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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's not in dispute - my observation was specifically about what the large number on the payroll line actually represents in terms of the overall cost base of the railway.
     
  2. Jupiter

    Jupiter New Member

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    Nobody wants to see redundancies, no one. I’ve been there many years ago and it’s dreadful, but you need to decide which is worse, fewer jobs or no jobs and no railway. I wish everyone well in these difficult times.
     
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  3. 80104

    80104 Member

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    In some of his communications the Chairman of the SRT has stated that the financial challenges faced by Swanage Railway were becoming more and more apparent pre covid. The former Treasurer of the SRT in his column in the Swanage Railway Magazine pre covid regularly highlighted the lack of working capital the SRC "suffered from" and the need to borrow from the SRT to get through the winter. Concern has to be expressed that the Boards were not more vigorous in tackling the underlying financial issues before the financial storm of Covid and Post Covid events.

    My suggestion re using the Class 33 and a rake of mainline registered coaches for the Wareham service should have included a reference to compliance with all the other regulatory and operational requirements for a mainline service. As you have raised the issue though, it is worth mentioning the monies already spent by SRC / SRT with Rail Business Solutions on preparatory works for an application for the appropriate licence.

    We can debate the issues, possible remedies, pros and cons of each and every action suggested ad nauseum but the reality, if the Directors are to be believed, is that there is a very large financial gap requiring C£450K to get the railway through the winter. Unless actions are taken soon, savings found and donations received, any debates we have will become of academic interest only.
     
  4. Tom02

    Tom02 New Member

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    At this rate we wont have much of a railway, the dinning stock is out of action as far as im aware. At least the two passenger carrages from that break in.

    Its looking like another reduction in services, perhaps 1 steam during weekends only for 2024 apart from for Easter and Summer holidays where maybe they could run an extra diesel service?

    450k is a serious amount of money to want over just a few months. Surly the need to put out a plan within a few weeks IF they want people to give them money.

    I lOVE the railway but it does seem like something has gone wrong at the top if they are 450k short over Winter and they are only just saying it now in November.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2023
  5. Brockenman

    Brockenman New Member

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    Where does it look like being 1 steam weekends only in 2024 and the use of an extra diesel service at Easter and in the summer holidays,i haven't seen this any where.Providing the railway starts operating in the new year ie the half term in February I'm sure it will be steam everyday.
     
  6. Tom02

    Tom02 New Member

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    I hope so but if the money really isn't there.......
    Clearly even the 2024 reduction of services isn't enough. If 1 steam doesnt bring much revenue during summer, not looking too promising for midweek steam doing for example May ... time will tell
     
  7. 007

    007 Member

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    Swanage Railway faces extraordinary change ahead. It must focus on commercial activity to increase footfall and visitor spend. This is going to be an up hill battle but even when we had a commercial manager a few years ago, we made little progress. So something more fundamental is probably needed.

    This is a time of jeopardy for sure, but I feel that most people on the ground are actually excited by the change about to come. The railway needs cash now, but on the plus side is virtually completely externally debt free. However, cash is king.

    I would say that it is quite interesting to read all these comments. Some supportive, most of them aren't though. This is a railway that has owned up to its problems and made it public so it doesn't die. Perhaps support it maybe?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2023
  8. MAPLE CHRIS

    MAPLE CHRIS Member

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    How many staff does the Swanage Railway employ staff costs have increased a lot since covid and it would appear that railways who have to employ staff to run a service are the ones struggling financially more volunteers would be great but less people are doing this so leaving railways no option but to employ staff to generate revenue.
     
  9. lil Bear

    lil Bear Part of the furniture

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    Some would say the reductions was too much, over the summer there was a few occasions it was standing room only. Non-preferred on a commuter service, surely not acceptable for a tourist attraction? The issue isn't about running too many trains, the issue is that visitor numbers have dropped significantly - and its in the area as a whole not just the railway.

    So the railway needs to find ways of increasing visitor numbers and/or visitor spend. The bucket/spade brigade no longer seem to be the reliable source of income they once were. The AGM brought some fresh blood into the CoM, here's hoping they can bring some fresh impetus with it.
     
  10. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    Already I think covered earlier in the thread

    Sent from my SM-A526B using Tapatalk
     
  11. 80104

    80104 Member

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    39 FTE at a cost of just under £1.1M per annum.

    The railway doesnt provide a breakdown of those staff by department / role.

    I dont think there are a large number of staff in "revenue generating roles". The majority seem to be in Locomotive Carriage and Wagon, Permanent Way and Operations with comparatively few in Passenger Services, Finance, Catering and Estate Management.

    It is easier to recruit and retain volunteers in some departments than others. Catering is an example of a challenging department to staff with volunteers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2023
  12. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    As I’ve said before, quoting big numbers for staff costs is pretty meaningless without knowing what proportion of turnover and all costs the staff salaries etc are.
    Eg if a company turns over £20M with staff costs of £1M, its staff costs are 5%.

    The two SR departments you mention both have fewer paid staff than BC.

    In my opinion, Swanage Railway was foolish to cut the Sales/Marketing/Commercial Manager post. Whether you were the incumbent or not.

    Selling the Railway, and building secondary spend are business critical.
     
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  13. 80104

    80104 Member

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    I was answering the post slightly upthread hence the repetition of the data.

    Salaries represent about 30% of turnover.

    I still believe that some costs could be reduced but as you say selling the railway and building secondary spend are crucial.

    Swanage Railway has to give the general public a reason to visit the railway and spend money.

    It needs to be enjoyable, engaging and informative; giving a great day out at a value for money price.

    There is a lot that can be done but the SRC Directors and staff need to allow change to take place and not denigrate experiments as has been the case in the past.(though in fairness the fish and chip trains are a good example of innovation).

    Here is one very simple idea I would try. It will cost very little if anything but a little bit of redecoration.

    Remove the shelving racks in the shop that cover the windows on the road side so that the windows revert to being windows. Introduce window displays possibly including a scrolling electronic display that shows selected prices and products.

    Yes it does mean a loss of racking space but the railway has to be prepared to experiment and innovate.

    Not everything will work but low cost or cost contained experiments have to be tried.

    I would also look at all the stuff that has been discontinued: the summer music train, the carol train, witches and wizards week at half term, teddy bears picnic, character event days such as Bob The Builder.

    Corfe Castle Station is Swanage Railway's jewel in the crown but currently it does not generate much secondary spend income but chapeau to Amanda and team for their work in the former birds nest buffet.

    There is a huge amount that could be done at Corfe Castle Station but this means using the space differently. There is huge resistance to any suggestion of change at Corfe castle Station and that is a huge pity. It is the one space that can be used to generate significant secondary spend.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2023
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  14. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    Hi "80104"
    Have you submitted your ideas to the Council of management?
     
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  15. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Yes I have submitted ideas in the past - not all of them - but then do not hear back.

    I will resubmit my ideas though as I think all ideas even if submitted before do need to be reconsidered.
     
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  16. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    So is there room at Corfe to do some of the children's activities like Bluebell have done like petting zoo etc. Maybe face painting ? How about an Artisan food event ? At a recent visit to a National Trust they had an Artisan Bakers stall that seemed to be pretty busy for example.
     
  17. paul1609

    paul1609 New Member

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    I believe that the last meeting of "The Southern Six" where representatives of the railways meet to discuss the "golden bullets" was actually held in the observation car at the Swanage Railway on 26th October. I dont get any sense of a "we're alright, jack" attitude between the railways in the south-east.
     
  18. 80104

    80104 Member

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    The Boiler House Gallery adjacent to the Station (and with easy access using a ramp from the down platform) often run events. SRC should collaborate with them but would need to come up with some form of mechanism to monetise that collaboration.

    The area by the Buffet Carriage could be used for events. Ideally there needs to be some form of canopy for inclement weather.

    The Diesel Gala shows just what can be done at Corfe Castle Station. (Beer Marque, Food etc etc).
     
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  19. Woof Mk2

    Woof Mk2 Member

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    You are not the only one
     
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  20. lancahsirelad

    lancahsirelad New Member

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    With a new year starting for the Council of Management I hope that with the arrival of some new and younger trustees plus a new chairman will allow the Trust to start with new ideas and renewed impetus that will allow members and volunteers to buy in and assist the Trust to improve.
     
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