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Question re SWT's 3417

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by Woof, May 12, 2008.

  1. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    Bluebell Mafia? Im more alarmed by the number of people wanting to slag them off at every opportunity. The swanage has plenty of rolling stock sitting in sidings too y'know! (as do most railways). However unlike most the VEP will be serving a purpose, providing a statement of intent, and will be kept in good condition. If its not, im sure twr12 they would be happy to let you lend a hand.

    Chris
     
  2. Small Prairie

    Small Prairie Part of the furniture

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    welcome to how nat pres treats the MHR ....



    Right , ive just read 6 pages of well S*** , its going round and round yet i think its endded up back to where it startted . the bluebell is getting some Vep thing they want to chuck in a siding that will no doubt have the best intenstions put towards it for the first couple of months then people will get bored of keeping a set of 4 coachs in working order ....yet not move .

    Vandles WILL use it as target practice . stepney , you havnt seen them becuse i doubt they stable anything in East Grimstead over night to practise on yet . The MHR ocasionly get done over at alresford with "artists" and thats only a small village /town .

    Now here comes the stupid part of my thinking .....why not leave the Vep thing for someone else to buy and the money saved in not having to do upkeep etc could go to something usefull like i dounno .....making sure engines are in working order or getting some coachs in and worked on...i know keeping stock in running order is a stupid idea but it might actully work * yes ....sarcasum*

    I just dont see why the Bluebell who prides them self as a steam only railway have gone and got an 08 diesel and now wantting to use a VEP to repersent there railway ....id feel embarrased to know i was vollentering on such a line who done that .

    and as for these evil management , they dont see common sence , then again....what railways management does? they look for short bursts of cash , not long term income. ive seen this in atleast one other railway ....

    Now is there any chance of just giving up on this topic as its going round and round like mineheads new turntable on weed
     
  3. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    Gulp!

    That summed it up nicely.
     
  4. Woof

    Woof Member

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    Thats a bit unfair.....but sometimes a few toys are thrown around abit.

    If you dont like it dont read it.....
     
  5. cheekylittlemonkey81

    cheekylittlemonkey81 New Member

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    Not making any excuses for storing a servicible unit in a dead siding but, they already have at least one southern electric car on site. Is there any drive within the Bluebell to develop the third rail electric side of our heritage and suitably interpret it for visitors?

    One thing everyone should be able to agree on is that it is an important aspect of Southern history that cannot be left to waste away.
     
  6. barclay

    barclay Member

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    Small Prairie sounds disappointed with this thread, but I think it is one of the best that has been on National Preservation for a while. A good, well-structured debate with points eloquently argued by either side. I guess the ideal scenario is for SWT to allow the unit to remain as a staff pet a la the ex-Ilford 306 unit, but suppose that is unlikely to happen on the budget-obsessed privatised railway.

    For my tuppence worth I sympathise with both points of view, and recognise that keeping the unit static is not an ideal scenario. However, given that it is only scheduled to remain for five years, does this not present the opportunity for a group to establish a permanent home for it elsewhere during those five years? In that time, a siding could be laid, services provided and maybe even a shed built. I suspect there’s a number of groups that would be very pleased to have a temporary home provided for their stock where it will at least be kept presentable, while they sort out a permanent base.
     
  7. John Elliot Jnr

    John Elliot Jnr Well-Known Member

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    A question I have asked before, but to which no answer seemed to be available: exactly what is the VEP going to be doing at East Grinstead?
     
  8. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    Hmm. If people are so offended by it becoming a mess at East Grinstead, then IF it happens they can go down and help - but of course all people want to do is carp on here... It has to go somewhere; the bluebell offered it a home, im not aware anyone else did, and if they hadnt it might be on its way to the scrapman. If people now want to 'save' it im afraid it looks like you shouldnt have waited so long. If you really care about it go down every other weekend and give her a good clean so she looks loved.

    And im sorry, i just dont see how the railway's actions are anything but common sense - the railway is getting track layed for its arrival, it was on offer for at least a year yet was still sitting around bournemouth, and it was obtained for £1. What other rolling stock in good condition with SR heritage could it have obtained for £1? I cant help but feel some of this is the childish reaction to a railway that aims to operate without using diesels and therefore buying an EMU means they dont care about it and want it to rot - as has already been said they allow a 4COR (?) trailer at HK - unlike endless 37's and 47's electric traction has a long association with the southern - if theres a reason there isnt more electric stock at the bluebell its air braking and nowhere to exhibit it undercover. Who says the VEP wont end up in their new carriage shed after its stint at EG?

    (John, i believe it will be used as a static exhibition about the lines extension to give it a visible presence in the town - a fenced compound doesnt show much progress to the general public whose money the line will need by the bucketload)

    Chris
     
  9. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    So, Christopher125, if a new offer of a long-term home for 3417, undercover, with 750vDC shore supply was to come up. Would that be a better home for an important Southern artefact?
     
  10. Keelar001

    Keelar001 Member

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    Chris, I couldn't agree more.

    This thread, and I say this for those of you who are worried about it - like me, for example - isn't an attack on the Bluebell. For from it. The Bluebell are the only line who are in a position to find a use for the unit right now. It isn't ideal, and as some of you might have guessed, there are those of us frantically exploring other avenues. What they are cannot be discussed at this point, but rest assured those enquiries care ongoing and being conducted with some urgency.

    Those of us with an interest in the unit - those people who have given up their time and money to keep her in the condition she currently enjoys (the way the unit looked at Swanage was down to time and effort donated by staff: we didn't cost SWT a penny!) - are concerned that the arrangements at East Grinstead will ultimately lead to the unit being left in a condition where she will not run again. Having seen what two years in open store at Bournemouth did to her, the idea of five years open store, on an site which will be far more difficult to keep secure is a great concern.

    Those of you who have questioned whether there are vandals in the area, I would urge you to consider the damage to the nameplates on 3417's motor brake. Someone, and this someone clearly isn't a vandal - they knew what they wanted - attempted to remove the plates using a crowbar whilst the unit was in store at Bournemouth. This was at a time when there were 24 Class 442s, plus Desiros, and the associated staff, present 24-hours a day. If this can happen on a working depot.... well, draw your own conclusions. We all know how difficult it is to keep railway premises secure. 3417 will be an inviting target to thieves (they do exist, even amongst the railway fraternity), vandals and...
    You see my point folks. If someone want to spray it, chuck stones at it, steal parts off've it or torch it, then they will find a way to do it. That's life, and anyone maintaining that won't happen because it hasn't happened before is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

    Storage at EG brings with it problems that manpower alone cannot solve. EMUs don't do well without a power supply - the wiring degrades, the insides become mouldy... blah-blah-blah. This has all been chewed over before. The unit, just like any other stock, doesn't like being stood idle and the longer it's stationary the worse those problems will become. The Bluebell, quite rightly, took the pragmatic view of taking a (very) presentable exhibit that no other railway could accommodate for a pittance. I suspect that their plans involve having "something" at EG - it just happens to be a VEP and costs them very little money. Fair play to them. As Chris has pointed out the railway lives and operates in a harsh world and, like a colony of pelicans, large bills are everywhere. I do not believe that they have decided to use the unit and be damned to everyone else and I don't believe for an instant that the membership of the Bluebell think that way either. I suspect that the Bluebells attitude, and who can blame them?, will be that they will take reasonable steps to ensure the unit remains secure but if something untoward were to happen then "Oh well, we only paid £1 for it." Business is business, I'm afraid. I'm not interested in launching a character assassination on the Bluebell Railway, its board or its members: frankly, if I didn't have an interest in the unit beyond "I want something to stand at East Grinstead and advertise my upcoming extension" then I would have done exactly what they have done. (But I do have an interest beyond that...)

    I think the central issue is:
    Were there to be a firm offer of a secure home for the VEP, right now, what would the Bluebells reaction be? I am aware that their board doesn't have an interest in such discussions as this (with the amount of wibble coming from certain individuals, why would they?) but the reaction of their members and supporters is a useful barometer. The mentions of "red carded stock" and so on all mean there are options to suggest to the Bluebell which don't involve parting with bundles of money.

    Right - enough of this. I'm going to go and get some breakfast.
    This was supposed to take me 5 minutes to write and I've been here for an hour....
     
  11. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    And what has happened to the staff pet 306? It's, erm, mouldering in a siding. In a siding where no-one can see it. Which, since it was beautifully restored and in working order (apart from needing a new traction cable fitted) is a crying shame.

    This unit, on the other hand, is going to serve as an advert for the Bluebell, so I doubt they are going to let it moulder. Surely the thing to do is to start negotiating what to do with it when that use comes to an end.
     
  12. John Elliot Jnr

    John Elliot Jnr Well-Known Member

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    I'm clearly missing something here. How is an EMU of a type that until relatively recently was in Southern service at East Grinstead an advert for a vintage steam railway? What message is the Bluebell trying to communicate to the local community?

    I'm not suggesting that other rolling stock would have been more suitable, I'm wondering why a train at all. If the Bluebell needs to provide a 'statement of intent' at East Grinstead, why not do so by means of a temporary building with a small exhibition inside it?
     
  13. Keelar001

    Keelar001 Member

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    I would suggest, for the uninitiated, it would imply "here comes the Bluebell with its old trains."

    Simple - that would cost more that £1....
     
  14. John Elliot Jnr

    John Elliot Jnr Well-Known Member

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    Simple - that would cost more that £1....[/quote:19lh98ju]

    I sincerely hope the Bluebell management is a bit more sophisticated than that. This isn't all being driven by some "get a train in East Grinstead by a certain date" clause in the T&WA Order or planning consent, is it?
     
  15. Woof

    Woof Member

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    I know this might seem a silly question but does the Bluebell ACTUALLY own 3417?

    Or is it a case of when EG is ready then we will buy it?
     
  16. Fenchurch

    Fenchurch New Member

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    I offer the following comments, based upon the information already published in to the public domain concerning the Bluebell's purchase of 3417...

    For legal reasons relating to the terms and conditions under which train operating companies (TOCs) were formed, South West Trains (SWT) can only own limited rolling stock such as depot shunters, etc. It was a special deal set-up post-privatisation that provided SWT with ownership of 4-VEP 3417.

    SWT did approach several heritage railways and organisations seeking to place 3417 into preservation. For various reasons each railway and preservation group approached by SWT declined to offer the unit a home. An approach was eventually made to the Bluebell, who after disagreement amongst the various Bluebell Trustees as to whether or not the offer should be accepted, finally agreed to purchase the unit for £1 as offered by SWT. There are no contracts or conditions imposed to the purchase, which means that the Bluebell is free to decide its future at any time, whether that be storage, or passed on to another preservation group, or even used!

    While at East Grinstead, 3417 will be used as an information centre, volunteer recruitment, and reception/hospitality suite for the Bluebell's northern extension project.

    The Bluebell has never attempted to conceal the financial advantage in our accepting 3417 delivered by rail on to our site at East Grinstead. The 'through working' track interface (including all the infrastructure of secure fencing, track, gates, and all fencing), will be carried out by Network Rail under their legal obligation to SWT at very little cost (if any) to the Bluebell.

    Regarding the future, several members of the Bluebell have already expressed an interest in looking after the unit when it arrives at East Grinstead (after all we are preservationists). Currently no consideration or decision has been given to what will happen to 3417 once construction of our northern extension is completed. Due to space restraints at East Grinstead, it will however be impossible for 3417 to remain at that site once Bluebell train operation commences, hopefully in 2010.

    Finally, on the matter of why no other heritage railway was interested in 3417, it should not be ignored that 3417 being a VEP, has too many doors to allow for economical ongoing maintenance. Maintenance of external train doors on slam door stock stored out of doors exposed to all weathers can be both time consuming and costly. Had the unit been a CIG (with far less doors), it may have been a different matter.
     
  17. John Elliot Jnr

    John Elliot Jnr Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks for the information.
     
  18. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    I agree entirely with what Keelar said in his (long) post, and thankyou Fenchurch for setting out the Bluebell's plans as they follow what ive been led to believe and to me, sound entirely reasonable. While other avenues can be explored, im not confident about exchanging one siding where she'd be looked after though not moved to one where she could be moved but would likely have just the same problems. Of course if she could be offered a home undercover with a shore supply then that would be great, but i cant see how thats achievable. (btw i was under the impression the 306 is stored undercover at Kineton(?), not outside)

    Anyway, the plan for the unit makes me think the Bluebell, unless offered an equivalent, would not let go of her im afraid.

    Chris
     
  19. beetlejuice

    beetlejuice Well-Known Member

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    A quick few ideas of why other railways couldn't take it on:
    No Siding Space
    Already have a fleet of carridges in sidings(lets face it, theres no third rail or otherwise atm)
    Nothing to really haul it authentically with(A small industrial or even a merchant navy would look a bit silly with it)
    Wouldn't be used


    Come a few years this sitation may have changed. I'd still like to see a 73 hauling it or pushing, even if I am a diehard steam enthusiat.
     
  20. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    Well said that man
    Just look at this coach why is it still in service for it doesn’t give a very good impression to the public.
     

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