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Swanage Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Rumpole, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. cymroglan

    cymroglan Member

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    You are a terrific marketing force for Swanage! Thanks for all the good news in your post. I will be a regular when the 33s are out and about.
    I do agree with your comments about last Saturday. The whole town was so busy! We even sat on the pier in the sunshine for about half an hour. Brilliant!
     
  2. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    Thank you for your kind words. I am just fortunate enough to be down here every day and in a position to witness the developments around the place, and to influence some of the operational matters (such as putting the Class 33's out vice the DMU). As I'm passionate about my job, it makes it a lot less effort when I'm trying to 'spread the word'!
     
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  3. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    Although we're only operating public trains at weekends at the moment, that's not to say its a quiet time at all!

    The main infrastructure project ongoing at the moment is a 'deep dig' of the Up platform road at Harmans Cross. When the station there was built in the late 1980's, it was a hell of a job dealing with the amount of clay in that area. Over time, the attempts at waterproofing that were done have become life expired, and it became an absolute haven for anyone who would want to see clay 'pumping' up through the track, along with developing a few nice waterfalls if it rained particularly heavily. Over the last two weeks the whole loop has been lifted, dug out 18", the drains improved and a Geotech membrane laid. The first load of ballast went in there on Friday, and that work will continue next week with a view to the loop being useable again by next weekend.

    The next task after that for the P-Way gang will be refurbishment and extension work on the sidings at Harmans Cross, followed by laying another siding at Herston. Of course, in addition to the actual P-Way work there are numerous trip workings with spoil and ballast to and from the worksites; keeping 33111 and 33202 busy on a daily basis!

    Elsewhere on the railway the repaint of Swanage signalbox is externally finished, with just the final gloss coat to go on the inside of the windows. The next project for the team doing that work is hoped to be a repaint of Harmans Cross signalbox, a job which desperately needs doing, but that is yet to be finalised. As I'm sure you can imagine, keeping on top of maintenance jobs with a large number of wooden structures is a challenge, and arguably one that we could do with doing better. Any volunteers would be gratefully received...!

    On shed there are a number of projects that have been starting to move forward over the last couple of months. Chief among these is a major tidy-up of the Swanage area. For a little while, the place has been looking like a bit of a dumping ground; there has been a concerted effort recently in sorting this out, and it is starting to show the results. A plan has also been instigated to change the way loco ash has been stored. Up until recently it has been stored in an 8-plank wagon next to the loco pit, and then shovelled out into a further wagon for tripping up the line behind a loco. The plan is to get two small industrial skips, and simply lift the skips out with our Road-Railer when full. This makes the handling of ash far more efficient, improves the view of locomotives from the Viewing Area opposite the shed, and also improves the conditions (particularly lighting and space) when working on that side of locomotives.

    A further benefit of that project is that it releases another two wagons for possible use in our demonstration goods trains. A good start was made yesterday on the bauxite ash wagon, freeing up the seized handbrake mechanism and getting the vacuum system tested and working, and hopefully this will continue when there are any spare people around. It would be nice to get this wagon sorted out in time for the photo-charters booked in March, so this gives us something to aim for.

    Finally around the shed area, the new workshop opposite Swanage loco shed is coming along very nicely, with the roof now almost being complete and the Purbeck stone cladding of the walls making good progress too. Completion of this project will improve the working conditions for the fitting staff, as well as enabling us to get rid of the eyesore of a shipping container next to Swanage loco shed. Another possible project for that area is being discussed in order to further tidy our supply of stores and continue the process of improving working conditions, but that is very much something for another day.

    Finally, a bit of a plug if I may. I don't think I'm speaking out of turn by saying that, for the level of service we operate at Swanage, the number of active volunteers we have is relatively low. This places a great demand on those staff who are around, and we often end up relying on the same few people to keep the railway running. If you have ever considered volunteering on a preserved railway, why not give it a go? I would like to think that the welcome down here at Swanage is pretty good, and no previous skills are necessary, just the ability to tolerate a mild amount of coarse Anglo-Saxon language and to at least try to keep up with me when I'm drinking tea. For more details, have a little look at the latest news item to appear on the Swanage Railway website at http://www.swanagerailway.co.uk/news915.htm to see what roles are available in just one department.

    Thanks for reading. As ever, if anyone has any questions please do let me know.
     
  4. davidarnold

    davidarnold Member

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    An excellent and informative post as always with details of a host of operations going on behind the scenes. Now if all these operations were taking place at the Bluebell or the Mid Hants, to name but two, then they would be well documented by various contributors to their respective web sites, together with numerous photographs, which must go some way to stimulating enthusiast interest and increasing volunteers.
    A casual glance at your website depicts none of these things mentioned. You did some time ago start a "Behind the scenes" section but this was abandoned, last post being March 2012.
     
  5. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    Your point is certainly a valid one. Whilst I can't promise anything, I suspect the website will see some serious development shortly, partly due to a new website in general going live, and partly due to the recruitment of a new Sales and Marketing Manager who will certainly have some ideas of developing an 'online presence'.

    Unfortunately while I have the time to spend 5 minutes in front of the computer writing a post for here, to put something up on the website properly I think it should be accompanied by photos to show what is happening. At this stage, I don't really have the time to dea with that side of it.
     
  6. davidarnold

    davidarnold Member

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    Good news about the new Sales and Marketing Manager. In fact it was the new Sales and Marketing Manager (at that time) of the Mid Hants who created their present Web site that has a structure such that multiple contributors can update weekly blogs for each department. The web traffic then increases exponentially.
    Another good example is the GWSR where a standard blog format is updated by different departments which all reference and link to each other. Gives potential volunteers an insight into what each department has to offer.
     
  7. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    Should be in the area on the 2nd Feb and am hoping to visit, any ideas as to what will be running?
     
  8. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    I would anticipate it will be 80104, but I will update closer to the time.

    34070 is currently out of traffic having replacement main steam pipes fitted and a few other bits of winter maintenance done (for example, the opportunity has been taken to do the side rod bearings), 34028 is undergoing work to investigate ongoing injector issues, and 30053 is having work done to the eccentrics by contractors. 80104 and 6695 are, as I type, available for traffic (80104 currently being basking in the winter sun on Swanage shed!).
     
  9. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    Thanks for the detailed info always interesting to find out what's going on 'behind the scenes', much appreciated. Hopefully it will be 6695 as haven't seen it running before.
     
  10. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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  11. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    Now that its getting closer to the 2nd does anyone know what will be running for definite? and what way its currently facing? Thanks.
     
  12. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    As suspected, it will be 80104 this weekend (barring any unforeseen issues).
     
  13. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    Thanks, is she still facing into Swanage as usual?
     
  14. buzby2

    buzby2 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, last time I looked.
     
  15. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    Thanks, much appreciated.
     
  16. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    Sorry to contradict, but for the duration of the winter services 80104 is facing Norden. Evens out tyre wear, and while we're only running a set of 3+milk tanker it can still take water at Swanage.
     
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  17. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    That's great news, look forward to seeing it in action along with the milk tanker!
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That statement intrigued me at first but I seem to remember that the column is at the end of the platform and, with five coaches, is just beyond the tank fillers on the Cl.4 tanks if they are facing Norden. Am I right and is that a limiting factor? I suppose that, if necessary, you can set back marginally but that is obviously a nuisance to have to do. No doubt you have stopping marks which make it perfect for coupling up and taking water simultaneously!
     
  19. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    Spot on Steve. As you say, the column is on the platform end, and with a 5-set tank engines can only take water when they are facing Swanage (similarly, that's why the Bulleids always face Norden). You could move the train (indeed, if you stop with the back wheel just inside the block joint at the back you still have to!), but with only 17 minutes to run round, take water and away it eats into the time available. And woe betide anyone who leaves late because of it; they'd have me on their back!

    There is a water column on shed, but given that the shed road is our main maintenance facility you don't really want to have to disturb the work going on there every hour just to take water.


    Incidentally, with a 5 set, we've got to get stops right at Swanage to within 3 yards, otherwise the end wheel will be beyond the block joint at either end. It certainly concentrates the mind on learning to stop in the right place!
     
  20. seawright

    seawright New Member

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    Does anyone know if the upgrading of signalling at Worgret Junction has been completed and if so what facilities (if any) have been extended to any of Swanage Rails signal boxes to monitor signals, points and track occupancy at the junction and to request access to the main line.
     

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