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Santa Special's Time tables?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by penny steam, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. jsm8b

    jsm8b Well-Known Member

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    Assuming you're looking at the roads, If I were being cynical I'd probably suggest the risk assessment concluded it was too dangerous for them to go out in snow :p. (I'll point out that is a joke)

    I drove to Bewdley and back yesterday and saw no gritter out in either direction and yet the A442 looked like it hadn't been treated for hours and the Bewdley bypass was like glass at the traffic lights near Sandy Lane. Despite the forecast for Friday and today the treatment seems to have been cursory, though maybe local authorities have concentrated on their priorities and the roads I used weren't among them.

    As for today, here in Shropshire I have somewhat over a foot of snow on my garden and drive with today's lying on top of what fell on Friday, and it it is still snowing in Telford. I don't think anyone will have taken the decision to cancel today's trains lightly but given the state of roads on Saturday morning and the continual snow throughout today I doubt it can be argued to be the wrong one for the safety of all concerned.
     
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  2. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Indeed. The loss of Santa income will hit many lines very hard, but safety has to be considered. I recall a couple of snowfalls ago, the Bluebell announcing curtailment of services. Although the line could have been made fit, not so the access roads. You know it's bad when even rugby matches get postponed as far south as North London (and one in SW London which did go ahead was all but invisible through the falling snow).

    Still, if the worst comes to the worst, I'll just have to add an extra 10 gallons (or so) to my brewing schedule and hope the snow doesn't last more than a couple of weeks!
     
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  3. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    A bit more than snowploughs are needed to keep a heritage railway running in heavy snow. It needs a lot of extra manpower. platforms to keep clear, points to keep clear, rodding to keep clear. If it's freezing, the water supply can be a problem, as can the steam locos. Heritage railways aren't a 24 hour operation with lots of people on call.
     
  4. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Well it's just not good enough! :Rage:

    It does indicate just how labour intensive the railways of yore actually were. Stations such as the exposed Rannoch on the West Highland line must have been 'interesting' to work at in the depths of winter. With the non-conformist attitude to Sunday services in the highlands, getting the first trains moving on Mondays during a freeze would have been challenging, to put it mildly.

    Speaking of water supplies, Ireland in steam days had a habit of insulating the uprights of water columns with straw. This can be a reasonable guide to the time of year an obscure station shot would've been taken. As eccentric as it sounds, the practice must've worked, as it hung on until the end of steam. So now, if you see a shot looking like Worzel Gummidge standing in front of a water column in the buff, you know what you're really looking at.
     
  5. p/wayman

    p/wayman New Member

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    A big thank you to all the volunteers and staff for keeping the trains running on the CVR whilst others cancelled, children and parents enjoyed themselves and the scenery in the snow was brilliant
     
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  6. D1039

    D1039 Member

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    In the SVR's case a power outage at 6am in Arley and Highley also took out the power to Santa's Grotto. I also saw an image of a tree obstructing the track.

    Patrick
     
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  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The Bluebell Santas happened to run this weekend; however, I remember a few years back several days were cancelled. As I recall, a significant part of that was considering the safety of visitors travelling by road to the railway, especially as at that time, some services started at Horsted Keynes, only reachable by minor roads; and the Highways Agency was, as I recall, advising people not to travel by road unless necessary. So sometimes it is for reasons other than the ability of the trains themselves to run.

    It must be a difficult decision for managers to make, weighing up the possible financial consequences against the safety of both the travelling public and volunteers - not a call I'd like to be mulling over at 4pm on a Friday afternoon with heavy overnight snow forecast and trying to decide whether to run the next day or start phoning round all your customers.

    Tom
     
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  8. Clive Hanley

    Clive Hanley New Member

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    I paid another visit to the Severn Valley Railway yesterday to photograph the Santa Specials.

    Another excellent day with long periods of blue sky and sunshine.
    They appeared to cope well with the failure of the staff train DMU at Kidderminster that was supposed to depart at 8.50. It was dragged back to Bewdley by 1501 an hour later while Santas helpers travelled on the Santa trains.

    http://evergreen.zenfolio.com/p980839050#h9fb8f97b
     
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