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Royal Windsor Steam & Sunset Express. Tuesdays, May - August 2022

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Paul.Uni, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. Ian Monkton

    Ian Monkton Member

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    I was on today's afternoon Windsor Express and I was underwhelmed with the experience. We crawled and lost time all the way to Willesden, which I think was down to signalling not loco, and didn't get to a decent line speed until Brentford. Arrival in Windsor was 29 late, when we first heard anything from onboard staff - someone came round to tell us to move forward if leaving the train or stay on board if returning. Departure was again 29 late, but 47772 stormed along keeping time until in the Barnes area when we started making up time and arrived at Victoria 14 down.

    I was very disappointed that the staff made virtually no contact with the passengers, no ticket checks either way, made no announcements welcoming us or updating us until we reached Windsor, except for the lady selling refreshments. My end of the train was less than 50% full. I was considering booking again when Bahamas is on, but I'm having second thoughts now. Perhaps I'll just go for free on the day!
     
  2. LittleRedTrain

    LittleRedTrain New Member

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    Got back to Victoria only 12 late, giving an idea of just how slack the schedule is!
     
  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Not certain where this discussion is really going.

    The Belmond times are well established, regular and pretty precise. They are based on original timings worked out by, I believe, the loco owners that Network Rail checked and adopted. So a fair amount of knowledge feeds them.

    I can't imagine that the West Coast times have that level of detail. Often they start with a fair amount of slack in them anyway. NR will still check them, I'm sure, but if they don't impact on other services then I feel sure that NR doesn't care how much time the train hangs around.

    So this discussion about whether or not Mayflower made up time because it was worked hard, or not, is pretty pointless in my view.
     
  4. 6026 King John

    6026 King John Well-Known Member

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    Either that or Lewis Hamilton was driving it!
     
  5. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I think it's reasonable to discuss whether this schedule is reasonable or excessively slow. Steam tour schedules are mostly slower than when steam was the usual traction, because of water stops and pathing to fit in with other traffic, so it seems a pity to set a schedule that is even slower than necessary.
     
  6. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    But in order to discuss that you need to know the pathing opportunities at key points like CJ, Woking, Redhill and E Croydon/Norwood J. The planners are probably working back from that and padding the intermediate schedule to fit.
     
  7. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    It all depends whether any bid sent to Network Rail is just a general indication of suggested times or a detailed timed path request. I wouldn't imagine that with the number of charters West Coast has to support that it has the time to do much more than suggest outline times and leave Network Rail to patch in what suits them. With a regular route like the Belmond Surrey Hills I imagine that this was set up carefully in the first place and is now pretty much part of the regular timetable as a WTT path.

    As for whether a path is excessively slow, I wouldn't imagine that NR views any steam path as excessively slow. The slower the better in many respects. Stick a steamer behind a stopper and let it trundle along in the wake of an all stations. Often true around Hounslow.
     
  8. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Since you are not au fait with the system that WCR use for planning their routes and submitting these plans how can you say " I wouldn't imagine that with the number of charters West Coast has to support that it has the time to do much more than suggest outline times" or "I can't imagine that the West Coast times have that level of detail"? It's complete baseless speculation.
     
  9. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Let's just leave your speculation that what I say isn't true as just that...speculation on your part, shall we?

    My main point was actually to say that except on a route that a planner might know inside out such as the tried and tested Shap and Ais Gill circuit that works really well and has done for years, any planner is unlikely to sit down and look for clever gaps in paths to slot in a charter amongst suburban traffic to a quicker or slower path on less regular routes. Hence, as I said, this chunter about times over the Surrey Hills and, inter alia, how a loco was worked is just that, chunter.

    At times it amazes me when one of your comments looks for my criticism of a TOC when actually that was furthest from my thoughts, in this instance.
     
  10. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    But this is the second season of regular running of these trains so surely WC and the planners have got a feel of what's possible and what isn't?
     
  11. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Well-Known Member

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    For clarity - your word "chunter" - is that to be taken to mean pointless/worthless, or even negative? If so, are you saying that speculation about the details of schedules, etc., is to be dismissed as unworthy of us? I believe that such discussions are harmless and actually quite interesting, and not intended to be negative per se. It would be a poorer forum if idle speculation and discussion of various aspects of operations are frowned upon, I think.
     
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  12. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Yes, otherwise there would be no trains. But let's wind the clock back a couple of years, maybe more.

    Someone at Steam Dreams has an idea that a half day trip to Windsor and an evening Surrey Hills trip might be a marketable proposition. They put it to WCR that here's a way of getting some use out of the rolling stock. There is a deal to be done with the B1. So there is a proposition. Can it be made to work?

    My guess is that the TOC will be going to NR with a plan which looks as if it works. That includes getting the stock into and out of Victoria. There will then be a to and fro process at the detailed level. There will be a risk assessment on the NR side, some what ifs. There will be some timetable padding to make it all fit at the key junctions. And finally there is a result across one of the busiest railways in the world with how many flat junctions to cross. No doubt there is review and lessons learned.

    It doesn't really matter exactly who does what at the planning stage. What matters is to create something which is feasible in operational and marketing terms.
     
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  13. Paul.Uni

    Paul.Uni Well-Known Member

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    A Black 5 has been used in the past and presumably can be used in the future. Correct me if I'm wrong aren't Black 5 locos limited to 60mph whereas the B1 is limited to 75mph.

    Sent from my SM-A125F using Tapatalk
     
  14. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Well-Known Member

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    Correct.
     
  15. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    On that sort of route threading the way through many junctions and intensive electric suburban services there will be little chance of working up to 75 mph.
     
  16. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Well-Known Member

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    Just noticed from one of my shots that Mayflower blew a nice smoke ring! 115A0030 (1)a.jpeg
     
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  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Just so. In reality and assuming of course that there is space, the easiest place to path a steam charter around the suburbs is behind a stopper and you trundle along in its wake. We will all have travelled out of Victoria via Staines to Woking enough times to know that eighty minutes is definitely not the shortest time you can do it in but it's the most convenient for planning purposes.
     
  18. 7P6F

    7P6F Part of the furniture

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    Thoroughly enjoyed the run on the SSE and the noise from the B1 from coach A was cacophonous! Particularly climbing out of Shalford. Excellent eats and plenty of booze with missus, daughter and prospective son in law who was most impressed and will be recommending the SSE to his colleagues and contacts.
     
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  19. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    This is not speculation it's a straightforward question are you saying that you are au fait with the WCR planning system, yes or no?
     
  20. TheModster

    TheModster Member

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    Another screengrab so excuse the quality. Looking stunning in the Surrey hills climbing through Shere this evening:

    [​IMG]
     
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