 1960 there were no Mk1's available and coaches were hard to come by so there was little choice, which is why they acquired the Chesham set. The next lines on the scene, (KWVR, SDR & SVR) also struggled for coaches, having to make do with what BR made available. By the mid sixties, the only pre-grouping coaches in passenger use were on the Isle of Wight. There were a few post grouping coaches around but very few so the choice remained limited. I think that, of those, only a few LNER buffet cars made it into blue & grey, which had come in in 1964. The advent of the Mk2's eventually allowed the oldest Mk1's to be withdrawn so, again emerging railways had little choice. These emerging railways wanted coaches that they could put straight into service, Don't forget, as time went on it was possible to acquire a Mk1 in good condition for as little as £1K. The idea of rebuilding derelict or departmental coaches was still some way away and largely spurred on once railways had secured their needs for everyday operation. After all, these rebuilds were going to be much more expensive than a good Mk.1 so were never going to be a needs must. The coaching fleets we now have were dictated by finance and practicality rather than anything else.
     
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  7. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Are Mk1's within the loading gauge for the IoW?
     
  8. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    From the Bluebell website " Back in 1961, the infant Bluebell Railway could ill afford to spend a single penny, but passenger numbers demanded more than just the original two Southern Railway coaches. The cheapest coaches on the market were some ex-Metropolitan Railway coaches, dating from the turn of the last century, for which London Transport were asking only £65 each. So it happened that four of the six coaches which had been used for the previous two decades on the Metropolitan Line's Chesham branch came to the Bluebell. Another went to the LT Museum, and the sixth was scrapped." see https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/bash/hist.html
     
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  9. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Most general purpose pre-nationalisation rolling stock was more or less gone by ca. 1963, what remained after that tended largely to be special purpose vehicles such as catering and sleeping cars and inspection saloons. The SVR acquired a lot of their GWR and LMS via the Swindon and Derby test trains, which were more or less untouched following withdrawal from revenue service, and there were a few odd survivors that lingered on - the NYMR's Thompson CK and CL, the SVR's Gresley BCK and some late surviving Bulleids for example - but nowhere near enough to meet t5he demand that took off in the early 1970s. We should consider ourselves fortunate that what survived did so, and also that there were those who had the foresight to save the much maligned "henhouses" that we now see gradually being restored to service. Without them our heritage railways would be much duller places, as a few of them unfortunately demonstrate.
     
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  10. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Well-Known Member

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    No, they wouldn't fit
     
  11. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Well-Known Member

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    It was a bit later than that. Large numbers of Bulleid coaches survived until the end of southern region steam in 1967 for example. But yes, still well before the explosion of railway preservation schemes in the 1970s.

    BR did once plan to keep a number of Bulleid coaches in service into the 1970s for the Waterloo to Exeter services, and paint them blue/grey. In the end, they found sufficient Mk1s to use instead. A shame that didn’t happen as there would probably now be more preserved.
     
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  12. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Thanks. I thought that, because the two Ivatt 2-6-2 tanks 41298 and 41313 had to have their chimneys changed to the short version originally fitted to 41200-41289.
     
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  13. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, and when a class 33 came to visit it had to be a slim Jim version.
     
  14. weltrol

    weltrol Part of the furniture Friend

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    So would the Hastings unit fit then?
     
  15. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    I'm sure I read of a plan in the 1980s to use redundant narrow-bodied coaches from BR multiple units as hauled stock on the IOWSR, which was disregarded in favour of restoring historic four-wheelers instead. Anyone remember that?
     
  16. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    It might possibly be too high, roof top vents and horns, might take it very close to the loading gauge, Its one of the great what ifs, Could a small fleet of 3 car, and two car Hastings gauge units have replaced the steam stock? if BR had decided to do what it did on the mainland and replace steam era with it's own design of DEMU?
     
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  17. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    I understand from someone who was around at the time that this was so..
     
  18. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    There are some lovely restored coaches around and I enjoy travelling in them for that reason. However if I was just "track bashing" a line all day then many of those would not be my choice.
    I would put Bulleid coaches at the top of the comfort list, then maybe Maunsell and then a decent Mk1. And despite the fact that many seem to gravitate to the compartment Mk1's I find those seats a little low compared to the normal table seats. Personally I am more than happy with Mk1's although I agree there are some tatty ones around.
     
  19. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    The long and the short of it is that we should be grateful for all the steam-era stock that has survived as, collectively, they have enabled the heritage railway industry to become established and develop. If I have a personal dislike it is for later Mk 2 and onwards stock - other than the earliest specimens with opening windows, these coaches jar badly in appearance and internal decor with the steam era most lines are trying to portray. Although heritage did not end in 1968, the steam era that most lines seek to represent did. It's for the same reason that I think heritage diesels wearing BR blue (and even worse - later) liveries really need to be consigned to the more diesel orientated lines - but perhaps I'm a bit of a radical purist!
     
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  20. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    Not all Bulleid stock was commendable. Some seating in EMUs must have provided the inspiration for that present day horror the "ironing board" seat. Then compare with SE&CR 1911 standards and weep.
     
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