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Railway Touring Company

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by neildimmer, Dec 29, 2010.

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  1. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    There is a discussion on suggesting a new committee etc is required for railtour operations, which would therefore expand beyond RTC

    I have therefore copied some selected posts into a new thread

    Do railtour operations need a unified voice ?

    The original posts have been left here, but please keep this thread to RTC specifically, and continue the debate on the unified voice on the new thread.
     
  2. railrover

    railrover Member

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    Apologies if more hot air adds to global warming but at least some concrete solutions are self evident from the postings made. Don't advertise what you can't deliver. Don't expect customers to accept what you provide without question. Don't expect repeat business from the disatisfied. Do update your website. Do keep customers informed. Do provide stock to an acceptable standard.

    If I sound like someone claiming to know how to do things better then maybe it is because when I was involved in running tours (admittedly some years ago) care was taken to provide what was advertised and only to advertise what was capable of being provided. Yes, day to day failures & problems affected us then as they do now and any reasonable person can accept these, but many of RTC's problems are both predictable and self inflicted.

    I am not sure why you doubt a disgruntled punter could take a tour operator to court when it has already happened with at least two railtour providers, judgment being in favour of the punters. The PPI mis-selling scandal has shown that courts can & do regard unfair contracts as unenforcable. At the risk of offending those criticising free legal advice the typical railtour clause saying we don't promise to provide what is advertised, or to get to our advertised destination, or to go via the advertised route seems unfair.


    You claim there is an anti RTC faction on the forum and you may be correct, but I am sure the vast majority would rather see all tour companies, including RTC, flourish & thrive in continuing to provide us consumers with a quality product. I for one have spent thousands with RTC over the years, and on the whole consider it money well spent. I have never resorted to law in any railway connection and have no intention of doing so but, in an increasingly litigious world, others may not be so forgiving.

    As to your recomendation to one poster I am not sure it is possible to formulate an opinion other than one's own, but certainly my only "agenda" is continuing to enjoy as many tours as availability, time & funding may allow. Whilst a very small number of individuals may have an axe to grind I for one hope to continue travelling with RTC as our hobby would be much poorer without them.

    I wouldn't go so far as to call it a faction but it is clear that some posters routinely excuse & defend tour operators failings. This is an entirely reasonable position being no more, or less, valid than the opposing viewpoint. However to dismiss or gloss-over reasoned and reasonable criticism seems unwise. Most of us have been around long enough to witness the demise of Past-Time, Rail-Blue, HF Railtours and many, many others. Perhaps RTC's friends on the forum can persuade it to become more receptive and responsive which can only be to the benefit of all concerned.
     
  3. osprey

    osprey Well-Known Member

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    You obviously never travelled by train in the late fifties....the coaching stock was filthy inside and out in a lot of cases.....
     
  4. brasso1

    brasso1 New Member

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    Just prompted by a comment in response to my previous post, lack of lights and PA really irritates me. Its a safety issue.

    And Osprey, while your post is frivilous, this is not the fifties, I doubt the passengers liked the grime then, and the customers now demand and deserve better for their high priced fares...
     
  5. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    And there was me thinking we took pride in having moved on from those days ? I take it you are trying to justify the state of rolling stock in use on charters today as your post is not particularly illuminating !
     
  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    But this is 2012 and the public now expects and generally gets better on the national system. Heritage stock doesn't have to be synonymous with heritage condition!

    Back on topic...I have to admit to not having thought about the possibility of a 'pecking order' with RTC rolling stock because of West Coast's own priorities - Jacobite etc. Down south I am unimpressed by the West Coast fleet although the Waverley mix yesterday was fine. (That said, my guess is that this is the set also used on the SSE that is WCR's own enterprise!). So maybe RTC is down the food chain, has allowed itself to become so, or has simply stretched the finite resource too far.

    RTC may not be at fault here. It could be the stock providers who have said "we can supply" when they knew that something second rate might appear at times. It could be the individual loco owners/groups who have said "yes you can use/publicise our locomotive " when they did not know if they could deliver...or guarantee good loco reliability. It could be NR who said "yes this route is fine, in principle" but didn't know the more detailed questions to ask about exactly what timings they were hoping for, dates they wanted to use and locos they intended to draw upon for which there were issues.

    I'm an outsider so I don't know. But like everyone else I can see the way things are going and it's not healthy. The set up I'm closest to generally doesn't play in this arena and how wise they are not to, IMHO. The other thread on umbrella organisations has merit....but only if NR sees a benefit for them otherwise they will continue to behave as they do which is to focus on their core business and accommodate steam as much as they feel they can.
     
  7. osprey

    osprey Well-Known Member

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    It was not meant to be frivolous.............yes there are some questions of standards today which should be addressed in the 21st century......I'm just glad we still have steam on the main line after all these years and I, for one, am prepared to put up with a bit of an occasional upset in this case............
     
  8. brasso1

    brasso1 New Member

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    I dont feel it needs justification from a manager. It is only sensible to reserve the best stock for your own trains, and if you have travelled on the Jacobite, you will know that they do. To be fair I think the bar raiser will be the operation of the dedicated Steam Dreams set and the good publicity that I am sure it will generate.
     
  9. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Agreed these are fine goals, but repeated calls on here aren't going to make them concrete. Much better to petition the operators surely?

    If that has happened then I happily stand corrected, though I'd be interested in what the basis for their claims were. I doubt anyone has claimed for lack of heat/light or PA yet.
     
  10. railrover

    railrover Member

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    Yes, stock provision relies on companies like West Coast, but surely RTC is their biggest customer, and should use that position of strength to obtain acceptable vehicles. During a three week period last winter I travelled on three RTC trains, the same unkempt, unlit, unheated coach appearing in the consist of all three.

    I am aware of at least one instance where RTC have not even spoken to the owners of a locomotive about use before advertising its appearance on a tour. Given some of the other locos advertised over the last year I suspect this is not an isolated case.

    I can sympathise with the Network Rail problem and the sometimes baffling last minute changes and restrictions they impose on previously agreed routings, but it does not inspire confidence when RTC are today advertising route that was deleted from one of their own tours as "unavailable" less than one year ago.

    I am genuinely sorry to appear so negative but passing the buck does not excuse sloppy advance planning.
     
  11. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

  12. Northern Union

    Northern Union New Member Account Suspended

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    A nostaglic feature lovingly maintained to this day with Pacers and Sprinters!
     
  13. Northern Union

    Northern Union New Member Account Suspended

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    I don't beleive anyone would wish for any tour operator, RTC or otherwise to go out of business - well now Kingfisher is long forgotten. Many still bemoan the demise of Past Times though TBEL rose from those ashes.

    I think the essence is that customers want to buy a product and know that product will be delivered.

    I feel the tension on this and other threads is between the customer faction and the provider faction.
     
  14. Guest

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    In 1967 I drove a Standard Ensign and a Ford Consul borrowed from my father and grandfather. character building I think you would call them!

    So is there anything in common between today's air conditioned, auto transmissioned, technically advanced, sat naved, entertainment equipped typical family car, and those days? and I have to admit - none of mine come under that head anyway!

    So why should TOCs and Tour Companies expect us to put discretion to one side when we board their trains? We expect 21st Century customer commitment and it should be provided. Heating and lighting that work - properly, neither a travelling sauna nor an ice box. Water systems that work, lighting that works, seats that don't throw up clouds of dust, and springs that don't affect sensitive parts of the anatomy. Old is acceptable. Decrepit isn't

    Just noticed the post above about one man and RTC - I am taking this opportunity to publicly disassociate myself from it. I believe, from experience, that RTC needs to uprate its performance - that is a different thing entirely from wanting it out of business. As for legal action - the mere threat can get results, and I know full well from my PMs that it has.
     
  15. railrover

    railrover Member

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  16. Foxhunter

    Foxhunter Member

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    Oh! ....and lavatories that are clean and work.... please! If there is one thing over all others it a filthy lavatory awash with.... stuff... that puts the general public off, particularly mums with small children.

    Foxy
     
  17. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    After noticing that RTC are running a railtour to the Wensleydale Railway on 13 October, I sent the details to my Brother who has shares in the WR. Even though he lives in the South East and me in the South West it still sounded like a trip worth going on. However, he was on board the Kentish Belle Armistice Day special of 11 November 2011 along with the rest of my family, and that has clearly coloured his perception of steam tours. I think his reaction, (copied below), to my suggestion gives a good insight into how a lot of non-steam regulars will view the prospect of a future steam tour having been on one that didn't work out for all the reasons being discussed, even if the future tour is one travelling a route of particular interest to them.

    "I don't think you can fly anymore so you are looking at an overnight, maybe two as its bound to get delayed and I'm not sure you'd want to jump on another 3 hour train journey on Saturday night anyway. I might be more keen on a separate journey to visit the wensleydale another time just using ECML."

    My point is he could have been won over to future steam tours had the events of 11 November 2011 been better managed by RTC, or even if they'd offered a penny of compensation, (we all incurred considerable additional expense getting home), as everyone had enjoyed the journey, and the food provided by "Gravy Train" up until the Martin Mill Bank incident, and the subsequent chain of events that followed.

    I wonder how many other potential future customers have been choked off like this, and that's not just future business for RTC, but also SD, Pathfinder, UKR and VT. Mud sticks unfortunately, and people remember the bad far more clearly than the good. That's the British psyche, but if RTC haven't realised that yet, they need to have a serious word with themselves !
     
  18. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    An excellent analogy Frank, as this is how the majority of potential customers will make comparisons with railtour stock. The more new trains are introduced, the more out of date railtour stock will look / feel. To clarify, there's nothing wrong with a "heritage" experience as a one off but as others have said this cannot be an excuse for dust, dirt, uncomfortable, care worn seats, blocked toilets, leaks and everything else we all know about but seem to keep coming back for more of with almost masochistic enthusiasm, or so it seems sometimes !
     
  19. camraman

    camraman New Member

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    I see in todays tour up-date that The West Highlander annual jaunt with RTC has been put off until next September. Why I wonder? Had thought of it but only out of curiosity with 46115. That is probably engaged elswhere I imagine.
     
  20. eco082007

    eco082007 New Member Account Suspended

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    Couldn't be disappointing bookings could it ? What were the loadings like on last year's train. Does anyone know ?
     
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