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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Two locos when a timetable advertising steam haulage needs one, I get. Any number of things can 'fail' a loco at no notice, only some of which mean it can make a re-appearance in short order. Unless something is out and about for load tests flowing work, having two locos on standby, I don't get.

    TBH, the sight of multiple locos multi-heading trains of ordinary length seemed like an indulgence too far before the problems of the last couple of years.

    I'm old enough to remember when more than two steam locos coupled together could only mean it was their last ever trip. :(
     
  2. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Having a spare steam loco on stand by (or having two do the work of one) seems to me to be an indulgence cost wise. That is my point however if SR believes that it is justified by being an event day so be it.
     
  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Whether to keep a loco on standby in light steam (i.e. nowhere near as much coal as a run) comes down to any number of considerations, not least of which is the potential for negative comments by passengers disappointed by a steam service being substituted. Ask anyone with any sort of sales experience about the comparative values of advertising vs. word of mouth recommendations.
     
  4. oliversbest

    oliversbest Member

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    with the good news that Car 14 has returned the carriage shed project is all the more needed ASAP
     
  5. 80104

    80104 Member

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    But if that is indeed the case, that would suggest that you always have a spare loco in steam not just on some days. You would have to weigh up the costs of having a second loco in light steam for each and every day against the perceived negative value of "negative comments by passengers being disappointed by a steam service being substituted". If a steam service had to be substituted say three times in a season versus the cost of having a spare steam loco for the whole season (say 240 days) that is quite a cost to weigh against negative comments.

    Somewhat perversely you would need a second loco in light steam on the quietest days because those would be the days when passengers would be most effected. (Days with One loco in steam in service so if it failed no locos in steam). On the busiest days you would be running a two steam train service so if one steam loco failed you could substitute a diesel, knowing that to those whom steam was important could wait for / choose the steam service still running.
     
  6. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    In the specific case of the Swanage, their comparatively intensive timetabling would lead me to say, on peak season days (and most especially school holidays) .... an unqualified yes.

    If a line is just running, say, two or three trains during a day, then I'd question the wisdom of a steam standby too .... unless no diesel substitute were to hand.
     
  7. 80104

    80104 Member

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    I dont think SR run less than 4 trips a day (even in the ultra low season).
     
  8. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Quite ..... Unless the sugestion is that sort of provision is excessive (and we could all name the odd line where that seems too often the case!), that's how many disappointed punters? They all speak to friends, family and work colleagues. My question would be how highly one values what's pretty much universally regarded as the best publicity of all? What price a line's reputation for providing that experience it's publicity suggests?

    Like any half way complex consideration, there's no one single answer.
     
  9. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Agreed there is no single answer. It is an interesting question as to how much a transport providers (or indeed any commercial suppliers) reputation ( and thus their future commercial prospects) is negatively impacted by failing to deliver the advertised service or product.

    The well publicised failings of airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet do not seemed to have adversely effected their commercial prospects at all.

    Are we now in an era (possibly due to social media and sites such as Tripadvisor and Trustpilot) that because failings are so routinely exposed that they no longer negatively impact organisations as they once would have done?
     
  10. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Sorry I am confused a 3 train service when one of the three is diesel need two steam locos. No idea if the service is too intensive, I guess the railway will know by Sunday. Is it being suggested less trains should be operated?
    Where as the double heading issue come from?
     
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  11. Brockenman

    Brockenman New Member

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    Yes I was confused as well,for the 3 day event it's 3 train running 2 steam which the Bullieds are working and the dmu on the Diesel turn.The railways other working loco the U is at Norden for cab visits for the public.Promises to be a superb 3 days stop the critical comments for running 2 steam locos.I don't recall anyone knocking the GWSR for running what was it 9 locos at their recent Gala.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I'm talking about general case provision, not any specific timetable, nor for that matter, any specific railway. The question was raised with respect specifically to the costs of keeping a steam loco on standby. My argument is simply that the (admittedly more nebulous) costs of failing to give the punters what they came to see needs to be taken into account. On what side of the argument any line chooses to come down under whatever circumstances is a matter for them alone.

    At times, I get the impression the traditional British attitude to customer service is as assiduously observed as any other facet of heritage operation .... and that isn't a compliment.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’m confused - by “on standby” do you mean cold, but available for traffic; or in light steam but not rostered for any trains?

    In costing - I’m not sure diesel is that much cheaper than steam on whole train cost. Most of the overall operating costs are the same: each passenger ultimately makes the same contribution to infrastructure maintenance; the same contribution to carriage maintenance; the same contribution to fire business expenses (marketing, staff costs etc). Only the traction costs differ, and even there you still have fuel, and still have maintenance. I’d be surprised if the total cost of running a five coach train with a diesel varies by more than a few percent from running the same train with a steam loco - at which point you have to consider the revenue implication of people being dissuaded by diesel.

    The key point has to be to consider whole train costs, not just one aspect such as fuel, which is very much a minor part of the overall operating cost, even now.

    Tom
     
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  14. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Which railways are keeping locos on standby in steam? Based on the "outrage" the other week by some on here at my picture of 257 with some smoke after it was steamed in a rush after an early morning failure of the rostered loco, certainly not Swanage.
    Even this weekend with the U in light steam at Norden I suspect it is not a standby, but part of the event that would disappoint many if it were not there. From my experience most standby locos would seem to be something you put a key in to turn on, most with a cab at both ends.
     
  15. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    After the debate around catering outlets, yet again Swanage is criticised for trying to develop it's offering and have additional events and attractions; in this case a suitable train service to accommodate a hoped-for increase in passengers over an event weekend.

    We might as well just pack up and go home...
     
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  16. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I'm certainly not coming at anything from any such stance and there's no hidden sub-text to anything I've posted. If some folk choose to read more into my posts than is there, that's on them.
     
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  17. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    In conversation with the treasurer today.
    Passenger numbers are dropping, they have been since pre Covid.
    The generation that stood on the end of platforms and took numbers are dying off.
    Those that remember main line steam are dying off.
    Friends in the classic car industry are struggling to sell cars from the early 50's, people want cars from the mid 60's.
    Its all about childhood memories.
    How many of us remember through rose tinted glasses classic journeys in the late 60'early 70's by rail?
    Hmm, not many.

    Thanks to Thomas the tank it has extended interest in our industry.

    But our industry is at a crossroads, rising cost and diminishing patronage.

    How can we survive, with closer scrutiny from the ORR, which in turn means a professional business, which means more costs.

    I suggested that if the (Swanage) railway wants to make money, widen the cutting at Corfe, tarmac it and charge a toll to road traffic (pack up and go home).

    Where is the money coming from?

    The roads to rail event at Norden today was, err Quiet.

    Meanwhile the tank museums Tank Fest (take note those railways that canned their war themed gala's) just 15 odd miles away is sold out.

    I don't know the answer, but if a railway that runs from a park and ride, through an area of outstanding natural beauty, past an ancient monument that terminates at a classic seaside town, operates Southern mainline locomotives, manned by motivated volunteers and yet still has projects like the carriage shed, the Salisbury water tower project etc etc that are struggling to be completed, let alone having (god preserve us) carriage roofs that are uneasy on the eye, where do we go?

    As Rumpole stated, we might as well pack up and go home, just like we did in 1972.................................
     
  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Surely those two points are contradictory, and suggests we needn't be so despondent?
     
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  19. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    Surely my last line wrapped that all up?

    By the way, it is 50 years to the month that the scrappies descended on the branch and started ripping up the track.

    What a waste of their efforts, but the accountants were happy.
     
  20. 007

    007 Member

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    All Railways are struggling. We are not alone. As for the Tank Fest Comparison, I don't think there is one. Its an annual event and one of the only occasions you can see the only working Tiger tank in operation. It attracts an almost cult following.

    I think you would struggle to find any railway treasurer who is really happy now. I also wouldn't be putting private conversation details, with railway officials on a public forum.
     

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