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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    According to this KMC is
    "Only one line of disclosure is required, being total key management personnel compensation. This is based on the definition of key management personnel as ‘those persons having authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the entity, directly or indirectly, including any director (whether executive or otherwise) of that entity’ (FRS 102:33.6). The standard also explains that compensation includes all employee benefits (as per FRS 102:28) including share-based payments."

    https://library.croneri.co.uk/cch_uk/nuk102-02/ufs24-4-5
     
  2. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well the assumption you have made that "they are right in a very good catchment area" I would not necessarily agree with post Covid.
    Yes there was the staycation boom of sorts, but I do believe visitors to the area are generally down. I have no scientific data to back this up, but as I have said before the town seems far quieter over the course of the summer than it was pre Covid.
    Some random examples of that are highlighted by the reduced number of coach tours. Tuesday was and is still the main day for some reason but whereas pre Covid there were as many as 14 in the car park at once, I have never seen more than 6 this year. Our neighbours house that he Air bnb,s books reasonably well as he has had to reduce the price, but he gets few full week bookings now, mostly 2 or 3 nights.
    As I have mentioned before the main car park rarely needed the overflow except during Carnival week or one of the other festivals.
    Half term last week looked very poor, weather of course did not help but 3 days I counted cars in the main car park on the way to the town around lunchtime. Tuesday 68 Wednesday 90 Sunday 59, yes there is some free street parking this time of year but nearly all taken by residents, difficult to fill trains when only a percentage of those numbers would be interested in the railway.
    I am sure there are others apart from me who still feel uneasy around crowds, so my travel has seriously reduced from pre Covid. Full trains have no appeal for me & I basically only attend things where the reward, a loco or lines gala is worth the risk. (Even my photography is where I have a good chance of being on my own)
    So you then look at the railway, less visiting the area on tighter budgets will mean less willing to part with money for a ride to Corfe when the bus deal was on all operating season. Even for the diesel gala the diesel cranks were all complaining about hotel and guest house prices here, Poole and Bournemouth. They all seem to have vast amounts to spend on the beer festival that goes with it.
    The Wareham service needed to be operated, but not many I suspect would have had much confidence in the mainline connections in a year of strikes plus the regular Weymouth line operating issues.
    Despite the objections of some on here, there were very few days where a six coach train was needed, yet pre Covid double the service 5 car trains seemed to be well filled.
    Then of course as the appeal says all the railways costs have rocketed, but fares have in effect remained static due to such good promotions as kids for a quid.
    Because it is a holiday destination, even if in reduced numbers it does sort of force the railway to run services for the main holiday season.
    I have no idea what all the paid staff do, but there will be many tasks that would be difficult to fill with volunteers on a regular reliable ongoing basis, the PW team for one springs to mind.
    It is a real rock and a hard place situation, reminds me of the last decade of my work life.
     
  3. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    Where the Swanage seem to perhaps lack is that they haven't really the room to add family entertainments/enticements that are different to others locally like for example the SVR and Bluebell have been able to. Or even a family fun way to look at the relevant historical side. Maybe post COVID many families are looking for something to entertain a bit longer than just a train trip.
     
  4. 80104

    80104 Member

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    The root causes of SRCs problems are many and varied. It is too simplistic to say that they are all as a result of COVID and its associated effects. The SRC business model just about worked with 200,000 plus passengers per annum. When it dropped to C150,000 - 160,000 without a corresponding reduction in costs then the storm clouds started to gather. Decisions taken on the presumption of 200,000 passengers per annum with no or limited cut out clauses if the passenger carryings werent sustained was a risk and that risk has now been exposed.

    The announcement by the railway as one would expect focus on the need to restructure and increase passenger numbers back to what they were. However to me this does seem to ignore that passengers are a sub set of visitors to the Isle of Purbeck. If visitor numbers are down then seeking to get a greater share of a declining market is a very challenging task indeed. That is not to be said it cant be done but the railway needs to look at matters afresh. One has to wonder whether the SRC Board has that ability to be truly creative or simply resort to the old formula of increasing the fares and shouting out at the roof tops for donations.
     
  5. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    I was late shift guard last Thursday with a very experienced driver. He said it was the hard work driving the T3. Sweat was running off him and it wasn't that warm.
     
  6. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant Well-Known Member

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    563 was 6 years with fundraising and finding out what condition it . Depending on the work required and how much money comes in,
    It was in Trackside recently.
     
  7. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    On your point about visitor numbers to uk seasides and staycations, interestingly a holiday park group in North Devon who I know the owners and management quite well haven’t had that problem -
    That suggests to me that there are still plenty of potential customers around, perhaps the problem is the product is unattractive to families or maybe it’s the price point? That isn’t unique to the Swanage Railway but it’s clear something is causing people to stay away, that is what needs to be worked out across the industry as it appears other markets are busier than ever.
     
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  8. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    I will admit, there is still money around, my guessing is people will pay for something special, or different, and for some a trip on a steam train isn't it, prehaps what you call shoulder attractions is what brings the money in, for many lines it was things like having a dining service, or a chance to experience behind the scenes, how are things like driving experiences selling, ?
     
  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well I guess the fact the Bluebell ran ice skating alongside the gala tells us all that the world has changed.
     
  10. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Perhaps Swanage Railway's consumer marketing isnt as effective or as extensive as it used to be. AFAIK they no longer produce a hard copy print timetable to be found in the leaflet racks in hotels, camping and caravan parks, supermarkets and Tourist Information Centres. Do they advertise in the Whats On In Dorset or Top Ten Attractions In Dorset Guides? Do they still go the the various Travel Trade and Consumer Holiday Shows they used to e.g. British Travel Trade Fair at NEC Birmingham or Destinations in London.

    Driver experiences sell very well indeed but AIUI due to ORR rules can only be operated when there is no other traffic operating on the line. ( i think they can operate on a section not being used at all that day for example from Norden Gates towards Worgret). There may well be a limit though to how many experiences you can sell in a year - it seems to me to be a limited market.

    Dining Trains have sold very well too but draw down on volunteer resources very heavily indeed and have become challenging to staff. There are also other resource challenges such as when to run them (time of year and time of day) and whether it needs a dedicated loco (lunchtime for example) or can use the day loco (evening dining). In any case the Wessex Belle is out of commission requiring an overhaul. Perhaps this is one of the difficult decisions the Company has referred to?
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2023
  11. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    But according to the chairman's reports won't be doing the ice skating next year with the gala.
     
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    So far, its just the Swanage Railway, that has in effect come clean with just how bad things are, I can fore see that in January, there will be a few that will be on the edge, some, will be tipped over the edge, especially if they started 2023, in debt, and have only gotten deeper into debt, where previously local authorities have provided grants, that have given a lifeline, theres little chance of that in 2024, and its not if, but when we will see some established lines, having to think the unthinkable,
     
  13. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    Other railways do driver experience on normal operating days
     
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  14. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    I think Bluebell have been quite open on the situation, regularly covered in the Chairman's weekly report and how they are managing it,
     
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  15. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    But thatts not the only family attraction they,ve run during the year, seem to have been many others like a mini farm, Peppa Pig etc. I think for some they,ve engaged other local attractions to come and in effect advertise themselves by activities.
     
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  16. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    One thing that does fascinate me is Swanange has been here before , more than once from recollection . It is a line that I really like , always enjoy visits and its catchment and position logically should make it very successful .

    But , Swanage is not alone . SVR has an appeal running , Bluebell challenging times I think , Giving passengers free returns or kids for a quid, does it really bring enough money in or are railways being busy fools ? . How many railways have gone from Santa special money carrying you from Jan to March to the money is already spent . Q1 2024 could be very challenging and I can only encourage members to put their hands in their pockets and support preserved railways and especially those in need

    on the question of DAL , a number of lines have been recommended not to run DAL on service days by the ORR . The logic I think is a non passed driver with control of the engine approaching signals
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Though interestingly this year Giants of Steam was said to be the most successful ever in income terms, whereas skating has been a bit patchy! (Probably not helped by the weather).

    I think one of the key things on the Bluebell this year has been a big variety of events aimed primarily at families; it has felt at times that almost every week there has been something going on. To a large extent though those events haven't had much impact on train service (i.e. we have just continued to run the normal service, and there have been additional things going on at stations).

    Not everything has worked, and we've had some quiet weeks. But it has felt this year that there has been a real effort on the commercial side to trade our way to a better position, not cut our way out of problems. Apart from the direct financial impact, my personal view is that that has had a markedly beneficial effect on morale as well.

    Tom
     
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  18. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Martin, I really suggest you have a look at this video from the SVR from earlier this year.
    Without sounding like willy waving this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

    I know Santa season’s coming up and it’s not really one for us gricers/cranks/supporters whatever.
    But maybe instead of criticising railway x because loco y hasn’t done this, that or the other. How’s about we just chuck a tenner to somewhere that we enjoy a visit to?
     
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  19. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    thats a post where a like is just not enough @Matt37401
     
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  20. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Improving the financial position, as in most if not all businesses, is a combination of increasing sales and cutting costs or at least not letting costs rise in tandem with increased revenue. One of the questions that SRC has to ask itself is "Can we get back to 200,000 passengers per annum in a post covid world where the tourism market and leisure spend has changed very considerably? Personally I think it is possible but to do so SRC will have to consider what would previously be unthinkable knowing that in doing so it could alienate a significant number of volunteers who are very heavily invested / emotionally attached to the tangible output of their personal contribution.
     
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