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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

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

  1. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I would agree with you on that. One of my 'bete noires' is the proliferation of modern pictogram-type signs on some heritage railways when the traditional equivalents (eg "Do Not Cross the Line" etc) serve the purpose quite well on others. Fortunately in the design stage for Phase 2A the proposals for operational signage are quite specific that "...the overall appearance of the railway is improved if period signage is chosen where possible..." :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
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  2. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    ...of which only two are of SR (or constituent) origin, both ex-L&BSCR and one of them is a signal-box. Somewhat questionable provenance for the chosen design IMHO :)
     
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  3. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    So how does that equate with the excellent work being done at Chelfham to recreate the original EoD signals, given that only one of them remained (modified) at closure and the replacement of the last of the other 3 had probably taken place by circa-1930?
     
  4. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I must admit, I was a bit surprised to learn that they would not be reusing the original SR concrete post for the down starter, but you might be better off asking the Chelfham gang that question.
     
  5. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Well, I would not propose using the original - the fact that it has lasted so long is surprising in itself, but I would not risk trying to get any more useable life out of it.
    Don't expect to see a concrete Up Starting at the 'new' Blackmoor either :)
     
  6. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    Agreed, but it was good enough for the National Park planners! The buildng will be far more in keeping than the marquee. Almost everything we do will have to be a compromise - we even use electrickery for lighting now! - and 90% plus of the paying visitors we aim to encourage to visit wouldn't notice.
     
  7. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I agree with all that, Martyn.

    But, given that there was no suitable L&BR prototype to copy, so effectively the designer had a 'free hand', then I'm sure that something could have been found as an example of 'Southern in Devon' architecture that IMHO would have been more in keeping. However at the end of the day it's just somewhere for the paying public to sit and have refreshments and at least it will look nicer than the current arrangement.
     
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  8. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    This is slippery ground, it was the argument used against us at Broadway. :(
     
  9. Mr Valentine

    Mr Valentine Member

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    If there's one thing I've learnt in 20+ years as a volunteer, it's to never talk yourself into a compromise. There'll always be instances where it genuinely can't be avoided, but a bit of critical thinking or thinking outside of the box can often overcome obstacles, whether they're genuine or just imagined. Don't sell yourself short. Jamessquared also raises a good point, in that railway enthusiasts do like to compartmentalize 'eras', sometimes to the point of airbrushing historical reality. It doesn't hurt to revisit accepted fact, but I feel that kind of critical historical thinking is often lacking.

    At the risk of going O/T, I'm reminded of a conversation at Didcot a few years ago. Before 1920(ish) GWR engines had wooden cab roofs, and I suggested to the project manager of an appropriate engine then under restoration, that this would be a nice feature to reinstate. I was flatly told that this wouldn't be possible - 'insurance' etc., etc. A week or two later he told me that having given it some thought, he'd worked out a way to make it appear to have a wooden roof, by reusing the steel roof and fitting it with veneer. I then pointed out the entirely wooden-bodied steam railmotor, which was conveniently running up and down the demo line, complete with passengers. Which neatly brings things full circle, as there is of course a wooden-cabbed engine on the L&B!
     
  10. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I liked how it was put in Harry Gasson's book which I was rereading today having had a new combined edition for Christmas; "Once every twenty years or so, depending on the state of the passenger receipts, goods returns, wage increases and such-like, the company would discover, much to their surprise, that they had too much money so there would be enough to allow redecoration of signalboxes." (He then goes on to describe how good his bike looked in locking bar blue and his bathroom in chocolate and cream... :) )

    When it comes to authentic portrayals, I think it is ambience that is key. That emphatically doesn't mean that you can ignore the details and just go for broad brush strokes, quite the opposite. It is often the little details that disproportionally add the ambience when got right, even if you might not especially notice their absence. What it ought to mean is that, where it's not possible to or it is not known how to recreate what was there originally, you work out the most likely way the railway would have provided that thing had it been they who required it. Whether that be something big like a new building, or something small like a leaflet rack, this seems to cover everything and negates the rather frustrating argument put forward by people who don't care and think others shouldn't either that "Well you'll never be 100% authentic". No, but we can try, and when we can't, we can at least make it look like it could have been there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  11. MartinBall

    MartinBall Guest

    Further up thread there was mention that with the exception of Blackmoor other stations would - after restoration - end up looking pretty much like as in pre-closure days. Having been closely involved with the fund-raising for the purchase of Bratton Fleming, I do wonder whether this will hold true with that station? The original building has had some reasonably tasteful additions that make it habitable as either a long-term lease or a holiday let. Of course it will be some time before the railway reaches BF, but a property bringing in good rental moneys is valuable and I can certainly see an argument for not converting the building back to its original station size (and thus losing that rental income). After all, Chelfham will be there to show more-or-less how BF would have looked... Any thoughts on this? I've heard suggested that the station could be converted back to original shape, and a new holiday cottage built in the old Goods Yard to provide the regular income - but that would surely eat up several year's income in the costs involved?
     
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  12. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    AIUI the inte
    I would suggest that at the moment anything to do with BF is in the 'early stages'. AIUI from Exmoor Associates's publicity the current intention is to maintain it in its current form as a rental property until such time as it will be required by the railway to become an operational station. I would suggest therefore that no decision about any substantial alterations will be made until that happens. To be honest, I would suspect that at the moment the L&BRT does not even have any formal policy on such things - but I stand to be corrected on that by anyone with more detailed information - so there would be no basis on which to make any firm decisions anyway.
     
  13. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    referring to your last sentence,no truth about altering BFS as it stands for the foreseeable future as far as im aware
     
  14. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    In some ways, the issue is like that of stage versus film. On the stage, the audience, having agreed on entry to suspend disbelief, is caught up in the performance, the actors, the narrative. The set serves to supply sufficient impression of place and time-a setting for the play. On the screen, with replays and freeze-frame available, much more effort needs be expended on getting all of the period details correct- and then getting roasted on reddit for the few small errors that are noticed by people who have never created anything themselves.
    To a great extent I agree that "It is often the little details that disproportionally add the ambience when got right, even if you might not especially notice their absence", but I think more noticeable are the little things that really shouldn't be there- the modern electrical switches and conduit and the like- but do you chase the walls to put the wires in the plaster, or do you preserve as best you can and surface mount and live with visible plastic? It seems it is often easier to work with a ruin than with a building that is actually well kept.
     
  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    An interesting example, which reminds me of an instance where a heritage railway station building was re-wired some years ago. In the non-public areas a lot of the work was done with metal-clad switches/sockets and galvanised conduit - looking very 'industrial' as a result - but in the public rooms they used round white plastic conduit and ordinary domestic-type white surface-mounted switches/sockets. IMHO it looked totally out-of-keeping with the building. Replica 'vintage' switches are easily obtainable, albeit expensive. What was worse was that no attempt had been made to route the conduit around obstructions such as picture and dado rails, they simply cut a wide slot straight across them :-( From what I could ascertain, the work had been given to an electrical contractor without any guidance or instructions on how to tackle the 'sensitive' issues of working in a heritage building. Mind you, it did not help that whoever planned the work apparently had failed to discuss it with the users of the building, so some of the switches and sockets had to be relocated afterwards to actually be useable for their intended purpose - making the end-result look even worse.
     
  16. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    What we also found at Broadway was that while the heritage people who create in the end found themselves at odds with the users of the building, who had no interest in heritage, but rather their own comforts or perceived safety requirements. They swapped brass doorknobs back to modern handles, added keyless passcode entry to several doors, plastic snap frames on poster boards, plastic timetable holders and an aluminium baby changing sign to the pre-grouping styled Disabled door sign. :Banghead:
     
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  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Agreed, but that's usually where the heritage details come in, because often they're the replacements for the modern little things that really shouldn't be there, where something needs to be there (like a sign conveying certain information etc.)

    This is where we need to work with the people actually using all these things we want to provide to find out what they need before we create. E.g rather than just provide that timetable board we did out of the blue, we consulted with the stationmaster to find out what he wanted and made adjustments.
     
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  18. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Indeed. I can recall an incident some years ago where a volunteer turned up at the railway where I was working at the time with an item that he had made for them at his own volition. Now, it was a really nice job indeed and better than the equivalent which they had already - but they had no need/space for two :-( The decision was made by 'someone in authority' that the old item would be replaced by the new one, on the basis that the volunteer was an 'important' person for the railway (albeit someone who only came to work there on one week a year) and they did not wish to offend him by declining. Not surprisingly, this did not go down well at all with the other volunteer who had made the existing item and was someone who worked on the railway every weekend during the summer, as he then felt "less valued" and so moved on elsewhere.

    Obviously a hard choice to make, but had the second donor asked beforehand "would you like me to make of of these?", he could have been told "thank you very much, but could you do of those instead please?" and then both would have been happy.
     
  19. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    "What we also found at Broadway was that while the heritage people who create in the end found themselves at odds with the users of the building, who had no interest in heritage, but rather their own comforts or perceived safety requirements"

    The awful people! How dare they think about their own health and safety... (that's either lost something in the telling or exposed a total failure in stakeholder communication there...)
     
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  20. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    Actually this is a serious divergence between aesthetics and historical accuracy, and health, safety and practicality. Round brass (or ceramic) doorknobs look brilliant, and are for the most part, the historically correct choice on pre 1950 buildings. they are also difficult to operate for many of advanced years, or suffering from arthritis. If the door and frame are anything other than perfectly true so there is a stiffness in the mechanism, they can be impossible.
    For this reason lever handles are stipulated (I believe mandatory) for any commercial or public access building, which most heritage railway buildings are. Whilst the legislation cannot be back-dated, and repair and like-for-like replacement are allowed, to fit a door knob to replace a lever handle will be an infringement.
    I do some sub-contract work for a locksmith. He has a nice line in lever handles to replace doorknobs without damaging anything. When I fit them, I label the doorknobs, wrap them in paper, in a box marked "Original Door Handles", and tell the householder they owe it to Bath to keep the box in the cupboard under the stairs/fuse cupboard etc. in case they need to be put back.
     

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