Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by threelinkdave, Aug 20, 2014.
Judged on those grounds, a fair few Barry escapees are equally inauthentic behind the drag plate.
I said as authentic as it’s possible to be in the 21st century. Apart from still being a shareholder I have no connection with the SVR now. The LMS set represents a typical late period LMS train which is what it’s suppose to do. I don’t know anything about warship or any other diesel liveries.
I don’t think this was authentic even in the early 1980’s.
John, as I’ve said like yourself I’m no big fan of the current GM and the management team, we are where we are though, however much we froth on here about 34027 what’s it going to change? Personally I’m past caring, it’s not my engine and I don’t have to pay the bills to keep it in action.
This ultimately takes us back to the question of what preservation is or is not. And there I suggest understanding the approach to heritage, whether steam, diesel, or coaching stock is necessary for forming a view of whether something's reasonable. If, as I've no reason not to believe, the LMS set includes BR built stock presented in LMS livery, that is no less inauthentic than diesels presented in liveries they never carried in traffic, or a rebuilt Taw Valley in wartime black. Authenticity is a strict mistress, and if there's to be an objection on those grounds to Taw Valley's relivery, then it is unreasonable to accept something else equally inauthentic using what are basically the same excuses/justifications (delete as applicable to taste).
I've no idea whether the planning of this comes from Taw Valley's owners or the SVR, but I find it revealing that many reactions to the decision presume that it is the already unpopular SVR management who are responsible. There seems to be a hefty dose of "give a dog a bad name" at work here, but rather less evidence.
Hmm, without expressing any opinion one way or another on Taw Valley, I don't like this argument. It seems to me to imply that if you can't get everything 100% accurate, you might as well not bother at all. BR built LMS coaches in LMS livery is fairly tame in comparison to painting Taw Valley mauve. It feels like painting it in Southern black is somewhere in-between those 2 points, an authentic livery in itself but not for that loco in rebuilt condition. An unrebuilt WC/BoB built post-war in Southern Black would still be inauthentic, but less so again I would argue. I see it all very much as a spectrum, not simple black and white.
I take a slightly different view. LMS coaches in LMS livery are representative of an LMS set of coaches regardless of when they were built, similarly, Flying Scotsman never appeared in LNER single chimney format as a left hand drive A3 but it represented a typical A3 in 1930s condition. A rebuilt Bulleid in Southern wartime black represents pure fiction.
I understand your concern, and see how what I've said could be used to make that argument - though I absolutely would not make it myself.
My concern is that some will argue for very precise levels of accuracy on some points, yet tolerate other inaccuracies. So, working within that spectrum, resistance to what's proposed for Taw Valley on grounds of anachronism and inauthenticity combined with acceptance of (also inauthentic) LMS liveried but BR built stock concerns me because it seems less about authenticity, and more about that individual's specific personal aesthetic views. The tolerance of one inauthenticity while arguing against another on grounds of authenticity undermines the argument, and creates the space for those who'd deny the role of authenticity as a valid concern.
For me, one of the most jarring instances of inauthenticity was at a Steam on the Met event in the late 1990s. One of the locomotives (I think 9466, but wouldn't swear to it) was recently outshopped and in superb condition. But when I looked closely, some of the finishes on the steam pipes were very obviously modern powder coated, not period appropriate treatment. That difference, invisible unless looking from the platform, jarred far more than a deliberately chosen but historically inauthentic livery would have done.
I understand the view of representation, and think it valid. But I can't dismiss the use of a hypothetical what if as pure fiction. 35005 ran in BR express blue, authentic to locomotive but not as a rebuild. Similarly, there are class 50 diesels at the SVR which have run in "might have been" liveries - 50031 is in InterCity colours, for example. In their use of what might have beens, they help illustrate truths about the locomotives that a strictly accurate approach does not.
It's only paint...
You're quite right, it is but I think there's some people concerned that railway preservation has been moving inexorably away from its roots. Some lines now seem to be more intent on chasing money rather than being historical representations of the past. Small acts like this provide substance to both sides of the argument.
Finally, someone who gets it!
Isn't that just the same livery 53 had?
The same livery 506 and 2678 "Knowle" have now?
So what ideas do you have to bring in already reducing passenger numbers to our sector?
We can no longer sit by and be just a ride behind a steam engine or a nice ride in the countryside. Railways and other heritage attractions nkw have to think so far outside the box to bring in custom. The box has been thrown away in the appropriate recycling bin.
You could go down the "what if" route with '27 for the next 12 months. It became such a broken record from the enthusiasts about the purple to the point of annoyance.
It is only a coat of paint after all.
The difficulty with these debates is that everyone has their own notion of what constitutes "authenticity", from which no deviation is allowed; while at the same time being blind to other issues that are equally inauthentic.
As an example - how many people with an eye for the correct locomotive paint scheme would notice a railway gradually moving to using radios for shunting, especially where sight lines are compromised? In many cases that is understandable - the alternative would be a need for more trained volunteers (scarce) to relay hand or lamp signals - but in terms of operational authenticity? Well, it's an erosion of authenticity all the same. If authenticity is absolute, we should complain. But if we don't complain about radios, is authenticity therefore a more flexible concept? I suspect there are those arguing for absolutes in livery terms who may not even have noticed the lack of hand signals during a shunt.
My own view of authenticity starts at the station drive, and ignores the trains. If I walk onto a platform - Edmondson ticket in hand - and look at the infrastructure, does it look authentic? Bullhead or flat bottom rail? Are the points and signals mechanically worked, or electrically? Is signage correct for period and region? Electrical wiring and other services carefully hidden? Fences correct to period and company style, or modern steel tube design? I can accept that a modern tourist attraction needs far more infrastructure - signs, fences, toilets, cafes - to deal with passenger numbers probably hundreds of times higher than most such lines had before closure, but how they implement that infrastructure is critical to authenticity to me. By time you get to a matt black Bulleid pacific on a rake of Gresley teak carriages pulling into a Shropshire station, the authenticity may be there - but may already have disappeared long before the loco drew into sight.
If we were to be so rigid on authenticity then every preserved railway would have packed up by now. There are some in the SVR camp that would want us to run Panniers and 3 coaches, more staff than passengers, failing infastructure and dilapidated rolling stock. Im sure there are some on the Bluebell Tom that would want you to run a Std tank and a single birdcage as true authentic workings. I know it has been done as a recreation but that, on a regular basis doesnt make money.
I would be close to putting money on people saying, "o well thats down to safety reasons so thats ok." We have used radios for a good 10 years now on the SVR for shunting. They started at Kidderminster because of the carriage shed although I have shunted a set into there with a bardic. We know have radios on the footplate and the guard so they are in communication.
We have found that a period correct No Smoking sign gets ignored due to it being too original, even though we all know its about 5 years old as a sign. Joe public see an old sign and tend to either ignore it or take it as an old sign. I do agree with the time warp aspect as you come up the driveway. The passengers experience starts at the front door, not in the seat of a carriage, by which time they have seen more than just a black Bulleid on teaks in south Shropshire.
But which period?
I remember my one-time MHR P-W colleague, who was the non-Bluebell (!) member in the CCE office at Southern House, telling me that the word in the office was that the extension to East Grinstead would be 45 ft rails on wooden sleepers "because that's what the Brighton used". That PW professionals could even think that is pretty staggering, but at least they were looking ahead as this was the 1970's.
For those complaining about "chasing the money", how do you expect the thing to run?
As for liveries to draw the punters in, there's a quote somewhere on here from one of the founders of the lakeside amd haverthwaite (I believe) to the effect that the fictitious liveries chosen were to get the crowds in. And that was in the early 70s.
The black livery is a bit hokey to me, but it's a very logical way to tidy things up and of they generate a bit of noise out of it, why not?
Personally, what I find the most annoying feature in the authenticity debate is deliberately unnecessary inauthenticity or when inauthenticity is marketed as an enthusiast selling point. "Lilac Liz" seemed to have attracted a fair bit of publicity and thus hopefully generated some income for the SVR. Everyone involved in the project would have agreed that it was never going to set the pulses racing for most enthusiasts. However, one reason for the repainting of 34027 into wartime black which does at least have an element of practicality about it, is because, to quote the SVR website, "we know it’s going to spark plenty of interest amongst our visitors and heritage enthusiasts." Quite frankly, I may be a heritage enthusiast but wouldn't even cross the road to see it in this livery, let alone undertake a journey of more than 150 miles each way.
The SVR is not alone in this. The Swanage Railway marketed its so-called "Royal Wessex" service as an enthusiast event. I love visiting this railway and usually make a day of it, having a ride and also taking some pictures, but when you consider (i) the Swanage Railway's so-called"Royal Wessex" was actually a publicity stunt to advertise the launch of its two Maunsell carriages whereas the actual 1950s train always ran with BR Mark 1 stock (ii) the through carriages of the real "Royal Wessex" were tripped down the branch behind an M7 without a headboard whereas what the Swanage Railway was selling was a train hauled by a Bulleid Pacific with a headboard, no surprise I haven't been down to Dorset recently.
I can’t comment on the Swanage story but your first paragraph is quite right, the enthusiast will not be interested and the majority of passengers, ie non enthusiasts won’t notice. At the wartime weekend the more observant may notice the anomaly of the date on the builders plate
I do wonder if "generate interest" and "heritage enthusiasts" is a sly dig at the froth it generates on here?
Tbh, whilst I understand john petley's post, you can see why it's not an income stream they chase - it can look very much like "it's not right so I'm taking my ball away in a sulk" (which I don't think is what is being said, but you can see how it can be represented as that).
My take on authenticity starts even further back than James' (especially for war events and victorian ones), you simply can't have the social and economic conditions to make all the context work. I think there is a huge danger it becomes some white-washed version (in every sense of the word) of the past. Sure, I like a bit of Glen Miller, but are the reneactment band prepared to die in a (probably) friendly fire incident? I think it's no coincidence that the rise in these events tracks the passing on of the generation who were adults at the time. Likeswise, the autobiog of a turn of the century railwayman [citation when I can find it]recalls urchins begging for carrot tops outside the station, and people cutting their children's food to feed guests. You don't see that at many heritage days...
...or the inevitable piles of horse dung everywhere.
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