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SVR General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by threelinkdave, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Heritage Railway reports 5000 visitors for the Autumn Steam gala with the SVR very pleased with revenue. I think we are all guilty of comparing to the spring gala which was exceptionally well attended.
     
  2. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Part of the furniture

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    Huh, not terrible. Though it would have been nice to hear via the railway, not one of magazines.
     
  3. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    One of my bugbears too, though I don’t believe the Railway has a policy to communicate information to members or shareholders first. I’ve not got any PR about it either.

    The newsletters will be out next week (13th) and I guess it will be out then (I’m on holiday at the moment). I think also there will be the diesel bash attendance figures
     
  4. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Part of the furniture

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    The fact it hasn't even been released to staff (paid and volunteer) is annoying.
     
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  5. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    From what I’ve heard comms isn’t a strong point of the current management team.
     
  6. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Part of the furniture

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    Yes and no, there's actually quite a lot particularly on teams but it's not always what it's actually the most wanted.
     
  7. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Heritage Railway is pretty much an SVR fanzine this month!

    I would say 5000 visitors in the current climate is a pretty strong return to be fair.
     
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  8. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    I'm surprised that no-one has picked up on this comment. The point is really that now would be a good time for railways to start thinking about what they can do with the resources that they have available in-house to pep up their gala offerings, in place of expensive hired engines. In the NYMR's case, they have a Pullman diner sitting doing nothing for a lot of the weekend, so why not run it in the mornings to offer a breakfast service on the first train of the day? Why not do more in the way of offering a curry/pie & peas etc to serve the beer festival at Goathland from Pickering - that could even use the DMU at a pinch. In the daytime, more teak coaches are graually becoming available, why not use them for shuttles? Set up goods yard photo tableaux at Levisham? Set up a "loco being serviced (smokebox door open etc.) at Grosmont? For other railways, look at alternative possibilities of their own.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2022
  9. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    You make a good point about catering and I think this point can be extended day to day, not just galas. I have booked on the Strathspey at the end of the month. Whilst I was on the phone the lady asked if I wanted food, as a light lunch service was on offer (soup and sandwiches). The cost was very reasonable and a welcome addition to the trip. They also offer afternoon tea. The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland have done well with hampers and Talyllyn always make an extended stop at Abergynolwyn for passengers to use the cafe or book a cream tea - their Sunday lunch is recommended too!
    Cross selling and enhancing the product adds quality and upsell to existing services. Dining trains don't need to be high end. SRPS famously offer at seat dining to everyone on their train - often with disposable plates and cutlery - but it is always popular!
     
  10. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    Many hires are swaps, the SVR has done so with both Epping and the West Somerset at least recently. There’s still transport costs at least though.

    On the other hand swaps can get an enthusiast out who might not otherwise have done so. I don’t pretend to have an insight into the sweet spot between number of visiting locos and names/size/gala themes/new to traffic/last chance to ride behind but I’d guess that if more railways held solely/mainly home engine galas the movement as a whole would be poorer financially for it?

    from an SVR perspective, 7812 and 13268 will hopefully be gala attractions in Spring 2023?
     
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  11. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Many hires are swaps, the SVR has done so with both Epping and the West Somerset at least recently. There’s still transport costs at least though.

    I'm not necessarily suggesting no visiting engines, I just think that more than one might be unnecessary overkill!
     
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  12. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    I think it is down to being wise with how you spend the budget. It is no secret the SVR has a close working relationship with LSL at Crewe and spring's star visitor was already at the SVR for testing. I don't know if 45231 was also visiting under preferential conditions, but she has stayed at the railway longer than expected. Both 9351 and Jessie were reciprocal loans for SVR loco visits earlier in the year. The fourth visitor was narrow gauge from Perrygrove, I understand some SVR volunteers also volunteer at Perrygrove, so it's visit may have been mutually beneficial in terms of publicity and laying of temporary track.

    Whilst 4 visitors may seem extravagant, drill down and looks like some good business was done to potentially minimise costs.
     
  13. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    That is a good point, but more to it than simply adding dining coaches to a train. You also have to staff dining trains as well as providing the provisions themselves.
    Then there is the extra shunting that might be required to swap between the dining and 'normal' sets of coaches. Even if it only takes a few minutes, timetable adjustments might still be necessary. You also have to prepare both sets (possibly requiring extra staff (trained guard?) to do the prep while others are onboard the running set).
    All doable of course if you have the staff (or finances to hire the extra staff).
     
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  14. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    Regarding the posing of vehicles etc, yes that would be worth a few minutes extra shunting at the start and end of every day. At Didcot* we used to pull locos out of the shed so they could be better seen from the yard (and coal stage). The turntable would either be used to turn a loco in steam at advertised times, or if not that, then a static exhibit loco posed on it for the day. It's all part of 'the show'.

    * Many years since I was actively involved at Didcot, but I am assuming that they still do this sort of thing.
     
  15. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Part of the furniture

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    The replacement bridge wasn't installed last night, it seems there issues with getting a police escort. Hopefully will be next weekend now.
     
  16. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    The other issue with dining coaches is that a dining train actually has a lower potential maximum passenger carrying capacity - because in order to run a dining service, you need everybody to be sat down. Whereas with an equivalent length train of Mk1s, you can get away with carrying more people than there are seats and having some passengers standing (although it's not necessarily ideal). Plus you don't have to dedicate one coach out of the 7/8 in the set (in the NYMR's case) be the kitchen car, which of course has a passenger carrying capacity of 0. Then there is the fact that the more dining trains you have, the less flexibility there is in the timetable for non-dining passengers, meaning they then cram onto the fewer non-dining trains, so these trains then become more crowded and a less pleasant experience for the passengers, not to mention potential safety issues with over-crowded trains. TBH I'm surprised that the NYMR still runs a dining train in the middle of the day on galas, because it means you lose one of the paths during the afternoon for the non-dining passengers (unless some of the coaches on the end of the train are available to 'normal' passengers). The idea of an early morning breakfast train or a late night dinner train during a gala make more sense to me as they are less likely to take up pathing and passenger carrying space that non-dining passengers would want. But then that's potentially a less desirable time for the punters on that train, and means you need crew to start earlier / finish later, so it's far from a perfect solution!
     
  17. Dead Sheep

    Dead Sheep New Member

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    With the SVR, it is probably a case of making sure that they walk before they can run. At this year's galas, quite a few of the services were running with unstaffed buffet cars. If they are unable to staff buffet cars then I doubt that dining trains are a likelihood.

    In the past, the SVR always managed to provide basic on-train catering with these services but this appears to have tailed off. One can speculate on the reasons why but ultimately no catering on gala trains was a missed opportunity for much needed income generation.
     
  18. Fireline

    Fireline Well-Known Member

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    I have to admit, on my recent visit on a non-gala day, even the off train catering was...... underwhelming. Every member of the staff dealing with poncy coffee orders, rather than having dedicated staff on dedicated roles. All I wanted was a pre-made roll, and it took a quarter of an hour just to get to pay!
     
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  19. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    They have recently relaunched the Severn Valley Limited, which was the dining operation using paid staff. This has been a challenge as the railway has basically started from scratch with new staff as the original team were made redundant due to Covid and no longer available as they all moved on to new jobs, which is why it took a while to restart in the first place and then with a slimmed down operation.

    You are right about the buffet cars, I think there is a struggle to recruit enough volunteers to cover this at the moment, although the railway did manage to offer breakfast & pie & mash on a limited number of gala trains this year on a pre booked basis.
     
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  20. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Without giving away too much my Dad’s part of the catering operation at the SVR how do I put this from what I’ve been told?
    There are some basics that don’t cost anything could be done but still haven’t.
    As someone who works in hospitality what I’ve been told is rather how shall we say? Interesting is maybe the word.
     

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