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NORTH WALES COAST EXPRESS 2012

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Britfoamer, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    This whole idea of SLOA2- comrades of engine drivers, union of socialist firemen, water tower dwelling hippies, Greek artisans of time tabling, harp playing mark 1 coach restorers and coal miners of Barnsley all humming cross legged on a cloud to plan a railtour. It sounds like a Beatles Video but in reality is at worst embarrassing, at best already in existence.

    You could just buy your own engine, run your own coaches, sell your own tickets and arrange it with network rail.
    and to hell with everyone else... example.. Its called a TOC.

    WCRC don't need a DEmocratic People's Republic of SLOA to operate trains.
    WCRC don't need anyone to market, schedule, prepare and operate their trains either.
    be thankful they cater for most people who make an effort to lay on tours as they do and that WCRC go out of there way to make it happen. We have RTC and others thinking of the unusual, undone and impossible and try to find ways to make them happen... That's what makes it so exciting.

    they certainly don't need a yellow submarine full of ageing luddites bubbling up in morecombe bay telling them how to plan a railtour Marxist style.

    Mainline steam will eventually enter a decline, whether it's good service or bad, expensive or cheap, It will eventually become a smaller niche than it is now. A collective bunch of prawn butty suit munchers meeting monthly at NR's offices demanding turntables, water towers, coaling towers, GWGauge nationwide, 2-10-0's at 90mph etc across the network wont make any difference and will be a laughing stock not a serious entity.

    Network Rails job is to run for the future, not cater for the past.
    Railtours need to fit in the gaps, not widen the gaps so that it fits.
    Eventually routes will have to be limited to what fits, unless you've got £bns to make it fit.

    When an engine fails.. It fails. End of. It happens.
    Unless your paying for standby, and crews, and paths, your accepting the risk. A nice product will always command a premium, and the dust has only just settled at the £10 premium for table cloths on steam dreams.

    This propsed Mainline steam "nirvana" will cost you £500 + a ticket.. Just as it it in the US. You'll get great service, but not 7 times a day all over the country, and your pool of locos will be small... Just look at mainline steam in South Africa for the idea.

    Be thankful companies like RTC and WCRC make the efforts they do in envelope pushing, if they give up, we're all back to OO gauge and 60's videos at worst...or the early 1980's steam scene at best ( oh wasnt that the happy days of sloa, limited locos, restricted routes, controlled dates, choreographed mileage, knackered stock, failures, late running and last minute diversions, fire bans and diesel substitutes).

    For now I sit back and await the drain cocks of Epimetheus to puff another cloud in the sky, Hopefully someone on the train can garnish us with the reality of what happened today and give the philosophers /RTC snipers a break.
     
  2. 7P6F

    7P6F Member

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    Frank, please don't go on ......it is boring. My relationship as a customer of RTC is not the same as with Tesco, if I purchase a duff tin of Spam I will complain with as much indignation as I can muster, if let down by RTC or any Railtour Company (which is pretty rare) I will apply as much goodwill to their difficulties in not providing exactly what I purchased as is possible. The wider picture is that they also provide me with an array of mainline steam to phot and travel on, that was unthinkable all those years ago and if they occasionaly trip up on some of the hoops that they have to jump through to facilitate this I for one will remain ever tolerant.
     
  3. Guest

    Guest New Member Account Suspended

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    ADB - you are the best example of a ****** I know - do you communicate with your customers or despise them - because that is how you come across!

    7P then you are a very silly man and easily parted from your hard earned - is there anything I can sell you?

    RTC is the Tesco of the tour world - pile it high - sell it cheap - look at the discounts they are offering regulars. They are both businesses for profit - that's it.

    Loadings are falling like a stone at the moment - letting your customers down is not going to improve that situation
     
  4. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    Does that mean I could get a job in your ideological collective ?
    I know I'm a bit hypo-graphically negative on your idea, but if your idea is so good it should be able to hold water.

    So Seriously frank..

    What can your idea do, that EWS or WCRC cannot do today ?
    Why would / should Network Rail take it seriously, over the status quo ?
    How will it fund itself and produce an ROI ?

    I quote a conference in Manchester back in circa 1991, when the various BR divisions met during privatisation planning, one speaker, for Sloa (whom I won't name) spoke in defence of mainline steam in the privatised rail industry, asking for concessions to allow steam and charter operations in relation to access charges. One question to him summed it up... Why should a privatised rail network subsidise one minority operator aiming to make a profit for a niche business over another operator providing a service to the public for the lowest cost to the tax payer ? ( I believe the reply was along the lines of, we're not making any money at least give us a chance), which I felt at best was weak.

    I understand the product isn't perfect and the fault is on the production line, the cost of a perfect product may be too high, whereas toning down the expectation may be a better solution.
    The money isn't there to make the product best, and if it was the ROI isn't there to recoup it.
    Another committee isn't going to change it.
    Sloa2 might make happy customers but price everyone out of the job.

    I think most people's expectations are reasonable, given the market base. There is considerable room to expand the market, but the product needs massive investment. Given that no one has made that investment should be an indicator that the expected returns are not there and so not worth pursuing.
    Has anyone got £30-40mn to do the job properly as a toc, new stock and new steam locomotives and a business plan to recover £10mn per year over 60 years to recover it ? And why wouldn't you invest that £40mn in a block of flats with a 10% rental yield instead ?
     
  5. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    Suggests it might be tricky in that case, if St Blazey is a 65ft like Tyseley, then the likes of 46233, 60163 and 60009 will fit (ie on wheels on) but with a fair bit of overhang, one loco that definetly won't if it is indeed a 65ft is 6201.
     
  6. Guest

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    ADB Your posts are insulting, patronising and do you no credit. You like to portray yourself as an international business type. If this is how you conduct yourself no wonder the country can't export! From my experience of the IT industry they sell you something that is over sold, under specified, screws up, and needs originality of thought to get something out of it, and your own posts indicate that you earn more from follow up work than mere systems. What an indictment! If all you are in business for is a short term ROI no wonder you can't think strategically. Try taking a long term view. You might learn something.

    Business thrives by working together but the ethos you are propounding displays nothing of the kind. As for you being present at BR meetings in 1991 - what were you, a sixth former or on year out?

    By that time I had twenty years of railway experience and had met every type of enthusiast, both inside and outside the industry, from streetsweepers to billionaires. Your generalisation does not ring true and does not represent the industry. Some were dreamers. Some were hard headed technical or businessmen. Unfortunately a lot out there are the former

    Messrs Smith, who was active then, and with whom I worked in various fields, Hoskins, and a lot more names are not in the game for fun, and have not made their fortunes by being behind the door. Bringing people with a common business product together is nothing to do with ROI and you well know it. It is about understanding and working with each other, where work can be dovetailed and simplified, where a product can be made more suitable for customer needs etc etc. You should try it sometime if you have never worked with your clients that way. It produces better results fosters trust and increases sales. - really!

    But the parties to railtouring are nevertheless on the rough end of ridiculous treatment and - frankly - ignorance, at the hands of the modern generation of management inside Network Rail. There really aren't many worthwhile people left now, as if you have a mind of your own you are ruthlessly hunted down and told that you are not company material and hustled out - even being escorted out in some cases I have encountered. The net result is a cowed and subservient workforce, bereft of any independent thought and managers who think they know the industry, but couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag - qed - today's fiasco.

    As for the tour companies - if every time I write about railtouring you think its about RTC - that also says more about you than me. Today was an RTC event so I am writing about them - putting all their eggs in one basket, hoping they would get away with under resourcing the activity - result disappointed passengers, and an almost empty train when it passed me at Oxford Road. Unhappy punters - unhappy promoters - lose, lose, lose.

    Do you really know about open access, RT1 contracts, Network Change and much, much more? Do you know some of the misapprehensions in the NR Charter Train department? I actually do because a former colleague calls here to pay rent every now and then and briefs me.

    Are you happy buying tours off "the plan" which have no real basis in resourcing and planning? I won't buy when tours are first proposed because they are mere stabs in the dark at that stage. Are you happy when tours require hotel nights before and after, because of ridiculous schedules, supplied at the last minute - really - are you? Are you happy with a business which seems over dependent on coffin dodgers with little discrimination, and less zest for life making up a large part of the cash flow? Where's the future in that game? Talk to Ralph - he'll tell you. Are you happy with tours that don't go where you booked to go, and with haulage you aren't interested in? If so - you are too easily pleased and another reason why business is failing nowadays - falling standards of both provision and expectation. When I buy a commodity - I expect what I pay for - and although I will go along some of the way with 7P above - if the provider has not set out to try in the first instance I won't be on that road long.

    As for your idea of costs - I can cross the Atlantic in five star luxury for under £100 a day. Railtouring is no cheap option. Paying £80 to £180 to sit in sixty year old, dusty, dirty coaches with failing heating and no lighting, being fed a menu with no choice doesn't appeal that much to me these days, especially when at least one way you won't be anywhere near the loco. And as for US Tours costing £500 a day - I've been there and I know where you are talking out of!

    Hence why I am unshakeably of the opinion that an industry which communicates with and understands its various component parts has a far better chance of success than what we have today. If your take on that is that it is somehow idealistic claptrap, then you really do know nothing about business, or creating networks and relationships that can last and prosper.

    So - to loco pools etc. There has been a gold rush for business this year, and that in a year when leisure spending is collapsing, and the biggest klondyker is RTC - sorry, but that's a fact. That they have set up a pool which until three weeks ago was down to one loco, and a loco which couldn't cover their entire diagrams at that, due to the axle load restriction applied at Frodsham, says all that is needed. They were, and are flying by the seat of their pants.

    Talking with stewards who are still working for RTC gives the game away. They are still running high numbers of twelve coach sets with a majority first and dining consist. But they aren't filling anymore. Put a few no steam days and cancellations in the mix and the writing on the wall won't be far away.

    The answer - prudence in planning, certainty in delivery, providing a quality product. That can be done only by reducing the number of trains, matching the call to loco availability, requiring rolling stock operators to up their game, and take no notice of your calculations as to cost. Simplistic planning of that type is what got us where we are today. You need to be much cuter than that!

    Today was avoidable, by not being so greedy for turnover, by having a better infrastructure provider, by having a railway that is maintained according to the 1993 Railways Act - but it isn't going to happen if we all sit in far corners looking away from each other - what a counsel of despair!
     
  7. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Have just come across today's problems with No. 9..and NR....after myself returning from the Waverley trip when Scots Guardsman was failed at Carlisle.

    I thought that I was fairly safe, having decided to pay on the day after watching SG bring the train in. (Let's forget the 500 mile round trip to get to York). But, as it transpired, we only made it to Carlisle, even though it was a pretty good run. So who should I be angry with?

    Network Rail? - No. They found a path at short notice to get the rescue DL up from Carnforth and apart from making us wait for a right time departure from Leeds, as we were early, they were, in my view, helpful.
    The RTC? - No. Apart from the usual absence of on board announcements, the team made everyone aware of what was going on. We did complete the journey and they are in the hands of, in this case. West Coast.
    West Coast? - No..... if we take it on trust that the failure, which was a lubrication issue, wasn't down to poor routine maintenance of the locomotive. And WCR was also quick to sort out the Class 47 for us.

    So no solutions here I am afraid although I know what works. Regular routes with reliable locomotives that are operational at the time they are promised.
     
  8. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Something which yours never are !!!
     
  9. brasso1

    brasso1 New Member

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    I do wonder if one small company attempting to promote seven trains in three days is over-ambitious to the point of foot hardy. I dont mean that to sound harsh but its a small team in that Norfolk office with a small team of (I understand volunteer) stewards who provide the face to face customer service on the trains.

    I also wonder if one dedicated but again, small, operator agreeing to operate all of that plus a Vintage Train train, plus any diesel charters, on track plant etc. is over-ambitious to the point of foot hardy.
     
  10. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

  11. Northern Union

    Northern Union New Member Account Suspended

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    Should anyoe go the final mile and challenge this is a court of law, the pre trial review will order full and complete disclosure. We live in a world where everything is documented to the final letter. So, if the contracts for the pool were not signed before the adveristements were published there is a difficulty. If the pool was not fit for the route that will be exposed at the date that decision was made - it goes on. All would be laid bare. Maybe this is why claims are settled.
     
  12. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    I cannot find a single point here with which to disagree, all very eloquently put I have to say, and said with obvious knowledge and experience behind it, something which cannot be said for much of the "apologists'" contributions by the way !

    Good on you Frank !
     
  13. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    That's good, but please use this thread.

    http://railways.national-preservati...railtour-operations-need-unified-voice-6.html
     
  14. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    Getting back to the NWCE itself, it may be due to the sheer number of posts on this thread, but I don't think I've read a single word about why Number 9 failed, or what if any chance there is of her making her next booked appearance as planned ?

    Does anyone know the answer yet ?
     
  15. adsteamfan

    adsteamfan New Member

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    Well said Ralph. The words Pot, Kettle and Black spring to mind (x3 at least). Also, if TBirdFrank had it his way, I don't think that there would be very much steam on the mainline - it would be far too expensive to have back-up locos positioned ready to cover failures and a support crew for the stand-by loco waiting around 'just-in-case'. RTC and WCRC did all they could under the circumstances with the hand that they've been dealt. The crew, who only got on shed gone 1.00am worked 'til 3am trying to rectify no9 and then were up again at 8am to get the Duchess ready to take over Llandudno-Holyhead-Chester. Yes, we know that she is out of gauge - but RTC wouldn't have known that when it drew up the tours. NR reportedly said that she was out of gauge for Llandudno-Holyhead-Chester yesterday as the gauging hadn't been redone since May! You seem very much into the blame culture - not a good thing IMHO! The operators, footplate and support staff do an incredible job providing us with the sights and sounds of these fantastic OLD machines and those who travel on the booked tours should do so in the knowledge that things can and do go wrong. I have had such experiences when four of us travelled to York for the Scarborough only to find that the booked loco - Leander - had failed, Dissappointed yes, stamping our feet and calling for compensation for a lost day's pay and expenses - most certaily not!! Grow up, shut up or ship out and stop acting like an American attourney looking for blame - we true British still have the stiff upper lip and deal with things appropriately.
     
  16. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    What utter nonsense !

    The argument I believe Frank and others are putting forward, (myself included), is that the steam scene needs to adjust itself to a shrinking market to safeguard it's future full stop ! He's not arguing for a reappraisal of the number of steam tours being run for the sake of argument, but more for the sake of the industry, which at present appears to be being run with self interest and profit at heart, rather than the interest of loco preservation, which is don't forget, how it all started. Unless this reality is realised it won't be reduced steam we'll see but the end of steam altogether, so standing up and being counted, even if it means issuing some harsh criticism at times is essential if we are to avoid that fate !

    The idea that maintaining a "stiff upper lip" is somehow positive in this context is laughable quite frankly, and certainly not a British quality to which I would want to be associated. It's far more about a past age of opression and bullying in my view, where people were taught that acting that way was right and proper and "British", in order to control and distract them from the questionable actions of those privileged enough to be able to affect other peoples' lives unchecked. Thankfully those days are long gone, and people are encouraged to air their thoughts, feelings and emotions. That to me is the real British way, not the kind of characature made famous on "Dad's Army", which was the butt of all the jokes !

    Unless you hold these people to account and let them know you expect high standards, things will never improve. If being held to account as I describe leads to less steam so be it, at least we'd know it was sustainable and likely to be around for a while. Trouble is people have had it too good, a word of warning I remember reading in one of David Ward's articles some years back. He knew what could work, be cost effective, limit the impact on service trains and still give enjoyment to thousands. In those days there were also run pasts, water stops at stations, AND affordable fares.

    Are we really so afraid of a possible return to that ?
     
  17. Northern Union

    Northern Union New Member Account Suspended

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  18. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    Someone mentioned a problem with the blower at Crewe on Sunday. Whether that is correct or not, I don't know. But whatever it was, I got the impression it wasn't a major problem, but something that couldn't be fixed while the loco was in steam.
     
  19. 8A Rail

    8A Rail New Member

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    Do we know? I've seen nothing to confirm that from anyone on this forum about the above - it seems to be speculation I'm afraid by some members and you are just adding to it without any facts.
     
  20. Northern Union

    Northern Union New Member Account Suspended

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