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Lottery turns down funding for GCR Museum

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Railboy, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. mogulb

    mogulb New Member

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    Really do not think the make up of the company would have anything to do with the refusal. Surely the lottery Would have a advised that this was a problem long before any application was even submitted.
    As has been said in earlier posts the lottery has massively overcommitted and with falling revenues has a rather large black hole to fill, hence a rather large number of application refusals recently.
     
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  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Could we potentially be coming to the end of this particular bubble for large amounts of money for big projects on heritage railways altogether in the medium term?
     
  3. PC5020

    PC5020 New Member

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    Yes. There will necessarily be big changes in the next 20 years. Nothing stays the same. We dont live that long. How old is the youngest fellow who actually remembers steam trains? The critical mass of enthusiasm will slip away.
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Has the critical mass of enthusiasm for say World War II history slipped away? You have to be into your late eighties even to have reliable childhood memories of the war, or 90+ to have combat experience -- but air shows, military vehicle parades and so on remain perennially popular. They can't be reliant on those with direct first hand experience. (Not to mention all those people visiting 18th century stately homes or 14th century castles...)

    It's a mistake to assume that interest in heritage railways is primarily held by those who experienced the real thing - indeed, a dangerous mistake, because it runs the risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's no reason why heritage attractions shouldn't prosper long after those who can remember the original thing are dead and buried, provided those attractions can find innovative ways to demonstrate their relevance to new generations.

    Tom
     
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  5. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Not many staff in the MPD's around the country now who can remember BR mainline steam - got to be over 60 really, and most sheds now have healthy balance of ages in my experience.
     
  6. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps its time to get back to basics - for example at one time most loco restoration was largely done by volunteers on slender amounts of cash, with the lotto cash previously available quite a few have used professional teams to do the majority of the work and overhauls are now costing much much more than previously. Yes I know some work will still need contracted out - but all of it come on where's the pioneering spirit of the old preservation movement?
     
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  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I suspect doing restorations all by volunteers on a shoestring is a thing of the past, there's only so long you can call a dismantling, good going over with a wire brush and a repaint an overhaul before you need to start doing more complicated things. (I exaggerate of course, but hopefully you get my drift).
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I suspect that was only possible when there was still plenty of residual life left in locos.

    I've got in front of me the annual mileage charts on the Bluebell back to 1960. A striking observation is how low the annual mileages per loco were for many years. From 1960 to 1992, an annual figure of 5,000 miles for a single loco was exceeded only twice; by "Bluebell" in 1969 and by "Primrose" in 1971. Generally, there were a reasonable number of locos in traffic and mileages were typically only 2 - 3,000 per loco per year. Even into the early 1990s, mileages over 4,000 per year were rare.

    That factor had a couple of consequences. The first is that, with plenty of locos available, an unplanned failure was rarely of much consequence to the traffic. Repairs could be conducted at the pace that suited available labour. The second is that for restorations or overhauls, there wasn't a significant pressure to get a loco available by a certain date, because the service had plenty of locos available to run anyway. I suspect that is the origin of the "it'll be ready when it is ready" ethos.

    As residual life got sucked out of the locos, and overhauls became more costly and complex, the number of available locos very gradually diminished (because they were being withdrawn quicker than a new one could be returned to service, due to the increasing complexity of the work required), and the annual mileage per loco went up accordingly. This year we'll do something like 35,000 miles with the vast bulk of the mileage falling on only five locos, two of which are pre-grouping. A failure in service has a much more pressing effect and has to be rectified rapidly; there also has to be a higher degree of certainty of when overhauled locos will be available, because the clock is ticking on the others.

    Taken together, those factors drive a greater reliance on use of paid staff, where it is a bit easier to guarantee a certain number of hours availability each month on a particular loco.

    We still have some entirely volunteer-driven projects, and they may well come out cheaper in cash terms. But they are only viable because the locos concerned are not, from long range, being counted on to run the service at some defined point in the near future.

    (Apologies for going a bit OT for the thread - maybe the mods would consider moving this and previous posts to a new thread about funding or professionalisation of railways?)

    Tom
     
  9. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Well-Known Member

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    Yes I do understand the volunteers can't do it all, but they can do a darn sight more than painting and wire brushing (and many have indeed been doing such for many years) but the question I pose is have we become lazy with all the dosh that available with the lotto cash, leaving it all to paid staff & contractors. Should we be thinking of encouraging (and training) the volunteers so they can do the work on what are in reality fairly simple bits of (heavy) engineering - this could indeed be the future if these pots of money are no longer available?

    I do understand the needs of some railways with tight and intensive services to maintain will struggle to maintain their fleets and will need full time staff, but also how many of those have received the eye watering awards for some of the main line (re-)restorations?
     
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  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Well-Known Member

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    Of course the Bluebell is a lot longer these days as well.

    I’d suggest a slightly cyclical nature to these things. For example, as a child I used to holiday in North Wales, it was pretty common for the Ffestiniog to seem to have a loco crisis at least once a year as a couple of failures could result in a Prince/Upnor Castle combo out on the line for several weeks (obviously meaning more crews out including paid workshop staff). The response was two-fold, timetable changes to reduce the number of locos in use from 4 to 3 in high summer by getting rid of the loco change at Port (and to do this using Minffordd and TyB rather than RG and Dduallt), but long term i’d suggest that it is what has driven the desire to expand the loco fleet to prevent that. As I recall it was one of the the arguments for building an extra double fairlie, taliesin, lyd etc.

    Of course having paid staff in the works not out on the line means that locos under overhaul or repair can be fixed faster.

    It maybe that what you describe can work when perhaps a line is slightly shorter and then there is a tipping point as passenger numbers, mileage etc become higher and the locomotive strategy has to be re-thought. I am not enough of an expert on the MHR but my impression is that their desire is to have more locos available because at times I get the feeling things have been tighter than they would have liked.
     
  11. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    Realistically "we can't do things like we used to" is pretty true. The days of brick, string and all the engines and coaches being "just retired" are gone by some long stretch. On top of that, compared to say even 30 years ago Heritage Railways are big business, especially the matured "Premier League" who see turnovers that run into the multi-millions of pounds, let alone their wider impact on the economy.

    It's only right as we have to meet more stringent regulations and operational needs that lines have staff to hand on the engineering side in order to keep the trains going to a more reliable standard than perhaps we did 30-40 years ago. At the end of the day, the lines are run by enthusiasts but they aren't necessarily for enthusiasts any more. They're for Joe and Jane and their three kids to have an afternoon out. Lines that still adopt that attitude of being "for enthusiasts" are not attracting many customers.

    Has the lotto spoilt Heritage Railways? No, I don't think so, all that will happen is a move towards different funding models to get what we need done. The Lotto has had a wonderful effect of allowing some "nice to have" projects get done, and in other cases, allow for award winning places to be created.
     
  12. I rarely disagree with your posts, Tom, but that is a really, really horrible word!

    Society currently seems hell bent on trying to turn every possible activity or scenario into a single word verb. For me it's the visual equivalent of fingernails being scraped down a blackboard - or should that be fingernailisation?

    No need - there is no tax on words. Yet!

    Aaargh!
     
  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Well-Known Member

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    This prompted me to remember something. I am sure many others will have similar stories to this (caveat this was a few years back when I did volunteer and I don't remember all the details).

    The crew on the first trip was me and a full time driver who was also fitter (no volunteer driver available that day) - so he was driving and not working in the works. We had leaking tubes and early on the driver decided that while the engine could complete its first trip, it could not take the afternoon trips (we really had to nurse it), so he phoned and a replacement engine was prepped (by full time staff - so time lost).

    Next day, same loco but with volunteer driver and me, the loco superintendent came out on the first trip to see if everything was ok. (So loco superintendent not in the works), he declares the loco good to go. I forget what happened, but between him getting off and the start of the second trip it was realised that the tubes were leaking badly again. The driver doesn't fail the loco but instead asks for a pilot, so a different member of the permanent staff (and the guy who was his apprentice) come out in a diesel to pilot us on the afternoon trips.

    So anyway, the long and the short of this story is that 1 full time member of staff lost a whole day in the works and 3 full time members of staff lost half a day in the works very unexpectedly and obviously the work they were all scheduled to do was delayed. It may not seem like much but it builds up over months and shows how things can slip very quickly and a loco you hoped would be ready for the start of the season ends up not being ready until the autumn.
     
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