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Sunset Steam Express. Selected Tuesdays, July/August 2022 (Windsor trips cancelled)

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

  1. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    This is a good point. The most obvious change in circumstances is the increased need for "insurance" against the steam loco failing or having insufficient power/traction for a heavy train. But that's not the whole story, because some trips still run without a diesel. What else has changed, just in the last few years, to cause a much higher proportion of trains to have diesel assistance?
     
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  2. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Alan- there you go banging this drum again. What an absolute load of bull! I can assure you that operators have far more challanges on their plate to worry about than to make a point of deliberately slipping anything under the wire to deceive or annoy anyone. None of this is done as a con, as you imply. There is a degree of evolutionary process here, largely dictated by the 21st century that we now live in. Many of us we are just thankful that "nearly all operators" are still prepared to face the challanges needed to keep steam running on the network at all. There has to be some compromise in this process as you well know. Believe me it would be so easy for them to just walk away and leave us with nothing. Your constant sniping at this causes quite unnecessary irritation to those trying to keep steam on the road. Please give it a rest.

    Peter
     
  3. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    Last time I was in touch with UKRT, I was informed that there are two unassisted trips later this year for 35028 in the pipeline. Given that the UKRT website currently shows no tours after August, hopefully these tours will actually happen and details will appear soon.

    Also, the RTC Dorset Coast Express trips are meant to be unassisted - or rather, the "assistance" consists of 31806 from Weymouth to Southampton, which shouldn't elicit any complaints! Unfortunately, running the train as advertised is conditional on the weather not being too hot and the New Forest not being bone dry. It would be good if RTC could run a couple of these trains in, say April or May when this is less likely to be a problem, but it boils down to among other things, loco and support crew availability.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
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  4. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    A diesel on the back doesn’t necessarily mean assistance, when it’s necessary on the Belmond it’s just another 80 tons for Clan Line to haul.
     
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  5. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I don’t think it’s about insurance in most cases. The railway has changed, with most trains now consisting of sets of self shunting coaches a lot of station and yard layouts have been simplified, Bristol Temple Meads is a good example. On top of that the signalling centre can be miles away operated by people who often don’t know what they are dealing with. Much simpler to top and tail the train for shunting purposes
     
  6. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That's all true, but most of it was already true several years ago, when far fewer trains had a diesel at the back. So something else must have changed.
     
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  7. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I suppose what is being challenged is whether any tour promoter can actually say that with complete confidence any more. Similarly, I keep looking at the rather attractive Pathfinder tour on Sept 3 where the words in the blurb are ' We soon reach Carnforth to exchange our prosaic diesel for the 'poetry in motion' of steam, expected in the shape of Bulleid Pacific 34067 Tangmere.' What do those words mean? Do I risk my £129 or not? My guess is that the final decision by the TOC, possibly with NR input, will not happen until a few days before the trip.

    No complaints, that's how it works, exactly how @RalphW put it thirty posts back.
     
  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    And the issue there is the old one about what is fair advertising. "Expected in the shape of..." implies near certainty; "We are planning to use xyz subject to the availability of this historic machine" conveys the same intent but also the inherent uncertainty.

    The question though is whether those who'd book for a specific locomotive are aware of that uncertainty - and increasingly I'd suggest they will be; it will be the non-enthusiast who stands to be caught by surprise but who is likely, by and large, not to be so bothered.
     
  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    But might be more a problem is filling the train. As has been said many times before most of the passengers will not be out and out enthusiasts. Yes you can have some cracking days weather wise in April or May, but also some very cold, wet and miserable days. How many tours steam or diesel go to any seaside town with a stopover of more than about 1 hour that are not in the summer months? Also many seaside venues are not fully open in those months, restaurants shut in the day or closing early as an example. People need something to do when they get there, at least if you are hoping they may come back again on a tour in the future.
     
  10. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the thing is that these Windsor trains are really not for enthusiasts are they and thus the target audience will be less upset by the change in accommodation, albeit even they may wonder what all the fuss is about if they have no indication about what is hauling them bar the occasional drift of steam/smoke past the window.

    Would be interesting to compare how things would have been if it were WCR who suddenly replaced maroon Mk1's with raspberry ripple mk3's on trains, I imagine the response from certain posters would have been somewhat less forgiving and sanguine?
     
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  11. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Actually my issue is with the meaning of 'exchange' rather than 'expected', but both are risks to be assessed I agree.
     
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  12. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Part of the furniture Friend

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    DB operation. Different ball game.
     
  13. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry but you have completely misunderstood my post and it's definitely not drum banging. I know enough about what goes on to know that TOCs don't randomly decide what to do. There is always a sound reason for doing what they do.

    'Under the wire' means "We know what we are going to do and it's in the bid to Network Rail. We may or may not have told the tour promoter and they may or may not have chosen to say something about it in the publicity."

    I understand completely that it's for the tour promoter to decide what they may choose to say to the public, provided that they are in a position to do so. As you say the TOC has far more important things to deal with.

    None of this is rocket science but this defensiveness about what is really going on is just as irritating to me as your good self suggesting that I have an agenda other than one of customer clarity.

    By the way, the comments of Bob Meanley to me a good many years ago still ring in my ears when we had a grown up conversation on the same topic on a day when a Class 47 was added to a train and idled all the way to London. "We couldn't get away without it because of what was needed in London. As for the future, enjoy what you have currently because I can't see it staying this way for much longer." How true.
     
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  14. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't go there. You will upset too many people! ;)
     
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  15. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    Yes much the same with me. Looking back to my notebooks there was a huge amount of pure steam including round Kent. Where is it now? Getting quite difficult to find things for my column now
     
  16. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    Its a standard CME path so it should be DL free
     
  17. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    So why have SD made a point of saying that passengers may be booked in a different type of carriage? Because their passengers are expecting something a tad more steam age?
     
  18. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    A post on wnxx says that an email has been issued pulling the rest of the sunset tours, although they still appear to be bookable if you drill down into the website. Alleged due to complaints about the Mk3's, not sure if this is the situation or not.
     
  19. Paul.Uni

    Paul.Uni Well-Known Member

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    Both the Windsors and the Sunset tours are showing as sold out when you go through the booking system.

    Sent from my SM-A125F using Tapatalk
     
  20. Kylchap

    Kylchap Member

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    We each have our own perspective on the subject of steam-only main line trains, and different levels of acceptance. Reading through the variety of posts on this topic, would it be fair to conclude that the party is just about over in terms of pure main line steam? Or is a more optimistic view still tenable?
     

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