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Saphos Trains 2021

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by JBTEvans, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    Noticed some tours for Saphos early next year have appeared, including a trip to Cardiff when it's meant to be Wales v England in the Six Nations! :Wideyed:

    Premier Dining has increased to £320. Not sure if that's just while covid is about or what? Also if you book 2 seats there's a £35 each supplement!

    https://saphostrains.com/trips-tours/
     
  2. bleeder4

    bleeder4 Member

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    They're also running their first ever trip from my local station Worcester Shrub Hill, but still no online bookings for single travellers.

    I've sent them a grovelling email asking if they can pretty please allow a single booking.
     
  3. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    Probably if you pay a £390 supplement they will be happy to.
     
  4. Will RL

    Will RL Member

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  5. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Has standard class really sold out instantly? Or does it not really exist and if so, is advertising it OK?
     
  6. pete12000

    pete12000 New Member

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    This years trains are first class and dining only, social distancing. If you look to travel next year it's a minimum of 2 passengers + surcharge for table for two, £200 each minimum.
     
  7. Mike Wylie

    Mike Wylie New Member

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    See the 'Saphos' site with all 2021 trains now listed. Aberdeen far enough North for you?
     
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  8. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    Yes! Hope it will be N0 7 in BR Blue running up to its old depot at Ferryhill. I have to say after N0 9's run last year I did wonder when the next time an A4 would reach Aberdeen would be and lets hope all is well both with Covid-19 and with N0 7 to enable this to happen.
     
  9. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    I think it's those of us in the south who are likely to feel more disappointed. Two tours visiting the south (Salisbury and Portsmouth Harbour) but only one actually originating anywhere in this part of the world (the Golden Arrow). Obviously, Saphos is still in its early days and I do admire the company's willingness to mix tried and tested favourite routes (Settle- Carlisle, Dawlish Sea Wall/South Devon banks, Welsh Marches) with some imaginative itineraries which other operators haven't tried before. I guess that as the company's fleet of locos and coaches expands - and, of course, we see the back of the Coronaviruus and consumer confidence returns - the number of trains operated will increase.

    With the main loco works at Crewc, it also makes sense to focus on trips which start from there, at least in this start-up period, but it's hard to think why LSL continues to rent part of the old Southall shed if it does not intend to make more use of it in the longer term.

    So although the 2021 offerings are somewhat disappointing for those of us living down here in third-rail territory, I'm hopeful that things could be a bit different in a year or two.

    Going back to the 2021 tours, I was a bit surprised to see that the Golden Arrow starts from Paddington and not Victoria. Imagine calling a train the Cornish Riviera Express and starting it a Waterloo or starting the Flying Scotsman from Euston! Still, regardless of where it starts from, the main concern when running next year's trip to Canterbury must be that this time it actually reaches its destination without incident.
     
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  10. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a different take on Saphos. The tentacles of this set up are starting to spread widely and I personally will be more than happy to see them remain near their base at Crewe and not in the south. We do not yet see regular trips with Saphos that don't include a diesel and the trouble with a company that has money to spare is that they can also squeeze out other operators.

    Time will tell about their motives.
     
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  11. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I've lost track of the timescale for SNG's return but I don't think it can be as soon as next summer.
     
  12. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    You have made some interesting points here, Al. Yes, time will tell. Saphos is very much an evolving set-up and it's too early to predict what the company will be like in, say five years time. Will the diesels at the rear disappear? Will it run more trains in the south?

    If the answer to both questions is yes, then I for one will be delighted. A recent article in Steam Beano claimed that the operation of fewer (albeit longer) trains by the main TOCs is likely to be a long-term feature post-coronavirus, which will free up paths for steam on previously crowded lines. Looking at what has so far been offered with steam down here in the south in 2021 by the main operators, I see nothing on which I want to travel, unless you count 35028 on the Surrey Hills circuit (But there's another issue here - money!) Maybe UKRT will announce a couple of non-Pullman tours with Clan Line, but I see little from RTC, Steam Dreams and now Saphos - at least south of London - that isn't both a marathon day out and also featuring the dreaded tail-gunner.

    PS - just noted that the more detailed page for the Golden Arrow trip does say Victoria departure. Only the summary page says Paddington.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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  13. Romsey

    Romsey Member

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    I agree with Big Al and John Petley. So far they appear to be the benevolent big company, providing plenty of tours.

    But there is a degree of disquiet in some "virtual" mess rooms involved with main line operations. Saphos effectively killed Torbay Express from Bristol. Who is to say they won't pick off other rail tour businesses and loco owners when it suits them?.

    Cheers, Neil
     
  14. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    That would be a great shame. I wonder what engine would be sent up instead. Royal Scot? Britannia? If N0 7 is ready (which is a big if) then it would make most sense especially considering that it comes up the ECML from York which is LNER A4 territory.
     
  15. dublo6231

    dublo6231 Member

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    It seems an ambitious schedule - especially if SNG is not ready in time and one of the current operational steam fleet suffers a major failure rendering it unavailable for a (lengthy period).
    I know that rumour is suggesting a tie in with the PRCLT to operate 6233 - which although would be welcome should not become exclusive use only.
    I wrote last year that the marketplace seemed a little "saturated" with tours (though covid took care of that issue) - maybe the same looking forward into 2021 - but I think we need to accept that the vast majority of these tours are filled with a mix of day trippers and rail enthusiasts - so booking numbers for all tour operators will be of interest.
    I wonder if "Standard" will become available IF "normal" pre-covid conditions returns in the spring as has been mooted by some "experts".
    Lots to ponder.

    I like the look and the idea of "The Elizabethan" especially given the mileage involved, what seems a fairly sensible price and the possibility of tying in with a trip to Aberdeen - one for the future though and then hope for a Deltic/A4/A2 combination...I can but dream
     
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  16. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    I would like to think this does actually happen in 2021 and becomes more regular beyond that especially when 60532 Blue Peter returns given the history it has with Aberdeen. I have to admit my surprise at the first Saphos tour to Scotland going up the ECML and not the WCML purely because of the fact that the WCML (south of Carlisle at least) is a regular hunting ground for Saphos.
     
  17. dublo6231

    dublo6231 Member

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    Whilst that is true Sam - given that LSL have two Deltics (hmm would a plural become "Delti"?), what seems a penchant for operating the right loco in the right environs (where possible) and an expanding operating model - may be not...
     
  18. dublo6231

    dublo6231 Member

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    What follows I'm sure plenty on here have already thought about - but feels to me like I've had a lightbulb moment!

    In fact - the more I think about that statement (penchant for operating the right loco in the right environs) the more I understand and see total sense with the current total steam fleet!
    GWR represented by 5029, 6024 and 6960, LMS with 46100 and 45231, LNER with 60019 and 60532, SR with 34042 and 35022/7, BR with 70000.
    Out of those the Brits were found on every region (as were Black 5's to a lesser extent) and represent classic classes that would be found across the entire country. It is quite similar with his diesel/electric fleet (and why the hell not!).

    Whilst its not "playing with trains" as this is very much being run as a "business" it is very much (in my eyes anyway) living the dream, something that I'm sure a lot of us would dearly love to be able to do and many of us probably do to a lesser extent but just in miniature with model railways!
     
  19. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    Does anyone know whether its worth taking a chance and booking next summers Aberdonian? The reason I ask is I fear it won't happen but not because of Covid-19.
     
  20. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, if you book and it doesn't run then you will get a refund, so that should be ok.
     

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