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MHR Autumn Steam Gala 2014.

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by green five, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. LC2

    LC2 Member

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    As far as I know, it's not the length of the loops that are the issue, but the signaling.
    Until the re-signaling (at Alton) the RAT used to run Loco + 7, since the re-signaling it's been +6
     
  2. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    The clearances on the loop mean that the signalling could only be arranged to allow for 6 coaches to be run around. Ideally we would wish to extend the platforms at Alton and Alresford as well.
     
  3. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Well-Known Member

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    The days of these galas are over anyway I think. Didn't the SVR have nearly 20 locos in service for one gala almost 20 years ago? The WSR had 14+Kilmersdon in 2007. You won't find anything like that now, 10 is about the norm for bigger lines.
     
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  4. Swan Age

    Swan Age Member

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    I'd agree, if a line puts out less than 6-10 locos It can barely be called a gala as most lines have a core working fleet of at least 4-5 working locos throughout an operating season anyway.
    More than 10 nowadays is mega gala category, IMHO.
     
  5. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    But surely quality of the Gala is a higher priority than quantity of loco's? A friend went to a Gala at one of the premier league lines which had a lot of loco's in steam but the timetable went completely t*ts up and he didn't see half of the loco's. He was pretty p*ssed off with the lack of organisation once things went wrong. Don't get me wrong, lots of loco's are fine as long as you can deal with the situation if one goes wrong.
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's a bit of a "loco-centric" viewpoint! Earlier in the year I went to a Swanage gala that had three locos, but it was quite enjoyable and I don't think would necessarily have been improved just by more engines.

    I wonder if railways have to be a bit more creative about keeping events interesting, while keeping costs down - in other words, what's the value-add? Certainly I'd rate quality over quantity in loco hire, i.e. I'd prefer a single "rare" loco (i.e. one not seen on the line before, or of a type not seen) rather than lots of "the usual suspects". (For example, at the aforementioned Swanage gala, the prime draw for me was the T9 which I hasn't seen in steam before. Having the M7 gave a nice theme, and beyond that it would have made not an iota of difference to me whether there were no other locos running or a dozen).

    I also like "behind the scenes" type opportunities, which a railway can stage at relatively low cost to themselves, but which have a high value to a participant who may not otherwise get that opportunity. A key thought for organisers has to be "so, a visitor has come to our railway once. What can we do that will be sufficiently interesting to make them want to come back, rather than go somewhere else?" I'm not sure the answer to that is just to pile on the engines - I think you rapidly get into a law of diminishing returns, but not necessarily diminishing costs.

    Tom
     
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  7. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    The trouble I find with to many visiting locos at a gala is the lack of mileage you can get behind them. Far better to have fewer visiting locos with more rostered turns over the gala.
     
  8. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Resident of Nat Pres

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    From the sound of it, and I could be wrong, it looks like most of the home fleet will be sitting things out again..........
     
  9. Swan Age

    Swan Age Member

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    Don't disagree at all with you. I myself am happy with 2-3 quality visitors because as has been said you get more opportunities to ride behind them all.

    Also you are right the behind the scenes aspects of a gala make them very interesting, plus an unusual and inventive timetable can also give added appeal.
     
  10. Hurricane

    Hurricane Member

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    Well it appears by that point the home fleet will have 2no LMS locos in its fold :Woot: I cannot wait for the Ivatt to come back into service.

    On that point a couple of years ago the MHR tried lots of double headers and apparently the feedback was not favourable… I think the current format of Galas they undertake is in response to feedback from events held over the last 5 years.
     
  11. 7822WelshSteam

    7822WelshSteam Member

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    Could you tell me which gala that was on the SVR? I'd like to find some photographs and see a list of the locos.
     
  12. 7822WelshSteam

    7822WelshSteam Member

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    I've had a theory for some time about what constitutes a gala. I think a gala needs 1 engine or more for every 2 miles of line. For example, the SVR would need 8 locomotives. A mega gala would be 1 loco or more for every mile of track so 16 engines or more on the SVR.
     
  13. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    What would be the point of 16 locos at the SVR? 7828 only worked half a dozen trips over three days at a gala last year. 8 locos is about right, a couple more maybe for shuttles. Any more than that and you have locos in steam doing one round trip a day. There's only so many paths and so much coaching stock that can be used, so why have twice as many locos as you need?
     
  14. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Possibly 1 loco per section of track might be a good yardstick?
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    My theory is that a gala is any event that, once the additional staging costs are factored in, returns a bigger net contribution to the bottom line than would have been achieved had the railway just operated its normal service at the same time of year. I wonder how many railways achieve it? :eek:

    I'd go with @5944 and @The Saggin' Dragon 's views - you have to think about line occupancy and available rolling stock. Once you have enough locos to run the most intense service the line occupancy allows, including any "extras" (brake van rides around station limits, pilots etc), then any extra locos are just going to be sitting unused. Since I suspect a lot of people go to a gala because they are interested in one particular loco, it can be very frustrating if that loco just has a very limited diagram. Saying "but look at all these extra locos" isn't much compensation if the one you are interested in only does one round trip and then sits on shed for the rest of the day.

    Tom
     
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  16. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember which gala it was, possibly 97, I am only 19 myself so didn't attend! Somebody said it before on another thread.
     
  17. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Well-Known Member

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    It has to be a mix in my opinion. Too little engines and there is little variety, no double heading / set swapping etc. Too many and like you say some hardly get used.
     
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  18. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Well-Known Member

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    One thing that annoys me though is when resident engines are used heavily and guests hardly. There might be more too it than simply the way it is rostered (maybe hire agreement, crews etc) but the WSR used to use 4160 and/or 88 solo on 2 round trips per day during galas for a number of years which I found annoying.
     
  19. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    Even 2 or 3 tender locos can easily mean hire and haulage costs in excess of £30,000 for the more "out-lying" lines. Tom's point about additional contribution is key (and very much echos what I had said to a Budget review meeting on Monday). The point of the effect on morale of a good event was also made at that meeting. It is a matter of balancing the two! I can also recall events where bringing in 2 guests instead of just one, even though they were on a "buy one, get a second one discounted" deal, had certainly not improved everybody's morale!

    The number of locos needed for a Gala depends on number of sections and what else you can do with locos. For me, local trains, the chance to see goods workings and "train hop" are all key Gala features, whilst I am also partial to a bit of evening running.

    I have to disagree with JBTE - I like to see "home" locos running, although agree it shouldn't be to the detriment of guests. For many, the Gala visit may be the only one of the year to a distant Railway and hence the only chance to see the home locos as well as any guests (indeed, given the way guests "do the rounds", they may be easier to catch!).

    Steven
     
  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    One thing that we did last year was to have one loco sitting in the bay at Winchcombe so everyone could get up close and personal without the crews having to hurry people off the footplate as they are due to leave. That went down very well. It swapped around a couple of times a day, I think necessitating a LE movement, but it was only along the shortest section so it wasn't too much of a problem. IIRC, last year that was done all with home locos, but that could have been because they were the only tank engines we had. No idea if it was done the year before, and if so, whether the 4MT did it.
     

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