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Snowdon Mountain Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by acw71000, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Just had an e-mail from the SMR, they have cancelled all steam trains this year & we are rebooking onto the Diesel

    Well, those diesels have been round for a while...............
     
  2. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  3. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Thanks for the info. We're off to stay with my parents in the summer and were going to go up Snowdon. I think I'll wait till next year, and hope that it's steam and that they actually go all the way to the summit as well.
     
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well, the weather was good yesterday morning and up Snowdon we went!

    When I picked up my tickets it was explained that they did not go to the Summit as that would mean opening the Cafe at the top and they could not guarantee 'Social Distancing' in particular in bad weather as they could find themselves overwhelmed by walkers. Sadly - but it is good to see that they are keen to keep the original rolling stock in good order it had not been possible to fit partitions to the steam stock without damaging it.

    The 'Covid Safe' queueing was well organised, the queue was split up into 'compartments' and we were then boarded one group at a time.

    The view from the new carriages is excellent and we were amused my the SMR PW teams way of marking out a possession as they worked on a sectiom od rack in Llanberis yard - a traffic cone. Clearly the Permanent way had been worked on recently and looked in good order. The 'Griper' rail that sits outside the rack appears absent in many places, I am not sure it it hadnt been replaced yet or of this distinctive SMR feature is no longer considered necessary.

    One point I might make about the new carriages is that as we hit the start of the climb, last born (11) who was facing backwards was launched into Domestic Facilities Managements lap as the seats are a bit slippy. I gather that there is some sort of product aimed at Motor Cyclists that gives the seats a better grip, perhaps it might be worth looking into using it.

    The new 'Clayton' loco's were not in use but one loco was 'In Steam' it seems to keep them operational & crews competence maintained.

    I would certainly recommend the SMR to everyone, irrespective of the motive power, the view and the service is excellent, while it currently stops at Clogwyn it was rather nice to simply wander unimpeded around a patch of mountain. If there is a vacancy for Clogwyn Blockman (Good Days Only) then I will be happy to take the job.
     
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  5. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Perhaps they need to have a look at the competition over the hill. They've managed to fit partions in four pullman observation coaches without damaging them. Those two steam coaches on Snowden aren't exactly sophisticated vehicles.

    Tim
     
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  6. SomeWeeb

    SomeWeeb New Member

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    Maybe to drum up money they do a Culdee Fell Railway event.
     
  7. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Latest update from SMR today on their Facebook page. Due to track work above Clogwyn, there will be no services to the summit next year either. Summit visitors centre shut as well. Should reopen fully in 2023. Steam will run between 3rd June and 12th September 2022 however.
     
  8. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    It seems the Clayton hybrids are a complete dud, The Railway Magazine report a spokesperson saying "following decisions by both parities, it has been confirmed that the locomotives will not be put into service".
     
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  9. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    What a shame! And following on the heels of the IoM's No. 21 debacle...are manufacturers no longer capable of designing functional NG diesels?

    Sent from my SM-A125F using Tapatalk
     
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  10. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Technically the bits on 21 that don't work were built by a company who made hundreds of NG diesels. Guess they didn't know how to build things back then, and still don't now.
     
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  11. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    That's not completely true. Whilst some of the parts which have caused problems e.g. slipped tyres, motor/gearbox issues and bogie frame cracking date back to the GE donor loco (although, supposedly, these parts were reconditioned) others e.g. engine failure caused by overheating, electrical and software problems are down to poor design and even poorer construction. IMHO that is. As it happens we could have had a purpose built loco from a reputable UK manufacturer for less than what No.21 has now cost but the Gov't 'bean counters' went for the "cheaper" option.
    Ray.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Tempted as I am, I'll not ask whether said reputable manufacturer's name begins with an H or a T (can only think or two for anything IMR sized).

    Do I recall The Cabbage's builder went belly-up? If so, who's now picking up the tab for all those 'savings'?
     
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  13. bantamd14

    bantamd14 New Member

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    From what I have been told, the faults don't entirely lie with the manufacturer!
    (Read into that, what you may!)
     
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  14. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    The 'Cabbage' was built by Motive Power & Equipment Solutions of Greenville S.C. which went "belly up" after supplying the Durango & Silverton with a pair of rebuilt ex s.g. GP40's. AIUI only one set of 3'g trucks ever arrived and they were declared defective by the D&SNGRR engineers. The last I heard the locos were still on blocks in Durango yard and unusable. They were described as "$3 million paperweights" on a U.S. n.g. forum. Fortunately the D&S had hedged their bets and acquired 4 surplus locos from the White Pass & Yukon. The "tab" for 21? The Manx tax-payer of course. As the previous poster states MP&E can't be blamed for all the design faults.
    Ray.
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Realising we'd hijacked the SMR thread (apologies!), response moved to IMR thread.
     
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  16. Musket The Dog

    Musket The Dog New Member

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    I thought it was interesting to read that apparently the locomotives were rejected because they weren't generating enough energy on the descent. I wonder if this means that they were needing to be topped up from a charger between trips when back in Llanberis or if that the generator was more often than not working flat out to provide power that wasn't coming from the batteries?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2022
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  17. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Have to confess, these ones had passed me by. The last (motive power) development I recall being the railcars .... which IIRC sounded down to inadequate specification. That, or failure to read said specification!

    In the unique circumstances of the SMR, I do find myself looking to the Alpine rack lines and wondering just how much of a factor motive power actually is, on both the credit and debit side of the equation.
     
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  18. Nigel Day

    Nigel Day Member

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    The state of SMR motive power is poor. Some of the logic escapes me but the days of having seven steam and four diesels available in the 1990’s is long gone with the perceived benefits of so-called advanced technologies being pushed. The money spent on them would have allowed full renewal and successful up grading of the steam and diesel fleet.
    I wonder where the railway will turn now? The well-being of any railway is based on a well maintained motive power fleet.
     
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  19. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    (Right .... where's my tin hat .... ?)

    This all the moreso given it's a completley commercially driven operation, but personally, I'd be tempted to push for sparking it up ..... and trumpet it's green credentials all the way to the bank.

    Heresy? Perhaps, but as well as obvious fuel supply issues, several clips of the line seem to show passengers enjoying an all-enveloping bespoke portable fog for substantial portions of the none too cheap journey.

    (anddd .... leg it to the bunker ..... )
     
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  20. Musket The Dog

    Musket The Dog New Member

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    Was the money spent on the Claytons, not technically spent on upgrading the diesel fleet and would the cost be sufficiently less for 4 brand new conventional locomotives? Unless the long term plan was to run an additional heritage diesel fleet too. Is the state of the fleet poor if it's their intention from a business standpoint to have the bare minimum of steam locos available to offer the additional service.

    As has been stated further back in this thread, this is a pure commercial outfit, not a heritage railway. In that scenario, does it make more sense to invest the cash in completely upgrading the backbone of the fleet, or stretch out the lifespan of the 30+ year old diesels? Hybrid drivetrains aren't really advanced technology so to speak any more and it's something Clayton already have proven pedigree with. Additionally I don't think anyone here would argue that diesel engines or specifically their emissions, haven't moved on since 1986. If the intended life of your working locomotive is 40 years, getting a good head start on designing and preparing a completely novel design isn't a bad idea.

    Finally, one would hope that if the machines don't meet specifications and they've been returned to the manufacturer that the SMR are getting some cash back out of the exchange.
     

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