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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. lil Bear

    lil Bear Well-Known Member

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    Heritage Coach Fund

    Currently inhand, restoration of 4365 has started this off with 5761 not far bhind.
    Swanage Railway News Gallery - Page 816
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    You did say any response so, if I'm being honest, the beach and the sea are the most likely things to attract me to Swanage and that gives you an advantege over a lot of other heritage railways! I may be unique as a railway enthusiast but I don't particularly enjoy riding on trains. I'm not even bothered about different locos and galas are a big no. I don't even have a camera to try for the elusive master shot. I'm much happier wandering about the so-called piles of junk, peering into boilers and wandering around workshops, all of which I can't really do at Swanage and, increasingly, elsewhere. If I've got SWMBO with me, we might go for a ride to placate her - anything is better than sitting in the car waiting for me to wander around the junk! We called in at Norden the other week but, as soon as we discovered it was a gala, we had a quick cup of tea and went.
    It's probably a good job most of your passengers don't fall into a similar category.
     
  3. Rumpole

    Rumpole Member

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    We've still got plenty of junk we can show you Steve, we just manage to hide a fair bit of it!
     
  4. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    I normally try to get down to Swanage twice a year or so. I love the scenery, the 1950s atmosphere, and the friendliness of the staff. It's also a very accessible line for photographers, thanks to the various overbridges, adjacent footpaths, etc. I must have found some 20 publicly accessible locations, which isn't bad for a 6 1/2 mile long line.

    How could it be made even better? I agree with Tom that greater use of vintage stock would be an added attraction. I also think that running special trains up to Furzebrook (or even Worgret Junction) once the ownership has been transferred and the track upgraded would certainly entice the enthusiats community.My only niggle is that as a photographer, it's a shame that when it's running, the Devon Belle observation car is often coupled behind the tenders of the Bulleids when they are running in the usual smokebox-first mode out of Swanage. Still, I appreciate that the extra revenue generated for the railway by running this historic vehicle is far more important than minor whinges from the photographic community.

    One quesion to which I can't suggest an easy answer relates to the "varied locomotive fleet". Well, it's actually quite small. There are currently five active engines (53, 6695, 80104, 34028 and 34070) and only a further three either awaiting overhaul (80078) under overhaul (34072) or in the early stages of restoration (34010). While five active locos is a great improvement on the situation a few years back when a couple of engines had to be hired in, the fact that the Swanage Railway operates with a relatively small and stable fleet of engines means that it doesn't take long before you've travelled behind them all, photographed them all, etc. How do you then entice the enthusiast to come back? That's the difficult question, and I don't know the answer. All I will say is that even when I have managed a run behind 34070 (the only currenly active loco at Swanage I haven't travelled behind yet) I'l probably still keep coming back because I enjoy the line so much.

    One final thought - I work (among other things) as an editor of a magazine which comes out every quarter. Shortly after taking over, I commented to my predecessor that I was receiving very few "letters to the editor". His reply was, "That usually means the punters are happy. You tend to get more letters when people want to complain." Perhaps the lack of enthusiast chatter concerning the Swanage Railway
    is because people like it as it is - the product is a success.
     
  5. Dan Bennett

    Dan Bennett New Member

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    Yes the Rex cinema in Wareham is still going strong!
     
  6. Standard by 4

    Standard by 4 New Member

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    For suggestion of guest locomotives, to add somediversity I would suggest U class 31806 or T9 30120, which would appeal to the enthusiast,but would probably have little appeal to the general public, unlike Bitternlast year. With regards to stock, with two Bullied coaches one restored 4365and one on its way 5761 Swanage could, with the restoration of 4366, create anauthentic 3 Car set, 780, which would look great with the resident Bulleids orStandard tanks
     
  7. Just_Sayin

    Just_Sayin New Member

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    Things that attract the enthusiasts are things that are different/unique to the line. The prospect of a SR Push-Pull set with the M7 really ticks all the boxes for me, though I'm guessing you guys are a long way from fulfilling this ambition? It's a shame the TC set seems to be missing from that list mind, as a Push-Pull Weekend would certainly provide a different/unique experience (plus you have the right locos for it too!). Its surprising actually considering the success of your Diesel Gala you don't run a diesel Day in the autumn like a number of other lines do, though having said that suppose their isn't much variety you can provide with the home fleet.

    Behind the scenes look would be interesting, tour of the sheds to see locos undergoing maintenance etc. As Steve points out this is getting awfully rare though, so I'm not sure how easy this would be. Maybe only do it selected weekends of the year like Basford Hall do from time to time?

    Other than that not much I can think of, as you don't have an Engine House style attraction. Am however looking forward to the Purbeck Mining Group, as from seeing what you've done so far it will be a quality attraction in itself.
     
  8. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    I can only echo suggestions already mentioned.

    I believe (others may disagree) that there is no reason why bulleids can't be maintained and operated as Mk1's are i.e. up and down, every day forming the backbone of the railway's operating stock. I think they're old and different enough to provide additional enthusiast (and sometimes public) interest whilst also keeping many of the advantages of Mk1 stock, namely that they're gangwayed, ride OK and can seat a good number of people etc. I would certainly say that a four (perhaps one day five) coach Bulleid rake in front line service, as the railway's main or second set, would set the Swanage apart in enthusiast circles. The Severn Valley, IOWSR etc tick these boxes by running their pre nationalization stock in normal service, not just four weekends a year at gala and war events. More importantly, I think they are the most suitable pre-Mk1 Southern carriage for the Swanage's audience and pattern of running, so there's hope that the extensive costs of restoration can be earned back.

    Putting my diesel hat back on, as someone already mentioned a 4-TC behind a 33/1 really is a must for this line's long term plan! The Mk1 EMU front end is rare in preservation, perhaps not surprisingly due to them being air braked only so generally a no-go for steam services. would have thought the Swanage would be one of the appropriate railways to house such a set. Being a southern line as well, it seems strange that one of the many preserved Class 73's hasn't made Swanage its home...
     
  9. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Member

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    73's on diesel are nearly next to useless.....they cant get to 25mph with 4 coaches so not really ideal for any preserved railway that wants to use them for passenger work.
     
  10. lil Bear

    lil Bear Well-Known Member

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    The Swanage TC Group

    Plans are in motion, but it needs supporting! They've reached the first target of meeting the storage costs, now it needs that bit of extra support to get the restoration in full swing.

    The long long term plan includes a suggestion for a 5 coach Bulleid set with a Bulleid Kitchen Restaurant Third built from scratch to replicate a vehicle scrapped a number of years ago (7889) but modified as a Disabled coach. But this is very much a 'would be nice' idea than a concrete 'it will be happening' one.
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Certainly no reason why Bulleids can't be used in front line, every day service - the Bluebell does exactly that with a mixed Bulleid / Mk 1 set, with the second "every day" set rotating between Maunsells, pre-group bogie carriages or the Mets. I'd also put in a plea for more Maunsells, which in my opinion are the most comfortable of any coach that I have ridden in - certainly way above Mk 1s for comfort, and still having corridors for operating department convenience.

    A very "finger in the air" type number is about £100k for a thorough overhaul of a wooden (Maunsell / Bulleid) bogie coach, assuming you have one to start with (*). So a five coach set of Bulleids would be about £500k to produce - which is challenging, but not massively so if you really made it an aim, especially if you spread such an appeal over, say, 10 years (i.e. £50k per year). A two coach push-pull would be more per coach (because of the extra complexity of the driving equipment) and is probably harder to support on pure business case grounds (because its use would be more limited as it would mainly be used off-peak and generally with a specific engine), but woud still be an attractive proposition for an appeal, IMHO.

    (*) Actual cost depends a lot how much reconstruction of the interior you have to do, i.e. whether you have the seats or have to recreate them)

    Tom
     
  12. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    The best of luck to them, I'd love to see a 4-TC at Swanage running out of the bay (if its long enough) with a 33/1 pushing!
     
  13. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    I totally agree.

    Unfortunately I have heard a lot of people from the Swanage Railway refer to the Mk1s as their 'core fleet'. They really need to get away from this mentality and see the regular use of pre nationalisation coaches as a key part of their operation, if they want to join the premier league of preserved railways.

    There are a lot of people at Swanage working really hard to get these coaches restored. But sadly there are still too many Swanage railway members thinking 'why bother, we've already got a load of MK1s.'
     
  14. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Member

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    Well the Mk1's are their core fleet so what the problem.

    Whats wrong their mentality?. Have you actually seen how many days that railway runs?
    Daily from sometime in March till end of October....not many railways can boast that.

    Passenger wise you will find that they are behind NYMR, SVR and WSR (not too sure of figures for P&Dartmouth)....so if they are not 4th they are 5th in the league.

    Looks premier League to me


    Is that fact or just typical rumour mongering?
     
  15. swanrail

    swanrail Guest

    Swanage Railway passenger figures tie in generally with the WSR, which makes it 3rd in the League.

    A faction of the railway pushes for Heritage Coaches, which is great, however the vast majority of the working volunteers feel that money should be focused on maintenance facilities development, then Heritage Coaches.
    The Heritage Coaches are the future, but the railway needs to get its maintenance and storage facilities sorted first.
     
  16. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    As a statement, this is simply not true. There are plenty of preserved Class 73s running 4-coach trains at 25mph with no problem at all. Indeed, a 73 recently was operating at 25 with 4 coaches plus a dead diesel on the rear. It's been commented that a 73 is in fact ideal for preservation work from a mechanical perspective, as unlike the vast majority of preserved diesels larger than a type 2, the engine in a 73 working up to 25mph actually gets up to its working temperature so runs far healthier with regards to oil consumption etc. Their only drawback is that such a small engine running properly does not produce much noise/smoke/thrash making them unpopular with enthusiasts.
     
  17. lil Bear

    lil Bear Well-Known Member

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    Been asked to upload the following picture by Mr Marbles. It shows the crossover being installed at the East end of Wareham platform that will allow trains to cross from the UP Main onto the DN Main and into the DN Sidings. This is how 71B Trains are expected to operate, as they will use the sidings to run-round prior to returning to the DN Platform.

    wareham.jpg
     
  18. oliversbest

    oliversbest New Member

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    Isn't there work ongoing to re-engine a couple of 73's. With mainline certification could be an option worth looking at for network connection.
    Meanwhile as an original Swanage Railway Project supporter from the 70's I do hope our COM address as a priority the potential loss to the
    railway of 80078,the first mainline engine purchased by the project and which actually travelledby road along the sea front to get to the Station area.
     
  19. lil Bear

    lil Bear Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Chris, bit of a poor phrasing has caused the confusion but at Swanage a 73 does struggle with the gradients to keep to the normal timetable whilst hauling 4+ coaches. It is a ruling gradient of 1in 81 IIRC after Herston towards Harmans, though I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. They are great for galas as visiting locos, looked good with the 4VEP a few years back, but for everyday service they just wouldn't be the most useful of locos.

    Exactly. What's the piont in adding to what we've got when we are only just able to maintain what is already in use? It's amazing what James / Frank / Froudy etc all achieve when you consider the facilities they have available to them. It be lovely to see 34028 haul a rake of restored Bulleid's up/down the rly all day, but the railway only has a limited budget and if it's a choice between investing in equipment that will help preserve what is already available or adding extra items that put further strain on the railways small resources, then surely there should only be one choice?
     
  20. oliversbest

    oliversbest New Member

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    Im an armchair supporter from afar I thoroughly agree with your post. Without storage and maintenance facilities ALL stock will deteriorate
    at an unacceptable rate. Customers want to travel in safe,warm comfortable coaches of any era and they pay the bills
     

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