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Pontypool & Blaenavon Summer Steam Gala June 24 -26 2016

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by Alex G, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Well-Known Member

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    Action from the Saturday.
     
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  2. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    Had a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon at the gala. Very good value at £15.00 for 5 locos 3 which were visiting, intensive timetable, and a line where the locos had to work. I notice that I am in one of Mick Rogers photos of 1369 with the goods.
     
  3. jamesd

    jamesd New Member

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    A bit unfair I think. £15 for a day of intensive steam action is pretty good value in my opinion and you would have known it runs from nowhere to nowhere just by looking st a map so that shouldn't have surprised you. I hope you enjoyed your walking though.
     
  4. MAPLE CHRIS

    MAPLE CHRIS New Member

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    what some people dont realise is that it probaly cost about 10 grand to bring the two locos in so you need to sell a lot of tickets to cover your costs i went on the Friday and had a great day the line may not be the longest but the gradients make the engines work hard. i bought my ticket in advance and only paid 13.50
     
  5. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    I visited early on Sunday afternoon with a car full of family.

    The problem with the PBR is that the train ride itself is short, goes from nowhere to nowhere, and the scenery rather uninspiring. The carriages are pretty poor. If the weather is poor (as it usually is and was on Sunday) then the attraction of the ride is even less.

    The PBR website at the weekend was awful with no relevant info and the pages did not work. Nat Pres was 'down' so I could not check train times in advance. At Big Pit Halt where we initially parked, no timetable information what so ever. The train journey is unusual and IMHO timetable information essential.

    So back in the car to the main station. Here the timetable poster via the booking office window was of little help unless you knew the track layout and names of all the Halts, plus from memory did not state which motive power was on each train (I might have got the motive power bit wrong).

    No one checking tickets for access to the platform. Significant loss of potential revenue?

    We arrived shortly before 1369 and 1501 arrived from the south into the station. 1501 was furiously releasing steam from the safety valves for a good ten minutes while both locos sat in Platform 1 (no number sign on the platform), the noise being quite deafening. Then both locos disappeared to the yard out of site. Nothing was happening on the railway then for another 30 minutes.

    The main car park was full, but very few people were on the 2 sets of coaches. My guess is that most occupants of the cars were taking photos/film of the GWR locos from the hillside around.

    The above comments are made in the hope that some improvements might be made before the next gala.

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  6. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Member

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    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
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    Some interesting comments there. Allow me to give my view on a few.

    Scenery uninspiring: Possibly if you consider brooding Welsh mountains and moorland uninspiring, even in the rain they have a presence, and on the extension to Coed Avon you run into the tree line and on the side of the hill with views over the valley and Blaenavon below.

    As regards the timetable and motive power allocations, everyone who purchased tickets was given a glossy colour leaflet with details of the timetable and loco roster, and a brief history of each locomotive.

    The lack of revenue checking is an interesting one and possibly something to look into, although there are TTI's on both trains so it is expected they would deal with anyone not in possession of a ticket. Also everyone joining at Furnace Sidings have to walk right past the booking office which is right next to the exit onto the platform, so unless you are someone deliberately avoiding paying it's unlikely to be an issue. Those who lineside only are a difficult one to catch with so many places being public access so the railway does rely on travelling revenue to make the gala a success.

    Nothing happening for 30 minutes at Furnace sidings is an interesting comment as there was a regular branch train operating between Big Pit and Furnace Sidings, or Furnace Sidings to Whistle Inn roughly every twenty minutes, plus the mainline train departing approximately every 40 minutes to High Level with the associated shunting to change locos on all trains, and two return trips of the freight train to High Level during the day.

    The main car park is limited in size and can look full very quickly, but personally I would have been quite happy to find the train relatively empty after seeing a full car park.

    However, I'm sure the Gala organisers will be happy to consider your comments for the future.
     
  7. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Simon Hopkins is running an evening photo charter on goods with 1501 this weekend . cost is £40 . if you are interested let me know by PM and I'll send you Simon's contact details
     
  8. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Hi Nigel,

    There was no restriction on entering the platform without tickets.

    The car park is quite big.

    I am a regular supporter of the PBR, but on this occasion the website was rubbish. We spent £70 and enjoyed our afternoon out despite the weather.

    But the PBR really needs to try harder to make these events work!

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
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  9. Alex G

    Alex G New Member

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    This weekend is our 1940's weekend and also your last chance to see visiting pannier 1501, Andrew Barclay 1219 will also be out this weekend working shuttle trains from Big Pit to Furnace Sidings.
    http://pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk/#/Event?id=37

    Alex.
     
  10. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    Places like the GlosWarks were pretty similar in their early days, you can't really judge the P&B against the WSR's and SVR's of this world, I think it has the potential to grow into something quite decent with seemingly reasonable extentions possible at either end, but time, money and manpower doesn't grow on tree's and expanding into something greater won't happen overnight.

    Not sure what your on about with the scenery, my route there is down to Abergavenny then take the B road "over the top" from the Heads of the Valleys road and it's quite stunning, even when you drop down into the valley I was surprised how green it was given the heavy industry past.

    In short, give them a chance.
     

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