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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by 50044 Exeter, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    ... and wot about the 'Fairlies'? Also pretty damned iconic in my books! :)
     
  2. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Surely the point is that the L&B was operated by the Manning Wardles (plus 1 Baldwin), and therefore the visual image is of those quite unusual looking locomotives.

    Therefore a recreation of the L&B, to be visually authentic, implies going back to those designs. The L&B have followed that path closely - look at the rolling stock rebuilt and returned to traffic - and are in the process of that recreation. All of this is in the spirit of that powerful quote from the closure, “perchance it is not dead...”.

    The alternative ideas, none bad in themselves, would not conform to that pattern. When I’ve visited Woody Bay, the “other” locomotives haven’t looked “right”. I’d love to see a double Fairlie in the L&B, or something from the VoR, or (if it would fit) a WHHR Garrett, but in the spirit of an exchange. To do otherwise would create a different kind of L&B.


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  3. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    Look at two similar railways the VofR and the FR, one with a main fleet of locos all essentially the same and another that varies from the Ladies to the Fairlies (and a MW) - I've visited one of those lots of times the other one not nearly so often (perhaps I will when the NGG13 gets running?).

    I do get the draw of re-creating the past but also see that variety is the spice of life and a bit of everything does you AND YOUR CUSTOMERS good as it's their dosh that lets you indulge in our hobby. Imagine this a punter turns up once sees and rides behind a MW enjoys his day out and comes again and gets another MW (as that's the more likely outcome when you have 4) - will he be willing to return on the third, fourth, fifth time to just get more of the same?




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  4. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    One of the features of the L&B carriages, on the old line, unfortunately only really evident in images of the 'last day' back in 1935, is their sheer capacity. The corridor connections found on today's FR/WHR come with a weight per bum per seat penalty, in excess of 25%, when compared to compartment stock of equivalent length ..... however ..... whilst the 'trad' stock may be near ideal for Blackmoor Gate to Lynton operations, looking to the future, how acceptable will 21st century passengers (enthusiasts aside) find the notion of an hour and a half trip from Barnstaple in a compartment carriage?

    I've seen mention of meeting future passenger requirements ... and we're still a good few years off any extension south of Blackmoor, of course, so the L&B have a while before the issue becomes pressing. How the line's management approach things will be fascinating to watch unfolding, as the considerations of working a long line so potentially useful to the considerable numbers of visitors to Exmoor presents problems and opportunities in equal measure.
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    So many differences between the two lines - length, scenery, location, price, marketing presence - that trying to isolate one factor as a cause of variation in traffic in isolation is impossible. VoR and FR May have different levels of traffic, but there is no way you could categorically ascribe that to a single factor such as variety or otherwise of motive power. Sadly (for the scientist in me at least), you can’t run the control experiment with lines identical in all aspects except one as a means to identify the influence of that one factor.

    For my money, the L&B has the potential to (re)create something unique in preservation by, as far as possible, creating replicas of original locos, stock and infrastructure. That to me is a very powerful attraction, both as a visitor and selling point to get potential members involved. Variety of motive power away from the core MW / Baldwin originals would act as a disincentive to me. I’d far rather stand at a station in rural Exmoor and see two Manning Wardles cross than say a Garratt and a Fairlie. (I tend to be a bit indifferent to questions of loco performance: if someone asks “how much could a Vale of Rheidol loco haul across Exmoor?” my personal view tends towards “meh - who cares?”)

    Of course - YMMV and the plural of anecdote is not data.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    My thoughts exactly, for example when I went to the Isle of Wight I went for the island locos, I didn't care for the austerities or even really the Ivatts, even though that would have given me more variety. I'd far rather go see an Ivatt somewhere it can haul appropriate stock, likewise a VoR loco and a MW!
     
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  7. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    I think it has been suggested before that when an extension towards Barnstaple comes to pass, further coaches will be built with catering facilities, corridor connections and toilets. I think it was proposed that these coaches would be painted in Southern livery.
    The other thing to consider is, how many passengers will want to do the entire journey? I suggest it's more likely for people to start their journey at Blackmoor and travel either to Lynton or Barnstaple. Those travelling from Barnstaple to Lynton (or vice versa) will be a very small percentage of the railways business.

    Keith
     
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  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I am not convinced, and I'm not aware that the Welsh narrow gauge railways that have been discussed have such a bias towards part journeys on similar-ish length runs, nor lines like the WSR or NYMR.

    More practically, there is a thriving coach tour business in north Devon - I have had the misfortune more than once to be staying at hotels in Barnstaple and finding them dominated by a coach party - so I would not be at all surprised to see a one way journey on the L&B forming part of a standard itinerary, dropping at one end and picking up at the other.
     
  9. MartinBall

    MartinBall Guest

    This is not necessarily my own view, and I agree that it's a discussion point, but what I was getting at is that this is what the present directors intend to do whether you, I, or anyone else agrees or disagrees. So, subject to a major change of personnel and policy, 4 MWs and Lyn is what it will be....
     
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  10. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    And that is their decision to make and if it hinders their passenger numbers they will only themselves to blame. All I or anyone else can say from a distance is running a successful heritage operation is not just about what your core supporters crave and ways of getting those bums on seats is an area one should never loose sight of however much your historical bent is pulling you.


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  11. Red5

    Red5 New Member

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    I’m sure they’ll enjoy taking the blame for the recreation of the four Manning Wardle locos and Lyn.

    There are several railways where you can view a wide variety of motive power, and can be enjoyed across the country.

    The L&B always had a unique ‘mainline line in minature’ feel which is being rebuilt in the correct way.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I know we (yep .. includes me!) can be a tad impatient to see projects come to fruition, but given we're speaking of a line being reopened in discrete phases, over some period of time, dare I suggest the L&B's management, who've done a pretty bang up job thus far, will have sufficient time to monitor how traffic patterns develop, as the railway expands and therefore establish the quantities and nature of rolling stock required for that optimal balance of heritage v 'commercial' operations without resorting to a crystal ball. :)
     
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  13. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, but doing what those supporters crave and creating a very clear brand can help with persuading the vast majority who are not enthusiasts to part with their hard earned.
     
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  14. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    Axe, Sid, Charles Wytock, Isaac, Faith, Pilton, and the two small diesels are all non-authentic L&B locos that are currently (apart from Sid) operating on the L&B, and there have been many different visiting locos, so there is not an absolute restriction on the type of rolling stock that can be used (much of the goods stock is regauged 2'6" ex-MoD). Whilst the obvious core loco fleet to aim for will be 4 MW + 1 Baldwin, there is plenty of scope for other appropriate locos to appear, and even become permanent members of the fleet. One danger, however is that the L&B ends up with far more motive power than is needed, leading to unused, unkempt and unsightly white elephants littered along the line, as has been seen to happen elsewhere.
     
  15. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    I agree and have said so before a core "historical" new builds meets those needs, but to do 5 is overkill in my eyes. I'll also repeat this from earlier as well:

    Imagine this a punter turns up once sees and rides behind a MW enjoys his day out and comes again and gets another MW (as that's the more likely outcome when you have 4) - will he (or she) be willing to return on the third, fourth, fifth time to just get more of the same?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  16. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    Yep having too much suitable motive power is indeed a waste, but its also a waste of building yet another MW when say a loco like Isaac is in service and quite capable of the traffic on offer - yet it gets pushed into that 'oblivion siding' by the history at all cost zelots.
     
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  17. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Turn the question round, how many people will travel the long distance to north Devon for visits like that? The "red pen" market isn't that large, and I'm not sure the L&B is well placed to trade on it anyway!
     
  18. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    You could flip that arguement on its head though. What happens if a 'punter' has seen the leaflet in his/her hotel showing a MW in Southern livery pulling a rake of red/white carriages and thinks that looks great, then when he/she turns up they find something completely different?

    Isaac is privately owned so could be moved from the line (subject to its contract arrangements with the L&B).

    Keith
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    OTOH, if - as is frequently asserted - the core market (families and coach parties) don’t mind too much what hauls them provided it is steam on the front, then having four identical engine leads to considerable operational efficiencies in maintenance. If you have four locos on the basis “two in traffic, one spare / light maintenance, one under heavy overhaul” then four identical would be considerably easier operationally than four completely different.

    Tom
     
  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    And on the flip side, the people most likely to care about exactly what the loco is are also the people most likely to be most enthusiastic about getting a Manning Wardle. If only half the locos are MWs, there's a 1 in 2 chance that when I visit, I might not get the L&B experience I was hoping for, which might put me off visiting.
     

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