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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. oliversbest

    oliversbest Member

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    Perhaps we should rename The Purbecks as The Constraints. I do acknowledge that various Heritage Railways have certain local issues to deal with, The RVR not least has a group of landowners opposed to its connection to to the KESR. When some SR projects,despite taking off like Concorde in clouds of enthusiasm ,seem to disappear from the supporters horizons then i believe those supporters,having been asked for donations and who have freely given them should be informed of progress. It is rather interesting that most of my information on these projects has come from this forum rather than the SR and only then since questions have arisen on these matters.
     
  2. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The SVR bought its second Turntable in 1998 and it still hasn’t been installed yet these things really aren’t things you can do overnight.
    Not just at Swanage but I imagine there’s a fair few other railways that have had to put similar projects on the back burner due to the circumstances of the past 2 years.
     
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  3. oliversbest

    oliversbest Member

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    Charters were given as one of the reasons for Project Wareham so one would have thought SR which stands to make good use of these events would have made installation of a turntable able to accomodate these locomotives a priority
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I doubt charters are as good a deal as you think for the railway.

    Imagine it from the railway point of view. The charter arrives. Swanage doesn’t really have much of a restaurant or museum offering at Swanage, so the 400+ people on board are likely to get off the railway straight away (so little or no secondary spend) and head for the town / beach. Meantime, the railway is faced with a train far longer than its platform and no siding space clogging the whole operation up until it can get cleared away. In the meantime, the railway’s own customers are disadvantaged because the core train service is disrupted by the charter.

    So at best you make some track access charge in exchange for a load of disruption - and bear in mind Swanage is already tight for space and would struggle to handle a long train.

    From a charter point of view - how many are on offer? Even the West Somerset (with comparable beach location) only get a handful a year, and the operational and loco servicing opportunities are much more favourable there.

    400 rail tour passengers arriving is no doubt good for the town, probably a bit of a mixed blessing for the railway!

    Tom
     
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  5. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    Yes, But where do you put it? I believe it is 80 foot long ex Old Oak Common?
    The Mid hants also had an 70 foot turntable ex Bricklayers arms stored in the undergrowth
    at Ropley, but there was no room for it, so eventually it was sols on, and I can't remember who to.
     
  6. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Having both watched and stewarded railtours at Swanage (the only mainline tour where I can actually go home for lunch during the turn round!) operationally they look a nightmare. They block Platform 2 as they are usually load 10, so service trains need to use the bay, and then SR either need two locos in steam or the train loco has to release at the Swan Brook signal and something haul the inbound service train into the bay. Watering is difficult and services seem to run late. The tour of course will have a "must meet time" at Worgret Junction.
    It would appear not to work at all on two train days which is why I assume the redirected SD Weymouth trip (and then canx due to Covid crew availability) was due to only go as far as Corfe and then the stock to back over the road at Norden I believe.
    Tom is right the town should benefit, no idea what a HR gets off an mainline tour in revenue, I did unofficially here a WSR figure once, which to me did not seem that much. Certainly from the usual stressed look on the face of the Passenger Services Manager it is not a restful few hours.
    Even a turntable will not help much operationally I suspect as for once "the box on the back" actually seems to help.
     
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  7. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Glamorgan Council/Barry Tourist Railway, in exchange for 80150
     
  8. oliversbest

    oliversbest Member

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    I am sure that you are aware that(whether currently or not) Swanage has Town officials closely linked to the Railway. One would imagine local businesses are not too concerned by the Railways operational problems but more with the bottom line in a small town. The Railway and The Town can co-operate to their mutual benefit surely.
     
  9. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    Yes Of course it was....A Blank moment!
     
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  10. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Off for a haircut this afternoon and surprised to see a (5TC?) ECS arrive. Well not really but something for the fans of the project.

    Anyone know where Eddystone has disappeared to, just appears to be the rods left in Swanage.
     

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  11. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    And the fact that the ongoing delay to the TWAO decision means that work on the connection to the KESR is temporarily on hold. By getting on with the turntable project, it keeps the team together and maintains interest.
     
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  12. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    So could you explain, using Tom's example above, how an incoming charter would benefit the railway and not just benefit the town? What is the town (and by that I mean its shops & businesses, not the council) doing that benefits the railway?
     
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  13. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    The start of getting it ready to at least show, if not run, at the May gala?
     
  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Is it a ghost train?
     
  15. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    In a way, when finished will be a 4TC push-pull train which ran on the line in the 60s and 70s. The first tatty/faded carriage will be used as a parts doner for the end 2 carriages which are almost completed.
     
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  16. oliversbest

    oliversbest Member

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    by that logic perhaps the SR should up stakes and move elsewhere. If charters are a complete loss for the Railway then sell the turntable! You might want to put your question to long time SR chairman and then Mayor of Swanage Bill Trite The Town and the Railway should complement each other. As for that comment about Swanage not having sufficient attractions that is patent nonsense. Did not Burt and the other original promoters of the Swanage Railway bring a lot of old London artefacts with them, There is much to like about Swanage even for day trippers. Gets them off their backsides and out into that good Dorset sea air!
     
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  17. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Delighted to hear a sight once so commonplace across BR(S) will be recreated (hopefully with matching Crompton), though without the customary patina of grime which tended to adorn far too much during the 6070/80s. IMO the humble 4TC/33 combination is every bit as important to Swanage's rail history as the (admittedly more glamorous) steam locos and stock.
     
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  18. oliversbest

    oliversbest Member

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    ..
    If its not passed to run to Wareham its going to be a hard sell IMHO!
     
  19. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    No, I think you need to explain your logic as to why it is good for the Swanage Railway to spend time, effort and money building a facility for charters. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that the turntable is fully funded by donations into an appeal, @Jamessquared and @Gladiator 5076 have clearly articulated both the practical difficulties of running charters into preserved railways, and the limited financial gains to be had from them.

    I was on the first through train to the Bluebell after the East Grinstead extension opened. Having long believed charters to be a fundamentally good reason for having a connection, I had plenty of time for a rethink as I slowly meandered down a couple of carriages to be able to alight at Horsted Keynes, and then later watching the operational headaches that followed. That was on a railway that could hang onto the secondary spend, and benefit from money going on food, drink and souvenirs. If I were in the area of just about any heritage railway and heard a charter was coming through, I would almost certainly make a point of avoiding travelling on that railway on that day. That's because I know that all the railway's operating focus would have to go on keeping the charter punctual, and that my plans would have to play second fiddle to that.

    Every preserved railway exists in a community, benefits from that community and should give back to it. That is about town and railway complementing each other. But if the railway does all the complementing, and the town gains all the business, the risk is that there won't be a railway to complement the town.

    No one's saying there shouldn't be charters, just that they aren't all they're cracked up to be for the host railways and have much more challenging economics than are often assumed.
     
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  20. 80104

    80104 Member

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    I really am at a loss to understand quite why you question the relationship and support between the railway and the town.

    SR attracts some 200, 000 passengers a year. It would be fair to say that some of those only come to Swanage because of the steam railway whereas many probably come for the full range of attractions: The Pier, The Seafront and beach, The Mowlem, Durlston Castle, the quaint shops and of course not forgetting how many come to Purbeck to experience both Corfe Castle (castle and village) and Swanage using the railway as both an attraction and a means of transport.

    Many local businesses support the railway by displaying event posters and featuring or mentioning the railway on their website. Many locals travel on the railway, dine on the Wessex Belle Dining Train, buy from the shop, volunteer on the railway, donate money etc etc.

    The railway supports local businesses by purchasing many goods and services locally. IIRC SR has claimed that because of the multiplier effect SR is worth C£15M annually to the Isle of Purbeck economy.

    The Town Council promotes the railway on its website and in the Information Centre on the seafront as indeed it does other local attractions. There are rules about what Town Councils etc can do; they can not unfairly promote one organisation to the exclusion of others. It can be quite a minefield for the Town Council and other similar bodies because SR is part charity, part attraction acting commercially. The TC is also the landlord of the railway for Swanage Station and station trackbed whereas DC is the landlord for the remainder of the trackbed and the premises at Purbeck Business Centre.
     

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