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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. DcB

    DcB New Member

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    From a passenger viewpoint although the 205s and 4tcs take me back to past happy train journeys, the "bubble car" 117s do give a good panoramic view forwards which enhances the countryside ride and will be popular when the DMUs return.

    Longer term the Swanage 4TC unit is making progress and could eventually run special mainline services like the current LU 4TC unit does.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  2. burmister

    burmister Member

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    The LU TC has the magnetic locks fitted so the the president is established. I dont know about the Lim units hopefully @twr12 or @Dan Bennett will come along and help as they are more knowledgeable on these matters.


    There were other reasons. The units were thought to have a high level of redundancy with multiple engines and other systems duplicated. This makes clearing the main line in event of a failure of some sort easier thereby avoiding the dreaded delay minutes. Also the decision is routed way back in time when the Mk1 ban was coming in to effect and it was thought they would be permanently removed from the network. Not being a Mk1 the DMUs escaped the legislation. Conversely now they don’t benefit from the established Mk1 exemptions so this is another piece of work that needed to be done.

    With everything taken in to account and the benefit of everything we have learned (so far) it would be interesting to see a rerun of the decision of what stock to select. My guess is that the TC would be a front runner. I would also be interested in how a Hampshire unit would fare in the decisions.
    We haven't given up on getting a decent road access to Furzebrook but it is yet another barrier. The Corfe facility is viewed as a Short - Medium term solution until we can bottom out the other sites. The same local Government reorganization has slowed our work at herston as Purbeck District Council (now absorbed in Dorset council) owned the land there.

    Perenco are currently expected to be operational until 2038. After this the planning permissions require the offices & carparks be returned to heathland and a replacement access road to the sidings constructed. The issue is that the end date has already been moved out several times as new oil and gas reserves are explored and new extraction technology makes the existing ones more viable. They have recently completed exploratory drilling for new 'prospects' in the bay off Bournemouth so there is no immediate signs that we can pin our hopes on 2038 being the real end date when we get our road. An independent road access to the site to decouple us from the end date would be preferable. Readers might be interested that the Wytch Farm Oil field owned by Perenco is the biggest onshore oil and gas field in europe and not many are even aware it is there. Horizontal drilling enables it to tap reserves several km away under the Purbecks, Poole Harbour and the bay of Bournemouth.

    I do envy Railways that inherited large empty goods yards to develop their own car parks and facilities. Swanage did not benefit from this.[/QUOTE]

    The Lymington units did have magnetic door locking which was fitted at Chart Leacon. The conduits were run along the side of the sole bar girders and up to the indicator lights and magnetics on the doors.
    We run 1497 (which is one of the Lymington units) with a 73/1 push pull, the loco provides the 110V control supply for Westcode engine governor power, EP brakes, blinds, starting bell, Loudaphone cabs com etc. We run a battery pack in the guards van (which was converted into a disabled seating area with alarm pull cord) which allows the PA to work and gives emergency circuit saloon lighting. A 33/1 with a TC will do all this plus run all the lighting and heating.

    Turning to the Oil under our feet, I worked for BP in the 70/80s and it was recognized the South East has very many small pockets of free oil . ( Oil was found near Steyning close to my fathers farm in the mid30s at a rate of less than 30 barrels a day so uneconomic then) . At the time of the Wytch farm development done by BP the biggest oil pockets were out in Poole Bay and BP did apply to install oil platforms out in the bay off Bournemouth in a line between Swanage and the Needles on the Isle of Wight. This caused some 'disquite' and BP then developed how to drill an oil well hole in a radius so the on shore facilities at Fursey Island Etc in Poole Harbour actually recovered the oil out in Poole Bay as Mogul said. The oil majors tend to sell off mature fields with declining production and Wytch farm was no exception to this model.

    I am not surprised the closure of the plant at Fursebrook keeps getting put back, the recoverable percentage of free oil in the ground in a field keeps increasing as oil companies develop more and better ways of getting the last dregs out. Fracking is simply a logical extension of this process getting at the oil entrapped in the rock strata itself, minute in specific volume but across the whole basin sometimes massive in total volume. Even in the 80s some geologists thought the total oil under Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex exceeded the North Sea. Would not be surprised myself if the Oil Industry is still around in some shape or format into the next century. People tend to think of the future as having the same constraints and development as exists today.

    Finally the 3Hs (and 3Ds) DEMU bodywork is the same as HAP EMUs indeed the Hampshire and Berkshires were designed to be converted to EMUs when the SR was fully electrified. ( and the Redhill - Reading Tadpoles used EMU Driving trailers with Hastings power car and trailer of course) . You could easily close up certain doors from each saloon leaving 2 per side per saloon to reduce on door locking and more importantly ongoing maintenance cost or simply stick a CIG/VOP/CEP coach in the unit as was done with some units in their last years (and Hastings Diesels do on the main line with CEP coach and a BIG buffet) and get through gangways with a bit of cutting on the MCs and DTs. With hindsight this route would have saved all the costly and time consuming messing about with DMMU new axles and pans etc to satisfy the VAB.

    Finally have total sympathy for lack of siding space we suffer in spades the same problem (although this does stop buildup of stock rotting in sidings that has no hope of restoration due to lack of resource and money)

    Brian
     
  3. Dan Bennett

    Dan Bennett Member

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    Brian,

    The Wareham DMMUs have the same magnetic secondary door retention system fitted as the LU TC and the Lymington CIGs, which was designed by Mark Brinton.
     
  4. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry chaps, I’m not going comment on the choice of 117s over Mk1s (including TCs, CIGs, VEPs & DEMUs).

    I don’t really want the sack!
     
  5. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Member

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    Seems to have turned in to an unplanned "mini gala" today.
    So far service trains have been hauled by
    46521
    33111
    D7535 T & T with 33111 ( I suspect to save a path to get the Class 25 to Norden for the driver experience)
    34072
     
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  6. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Well-Known Member

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    What is in steam on type 2 thursday please
     
  7. DcB

    DcB New Member

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    But are srill the same age as the 117 so may still have had similar restoration problems?
    The Brighton Belle restoration has taken 10 years much longer than expected.
    From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_205
    There are no spare 205s available.
    Report yesterday which suggests the DMU will be back this year but no date for going into service.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-48185140
     
  8. oliversbest

    oliversbest New Member

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    didn't Southern Locomotives restore a Barry Wreck in less time than this? I know its 40 plus years on BUT one of the original objectives of the SRP was to return an amenity service to the Branch. In these days of climate awareness there are some punters who would like to change trains at Wareham, and by this I mean families,tourists Jurassic Coast enthusiasts instead of wheeling baggage onto buses. If the various levels of government are just not paying lip service to the problems of congestion and global warming they should at least fund a trial with suitable rolling stock. Get Mr Shooter on board and get a new generation of British engineering applied to the problem. Heritage railways are evolving and Swanage could be in the forefront of a movement which would appeal beyond the enthusiast fraternity
     
  9. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    With Wareham in mind, its a pity that one of the 3 cigs was not acquired when withdrawn, as these already had the door locking etc, I'm assuming the electro magnetic locks and control apparatus are readily available marketplace units, or are they redundant stock? and might not be available unless they can be got second hand from scrapped units
     
  10. desperado

    desperado New Member

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    Hindsight is a wonderful thing & I don't think anyone realised there would be so many problems getting the 117s back in mainline working order.
     
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  11. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Setting aside the climate change issue (and who pays probably underpins most of the inertia), is there any incentive for the railway to get these units into service?
     
  12. Mogul

    Mogul Member

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    Very much so.

    The local authority granted somewhere in the region of £3M to Network Rail for them to include the branch in the Waterloo - Weymouth resignalling scheme to enable the provision off the service. The same local authority also owns the track bed from Swanage to the main line connection (Worgret Junction) and an obligation to provide the service was incorporated into the new Swanage Railway 100yr lease that included the Norden - Worgret section (the 3.75mile connection to the mainline). Around the same time the Coastal Communities Fund granted c.£1.25M for the overhaul of the 117 to provide the service.

    The railway is obligated to both bodies to deliver the trial. Despite several applications the Coastal Communities Fund hasn't approved any subsequent grant applications to the SR and I would be surprised if they did so before the railway has delivered on the objectives of the first one. The local authority who is also our landlord will not have forgotten writing the £3M cheque and will have its own ways of applying pressure. The railway also committed to Its Members and the public.

    Continued excuses and slips do not help our relationship with any of these important partners and funders. SR would be very foolish to ignore this and it would be incorrect to assume that a lack of drive on the part of the SR is behind the delays. oliversbest hints at a similar possibility so an explanation on the overhaul contract may be needed..
    The Barry wrecks restored by Southern locos came with a full set of axles that didn't need to meet stringent mainline requirements. Any missing parts were able to be produced in house or used low tec engineering capabilities widely available.

    The 117 overhaul is contracted to Arlington Fleet Services, Eastleigh, a respected mainline contractor. Difficulties arose when all 16 axles were found to have to much corrosion and pitting for mainline certification requiring a new set of custom axles to be made. The only foundry capable of the work is in Germany and so the work was subcontracted. Their national reputation for efficiency and meeting deadlines doesn't emerge untarnished. Many many dates came and went as work from more important customers was continually prioritised. Another subcontract was for the overhaul of the Leyland engines to another specialist. Problems discovered in the testing of these is the cause of the current delay.

    The BBC article is disappointing in that it doesn't make it clear that the Swanage Railway is only the customer for the overhaul of these units. I think it important to dispel any misconceptions that the SR is responsible for the overhaul in any capacity other than a comparatively helpless customer. Its easy to assume that this is a typical case of an over optimistic heritage railway carrying out a loco overhaul in its own works. This is not the case.
    If it were easy the Pacers would have been gone a long time ago. I think getting those off the network is a higher rolling stock priority for the DFT than a service for Swanage. Remember the business case for the service and justification for significant investment is far from proven.
    The core 'product' that a Heritage railway provides to the average customer that pays the bills is a 'vintage transport experience'. As the bills get bigger every year that product needs to become more and more 'premium'. The challenge is to incorporate a 'Modern utility service' without damaging the 'Vintage experience'. And to do so over the same infrastructure and stations, at the same time, at an acceptable price without drawing income from or devaluing the Premium Steam service.

    Great care is needed.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  13. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The question that jumps out to me is was there room at the junction for a platform on the NR side and an connecting platform face on the Swanage side ? that would have enabled Swanage railway services to operate a service that would have connected with the SWR Weymouth service ?
     
  14. Mogul

    Mogul Member

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    The link below goes to google maps showing the location of the Junction with respect to Wareham.
    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.686203,-2.1266691,2191m/data=!3m1!1e3
    The junction is 1.2 miles away from Wareham station and entirely in a cutting. Creating a new triple platform interchange station here with road connection and requiring services to make an additional stop 1.2 miles after the last one would probably make the DMU overhaul look like fixing a pushbike.

    The line between here and Wareham station is mostly on an embankment so no room for a third track either.

    Some years back there was an aspiration to create a station here but as the years went by a more realistic approach was adopted. Its not really an Alton or East grindsted type situation. Its a bit more like NYMR Whitby except that the main line is 80mph double track third rail with multiple hourly services in each direction. Whitby by contrast sees 4 mainline services a day.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  15. LC2

    LC2 Member

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    Do you really think that NR / SWR would really be happy to build a new station in the middle of nowhere, with the associated costs and degradation to the existing timetable just to service a heritage line?

    This isn't the Isle of Wight...

    It would also have meant relaying the PW to accommodate a station, new signalling etc.

    Ummmm. Now let me think ;)
     
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  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Evidently W.I.B.N. is stronger amongst mainland politicians and pockets are deeper.
     
  17. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thank you. So the oblgation is to deliver a trial only?
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Actually, I took @LC2 's comment to be a sly dig meaning the opposite of what you suggest, given that on the Isle of Wight there is indeed "a new station in the middle of nowhere, with the associated costs and degradation to the existing timetable just to service a heritage line?"

    On the financial front, Public Sector - and particularly Local Authority - finances are massively more strained now than they were pre-2010. Many Local Authorities are struggling even to deliver statutory services and have nothing spare for discretionary services, of which transport is one. It's inevitable - and no criticism implied - that a complex multi-partner project such as this would take many years to deliver, but I suspect that were the same project to be proposed now, it almost certainly wouldn't get off the ground for lack of funding. Unless there is a rapid reversal of austerity (which doesn't seem on the cards), I wonder to what extent there will remain political will within Dorset Council to go beyond a trial if it requires them to provide further subsidy. At a political level, reducing summer congestion on the way to Swanage sounds all well and good, but would be directly competing for funds against, say, maintaining a library service, mending potholes or any of a myriad of other services, many of which are, politically, hotter potatoes.

    Tom
     
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  19. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Brighton Belle group found out the 1930s electrics and running gear were not suitable for today so have ended up having to graft in CIG underframes and transplant all the control gear, underframe cabs and bogies over over so they in effect have heavyweight Pullman coaches running on a CIG. Suspect this is the reason for much of the delay, they have created in effect a new train from heritage parts.

    B
     
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  20. Mogul

    Mogul Member

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    The scope of the Coastal Communities grant was only to deliver a two year trial service.
    The local authority I suspect won't be so easily satisfied however what should provided beyond the trial is less well defined and to a large part dependent upon the outcome of the trial and the availability of further operational & maintenance facilities (Herston / Furzebrook). The Purbeck Community Rail Partnership PCRP of which SR is a part will play a large role in shaping the future services. I'm sure there will be something but the demand the needs to be established. Nobody is in the game of running trains for the hell of it.

    The points @Jamessquared makes above are very salient. SR cant afford to run a service at a loss, the Local Authority probably won't subsides it and I'm not sure what the buss Co would say if they did.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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