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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Fair point but in the case of the SR I would suggest that there is a strong transport reason why you would want to have a rail link down to Swanage especially when the public want to travel. You would have thought that local groups would approve of such plans and use the link because it already exists.
     
  2. Rumpole

    Rumpole Part of the furniture

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    Platform length or the length of the loop at Swanage is not the limitation for charters. The principal limitation is the distance available between 12 crossover (the one alongside the shed giving access to Platform 1 or 2) and the stop blocks, as if an arriving charter is longer than this distance then (a) that's Swanage blocked for internal services and (b) unless there's a loco already on the back, shunting becomes interesting.

    Extending the loop is of more importance for normal services, either meaning stopping with a 5 coach set wouldn't need to be on a sixpence, or permitting 6 coach sets to be run round and therefore either reducing the number of locos, staff or services required depending upon the manner in which 6 coach trains are chosen to be operated with the current arrangements.
     
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  3. 80104

    80104 Member

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    The area can be a traffic nightmare in the Summer but that does not seem to "encourage" to the extent one would imagine the sort of take up of alternative services to avoid the "nightmare".

    One of the big bottlenecks (causes of congestion) is the A351 from the Bakers Arms Roundabout (A35) to Wareham. To avoid the traffic tailbacks those wishing to travel to Swanage would have to be encouraged to board trains within the BCP (Bmth Christchurch Poole) conurbation and change at Wareham. Unfortunately unless SWR were prepared to effectively give away travel between BCP and Wareham the fares when combined (SWR fare plus SRC fare) are not attractive to potential customers. Furthermore if SRC had to make some form of fares sacrifice they could be in the somewhat bizarre position of earning less from a "Wareham" passenger than a "Norden / Corfe Castle" passenger and could as a result actually lose money on Wareham operations.
     
  4. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I would. But I’d also ask questions about how it would be paid for, and especially how costs and income would be aligned.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  5. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    That's been done, but not published, with no Project Wareham updates other than postponed in 2022 and they are aiming for 2023.
    https://www.swanagerailway.co.uk/ne...-feasibility-study-into-wareham-train-service
    There has also been no Carriage project updates other than will aim to be completed Jan2023. Guess some work can be done between the Flying Scotsman visit and the Lights trains?
     
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  6. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    If the purpose of the connection is to provide a public transport service then it will be interesting to see how compatible that is with being a heritage railway.
     
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  7. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line New Member

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    The conundrum is a bit of chicken or egg in that until you really know how many people are likely to use the service you can't plan a reliable service, but to persuade people to abandon their cars they need a reliable reasonably frequent service. Plus you need somewhere else easy to get to and reasonably cheap to park in the first place. For this type of operation a mixture of steam and diesel to Swanage might work, it wouldn,t surprise me if people would do diesel one way and steam the other especially if there was a cost incentive particularly for families.
     
  8. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    First day of Taster experience coincided with a 10:40 blood test at the surgery opposite the booking hall. Of course the train departed slightly
    late so I did not see the departure, more annoying as of course they were running late in the surgery as well.
    With perhaps shades of a Withered Arm service, the U waits with two coaches for the 10:30 departure and the guard holds his whistle and flag.
    IMG_9752.JPG
     
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  9. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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    Ballast does cost distinctly less if it arrives by rail from a quarry with a main line connection though minimum quantities can't be very small.
    Does anybody have any recent figures on what current cost are?

    (I can remember it being said that it halved the price per ton but I think must have been both for a dozen wagons or more and having the ability to empty them promptly before demurrage charges kicked in.)
     
  10. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    If you can get the wagons. Bottom discharge very difficult. Top easier, but you end space and a grab or two. Half may not be far off before u load costs.
     
  11. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    Sadly due to costs the Great Dorset Steam Fair (although large numbers attended) will take a break in 2023 and return 2024.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-dorset-63118171
    The SR had an indirect connection with SKP attending.
    Not sure if this news will affect any of SR's plans for 2023, but along with the SRs 20% drop (maybe families watching prices and concern over Covid, also maybe less European visitors due to Brexit and P and O ferry problems?) may make accountants wary.

    Not sure why SR will be renting 80078 and Austerity locomotives at extra cost?. Even with 257 Squadron off to Spa Valley, leaves 31806 and Eddystone for the winter lights and Christmas dining trains, Maybe a precaution if there is unforeseen problems and Manston's return is further delayed?. Still it's good to get a variety of locomotives on the line.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2022
  12. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    Well Manston was hoped to been returned to use in June. But they had to fix issues with the Bissel truck which was found. According to the Spa Valley newsletter, the SLL staff have been fewer in number at Herston of late, so that cannot have helped.

    It has occurred to me that Manston was on those jacks for nearly three months. As soon as she was off them, the M7 was quickly rewheeled, so I suspect Manston's problems not only delayed her but the M7 as well.
     
  13. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    As things have not been disastrous everywhere, could there be a particular problem affecting Dorset?
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think comparison between GDSF and Swanage Railway is not that clear cut. (And AIUI, the GDSF aren’t saying they had a poor 2022, but rather they are worrying about the prospects for 2023).

    For a one-off event like the GDSF, you essentially have big up-front costs that ideally get recovered in ticket sales. But you don’t have much fixed costs if you don’t hold the event.

    In that scenario, if you are uncertain or pessimistic about the outlook, cancelling well in advance of having laid out any significant outlay makes sense. Of course, not great for the event’s sub-contractors / suppliers (bands, caterers, loo hire companies - you name it) since they don’t get what might have been a regular booking in their calendar.

    That option is harder for a heritage railway, since you have a lot of fixed costs that don’t go away by cutting services. So it is harder to plan.

    My hunch is that 2023 is going to be a significantly difficult year for many heritage railways, probably worse than 2020 because the demand will shrink but the various emergency Government and HLF lifelines won’t be in place.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2022
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  15. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Not at all. In terms of heritage railways I think this year has been disasterous - or at least extremely disappointing - everywhere in mainland UK. It is just that some railways are more up front about the scale of the problems that they all face.

    The only exception to this would appear to be on a couple of our off shore islands;).

    Peter
     
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  16. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    GDSF had plenty of visitors but didn’t make enough money as the costs for 2022 were significantly more than previous events, before even more increases were going to happen for the 2023 show.

    This was echoed throughout the costs of the contractors etc which has also had a major impact, so although as a spectacle it was a success it was not finiancally so.

    This was on the back of not being able to hold the event for two years and although they did get a Covid-19 grant, it didn’t cover the losses entirely and has had an effect on what is sensible given their financial position. As you say by canning the show now, it’s saved a huge outlay although I wonder if we have seen the last of the GDSF in its current form, as it’s hard to see those costs coming down for 2024.

    I agree there are some tough times coming ahead for heritage railways in 2023/24, not unique to Dorset but countrywide. I expect to see less events and lower ticket sales across the board as the cost of living crisis bites and disposable income is badly hit.
     
  17. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    I see everyones point, but the Spa Valley Railway has held many events during this year, and they currently bucking the trend as they have had more passengers then 2019 currently. How are they doing so well?
     
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  18. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    My point was it hasn’t hit entirely yet, worse is yet to come during 2023 imo.

    My events business has actually had its best ever year with two months still to go but I think 2023 will not be so good. The signs are there as cost of living really bites, we are really only at the beginning so far. Interestingly my 2nd best year was during the last recession, so waiting to see how it pans out as then people still got married and I did well but will the same apply to leisure activities when disposable incomes take such a hit?
     
  19. John2

    John2 New Member

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    I suspect that the Spa Valley has been gaining passengers who used to go to anther railway 13 miles away.
     
  20. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Speaking as an event organiser, there is also the question of when you announce a decision like this. By going early, it allows those who would otherwise have attended GDSF to fill their diaries with other events, rather than being left high and dry at the last moment.
     

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