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Pannier Tank 9682

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 61624, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Probably because it is a really hard subject, to the extent that I suspect even on many heritage railway boards, the long-term cost of the loco fleet isn't well quantified.

    A few variables to show why it might be hard. Let's assume the number you are really interested in is the per mile operating cost of running a loco, which will basically be the overhaul cost (and any intermediate maintenance), spread over the mileage between overhauls. (There's also obviously coal, oil and water on top, but that varies less between locos than is widely supposed).

    So the first big issue is the mileage between overhauls. To a first approximation, there are certain tasks (= cost) that happen at any overhaul, regardless of how many miles you run. You pretty well have to lift the boiler (which means taking off the cladding, cab etc); drop the motion, almost certainly lift off the wheels to allow inspection etc. That cost of disassembly and then reassembly would be incurred regardless of the condition of the parts. If you run a small mileage, that cost therefore gets spread over a small number of miles, so represents a large per-mile cost (even though a low mileage probably means that many of the parts can be returned to use with minimal work).

    The second issue, related, is that at times you have very big costs, but some of them may result in work which will only deteriorate over very long periods, which are in fact a complex mixture of absolute time, time in traffic and miles in traffic. For example, some of our locos are receiving new frames, but hopefully they will be good for 100 years; likewise new cylinders might be good for, say, 250,000 miles (how many years would that be? who knows?). New tyres might be good for 100,000 - 200,000 miles with two or three intermediate turnings - provided your track is also up to scratch. That might be three or so periods in traffic, say 40+ years.

    Then the next issue is the balance of volunteer and paid labour. A new boiler stay is probably about £25 on its own; maybe at least the same again of labour to remove an old one and fit new, if you have to pay. That then comes down not only to availability of suitably skilled resources, but how fast you need to turn a loco round. The same overhaul might take 10 years with volunteers or 2 years with paid staff: for locos strongly tied to a host railway, the host railway may well want a say in that equation.

    All of that is without touching on the relationship between loco and infrastructure; i.e. what long term impact does the loco have on the infrastructure (and therefore infrastructure maintenance costs); and what impact does infrastructure (especially poor infrastructure) have on reduced loco life (especially mechanically).

    Then on top, you have ownership, to the extent that a loco owned by an independent society, but where that society is effective at fund-raising, essentially results in a real per-mile subsidy to the host railway.

    All of which is probably why it is really hard to really get definitive figures on what loco running costs actually are. Probably the best you can do is aim for the loco that will give you reliable high mileages between overhauls; and choose an annual target mileage to run it as intensively as you can without getting to the point where the condition starts to suddenly deteriorate fast; and make it as light and small as possible that it can take the desired loads, but big enough it can do that without being really heavily extended. Probably why Ivatt 2MTs are seen as optimal on smaller railways and BR Standard 4MTs on larger lines. (The key to their economy though is more to do with getting high mileage between overhauls rather than anything in the coal bill). And then hope that the loco is owned by a really vibrant society.

    Tom
     
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  2. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I accept all of that, but that is why I used the words central case. If I were the FD of a railway society i would a) expect the how long is a piece of strong type answer you have given :) and b) then demand the engineering and commercial director give me some numbers to work with and then we can work outwards from there.

    I'm not sure how you can build a strategic plan for a railway without some of these numbers unless it's based on 'something will turn up/someone will continue to put their hand in their pocket' philosophy.
     
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  3. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Most of the more recent railways turn that on its head & pay the owner a market rate per day used against a guaranteed minimum number of days per year (providing the loco remains serviceable). That way the risk sits with the loco owner and need not turn the FD's hair any greyer. That approach makes costing the timetable rather more straightforward simplifying operational/commercial decision making.

    Other mainly longer established railways operate the "use & then repair" approach which is fine when things are in steady state but falls apart when financial provision for eventual repair is not properly made or gets highjacked for apparently higher priorities. To illustrate that you can run a railway without a particular loco but try running it without a particular bridge/viaduct/tunnel/length of track etc etc.

    Of course in the long run both methods need to produce sufficient finance at the right time and it is no coincidence that those locos which are most active tend to have strong support which attracts and generates additional finance as an effective subsidy.
     
  4. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    I could (and indeed in the past, have had to!) write at great length on this subject.

    Firstly, getting costings and timescales is very difficult. There are some good reasons for this and others not so good but it makes financial planning very difficult.

    Hiring in is all well and good but you are in the hands of the lessor as to availability, and in particular what happens in case of breakdown. Their priorities may well be different from those of the operating railway. (Even internal engineers often have different priorities than operators/management!)

    Differing sizes and designs of locos have differing scales of cost - and each loco has had differing treatment over its past life - pre and post preservation. How an overhaul is done - mix of contractor/own paid staff/own volunteers affects costs. The figures of £ 1/2 million seems to be generally accepted as 'the cost of an overhaul' but in reality it isn't - there is no single cost. I know of at least 2 cases where, taking a loco which had been in traffic for 5 to 7 years and gaining a 'new boiler ticket' (no such thing but again a widely understood term) cost around or under £250,000. These were both medium sized locos.

    A very respected (and now sadly departed) engineer reckoned over a decade ago that the 'high figure' (equivalent of £500,000), if spent well, and effectively resetting the boiler life to new, would gain up to four 10 years period between full internal and external inspections, although for costing purposes used 2. Then around £250,000 was spent at 10 years. Insurers are becoming more concerned at going a full 10 years, so doing work say every 7 (even if not mainline) is seen as more advisable.

    Running costs (probably but including value and piston exam, tyre turning and even renewal) will probably add up to half the costs of full overhauls - again, depends if you cost labour. I once proved (t the satisfaction of a bank and their independent reviewers) that locos running 9,000 to 10,000 miles per annum (and said respected engineer reckoned a well maintained loco should be capable of at least 20% more than that and some are regularly running 50% more) could 'pay for themselves'. No profit and no recovery of what you paid for it - unless, of course, you sell it!

    Steven
     
  5. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans New Member

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  6. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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  7. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    It was!
     
  8. Kingston Flyer

    Kingston Flyer New Member

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    So, 9681 & 9682 together.

    Anybody else thinking of double headers already?
     
  9. green five

    green five Well-Known Member

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    Perfect combination for incoming Railtours!

    Sent from my D6603 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    5542 for a gala would be good and possibly a preservation first - 2 consecutively numbered locos of 2 classes.
     
  11. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans New Member

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    A railtour by Tyseley using 9600!
     
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  12. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    Depends if the owners of 6989 take it to the GCR first really (6990, 78018 & 78019 being resident).

    { Of course the Snowdon Mountain railway has already done it (though not for a long time now). }


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. Selsig

    Selsig New Member

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    The Ffestiniog have been running Hunslets 589 and 590 together (mostly) since 1963, and Englands Prince & Palmerston were consecutive products of Hatcham Iron Works (though much rebuilt since), although they are running numbers 2 and 4.

    John
     
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  14. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Potential on the NYMR with 80135 and 80136.

    But we are off topic of course.
     
  15. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Remaining off topic but it is Christmas, STD4 tanks already been done - SVR 1999 80079 & 80080 (with 98, 104 and 136 there for good measure).
     
  16. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    ..... or the Isle of Man Railway operating nos 10,11,12 and 13...... just sayin'!
    Ray.
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    If we are going down this route, the Talyllyn probably comes out top with 1-7. It did have 1-10 at one time, I believe, but the sequence has been broken with the disposal of No.8.
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The Bluebell has 27 and 178, which aren't sequentially numbered, but are sequential in order out of the works. Haven't run together yet though - hopefully won't be long to wait.

    Tom
     
  19. Chris86

    Chris86 Member

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    A4's are probably the biggest standard gauge consecutively numbered run that have appeared together 60007, 60008, 60009 and 60010 I would think- followed by the manors?

    Chris
     
  20. MattA

    MattA New Member

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    Manors 7819, 7820, 7821 and 7822 (Hinton, Dinmore, Ditcheat & Foxcote) are all preserved, thus matching the A4s for 4 consecutively numbered examples.
     

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