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the future of A2 Blue Peter ???

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by patrickalanbooth, May 28, 2012.

  1. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with the previous post. Mostly self justifying theorising and irrelevant to 60532. I'll challenge only one thing in regard to 60532, which is the rubbish about it "losing its place in the market". IMHO, the longer that 60532 is away from the main line, the greater the impact when it does return.

    When it comes to 60163 a few realities are conveniently ignored. The changes to the boiler design were forced on the A1SLT by practicality. Copper fireboxes are on their way out due to the difficulty of obtaining the material and so a change is going to have to be made sooner or later. It isn't surprising that there have been problems. 60163 is used fairly intensively but in a sub-optimal way compared to BR days. Back then overhauls came at something like 18-month to 2 year intervals and that would have included major boiler work. And apart from the different design of firebox, what has been done to try to increase the power output?

    In terms of finance, 60163 is probably the best organised group there is. Look at others such as the 710000 group for example. Their last overhaul was HLF funded and yet there's nothing in the kitty, similar position with 6203. Main line engines of any size are a money pit.


    Stick to taking photos would be my advice!
     
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  2. northernsteam

    northernsteam New Member

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    Just a brief comment on the previous 2 posts. Being the 1st 'large engine' new build project we have a lot to thank A1 Trust for, including the changes to the regulations for running mainline engines.
    Other groups are benefitting from their experience and knowledge. They continue to push the engineering knowledge and expertise, by trial and error if necessary, same as always really.
    'Blue Peter' is a very different case, NELPG have proved their ability to restore and repair this locomotive without even having ownership and to me they would be a preferred custodian, I am biased though. Their problem, perhaps. is similar to other loco groups, aging skilled workforce and a stock of other engines which need regular maintenance, therefore calls on the funds.
    If it is true that the mainline steam may not have much longer to go, (which year did that rumour start?), we already have increased the mileage of heritage lines incredibly over recent years, there are many smaller secondary routes which could be used, away from the frantic traffic of the mainlines.
    Should a suitable 'custodian group' be appointed then I am also certain that funds would be available to support its restoration, but are people prepared to finance the restoration of a privately owned locomotive nowadays, that has to be the problem.

    As always, these are my opinions, without any reference to my membership of groups.
     
  3. louis.pole

    louis.pole New Member

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    He's saying what many think. I.e he questions the A1 Trust fitness to care for another engine.

    And that could start a further debate about the P2 - but we won't go there.
     
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  4. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    As this is a Blue Peter thread, I'm not going to rise to some of the bait above. Needless to say the A1 Trust have achieved what many said was impossible, and have ended up with a very successful new build. The loco's reliability has been streets ahead of that of many mainline performers and the organisation behind her is the envy of many other groups who are struggling to emulate their success. Sound rather like sour grapes to me. If Mr Hat isn't happy with the information flow to the Covenantors he is, of course, free to cease his contributions any time (assuming he is one in the first place ;) )
     
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  5. The Black Hat

    The Black Hat Member

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    It is all relavent to the return of 60532. In some regards you are right, the return of the A2 would have a big effect and impact on the enthusiasts market, but that is small compared to the general market aimed at the travelling public. There are now regular summer season trains (Torbay Express, SSE, Waverley, Dalesman, Jacobite) to take the public out on the mainline to experience something similar to what it was like, but these are all filled by the public and not really regular enthusiasts. The rest of the season is based on tours from one destination to another, but operate in the same format just for one day only - most even repeat at the same time of year annually. The role of engines and their owners has changed signficantly since the invent of privisation and of open access for railtours. This means that engines and owners sign agreements for regular running on the mainline with an operating company that organises the tour for a promotor. The latter know Blue Peter would be a big name to have return, but should it become unreliable it will soon be dropped from the tour listings. No one wants a bad day out that then the promotor has to return cash for and the operator has to give performance delay compensation to network rail, who pick up the rest of the tab. As a result regular performers on the mainline with a great track record, cue 60009, 45305, 46233, 5043, 70013 and 35028, are booked and hired as it works for all partiles involved to bring the maximum return. Dont forget 45407/44871 which are renown for rescuing events and tours booked for other engines which have subsequently failed. 60532 would have to cement a new relationship with these parties involved for its long term success. These engines have it already and companies would no doubt want to book 60532 on its return but it MUST be successful and reliable otherwise it will not retain its place in the league of reliable engines.

    Running steam engines on the mainline is now big business and with it comes risks and reputation. Sadly most enthusiasts dont see how its changed and still think that tours are just easily organised and run without consequences. Its been a long time since that was the case.

    So wheres all the money gone? How come the tender isnt actually paid for (despite the obvious impressions that the 'engine' which youd assume was engine and tender was built and paid for by grants and coverentors)? How come the only reason the bond is returned early due to a legacy from someone? How come Tornado needed another fund for its own support coach? All this with the engine now built, earning from the mainline and covernentors are still paying for it, rather than an anual membership! Or does Tornado cost £100 a year and everyone else £20? Engines on the mainline do cost a lot, but even other engines on the mainline manage to meet their next overhaul costs in advance. 60532 did last time under NELPG, 60009 did before her fast turn round at Crewe, the Duchess is another that did I believe as is 45407, and Leander. I have no doubt 45305 will and 5043 might also. Funny how they are all previously mentioned and share one thing in common. Opperator and performance = bookings and income.

    Coffee and screen/keyboard interface issues there....

    Yes Im saying what many others think, and youd be surprised who I've spoken to on this. I didnt want to go here, but the question was posed to me. It does link to looking after the A2, and as I said before a good custodian group or operating company would be a better option than the A1 trust. The best thing for 60532 would be to be overhauled by Riley and run by WCRC. Keep the A1 trust away from it.
     
  6. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    OK - there's one point I'll have to address, as I'm completely baffled by the accusation that
    Boiler pressure and cylinder diameter as per the original - be it Saint Mungo or any other member of the class. So where is the extra power coming from, and how does extra power = boiler problems? As with Scotsman, extra power = frame trouble. Any problems with the boiler stem from it being a new design, and can be addressed for the P2 if this proves necessary, though since the initial problems were addressed the relaiabily has been good. Also, your beloved St Mungo doesn't appear to be roller-bearing fitted throughout - another good reason for not replicating exactly that design.
     
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  7. Foxhunter

    Foxhunter Member

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    "Of course, in general the A1 Trust is actually very good at operating Tornado." Now David / Mr. Black Hat, that is called damning with faint praise! I am not going to bother picking apart all the trite nonsense that has been written in this thread because it should be focussed on Blue Peter, not rubbishing the A1SLT. Clearly you must be very closely involved with the Trust to have access to so much information and yet you choose to employ a scatter gun of inaccuracies have a go at almost everything they have achieved!

    One thing I must ask though, is why were WRC 'right not to operate Tornado'? What justifies an off the cuff statement like that? Another question is how on earth the Trust have managed to 'increase the cylinder power' of the A1 and in what way will this cause 'more stress on the boiler' rather than the running gear or frames? Fascinating concepts that would benefit from your elaboration please?

    Apple green? Simple, although there was a ground swell for BR green (duly delivered), I believe apple green was the preferred livery of Dorothy Mather who was able to enjoy the loco in this form while she was still active, now alas she is much less mobile and unable to attend Trust events.

    Yes, before you ask, I am a covenantor of many years and I am happy with the way the Trust is run. If you are one as well, you have two options, either take up your perceived grievances with the board (though what you are trying to achieve eludes me) or vote with your feet and shut up.

    As for 60532, I'd love to see her back in Darlington, possibly benefiting from a joint NELPG/A1SLT initiative and sharing a boiler pool with No. 60163 and No. 2007.

    Foxy
     
  8. The Black Hat

    The Black Hat Member

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    I'd actually agree with a lot of what you have said and stand corrected on the issue of the cylinders being different size. I know the boiler has been tweaked which has caused issues, but as for my comment on the cylinders being different size Im happy to be corrected. Course I realise that this corrects a large issue of what I have just said previously, but Im honest enough to admit where Im wrong and stand to have been corrected on it.

    And now... back to the A2! ;)
     
  9. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    I could correct all the other stuff too - but life's too short. I'll ask the mods to remove the whole lot.

    Suggest you check your facts before rubbishing other organisations in future.
     
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  10. The Black Hat

    The Black Hat Member

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    Err I think not. Im happy to show Ive been corrected on the engineering issue, but as for 60532s place in the market, and Tornados operation in that area there. I think you'll leave it right where it is and let everyone else make their minds up. Thats debate and not censorship...
     
  11. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Really, I would suggest David that removal of all the above is for the best - because one thing is for certain, it says nothing about whether the A1 Trust know what they are doing, but I think you are still right that people will read it and make their minds up on other matters..........

    Steven
     
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  12. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Alternatively, use the edit button and amend your posts by removing anything that you can't substantiate or have simply made up?
     
  13. The Black Hat

    The Black Hat Member

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    Okay, on that advice I'll follow what you reccomend....
     
  14. Steamage

    Steamage Member

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    I'm sure Blue Peter would be able to find work, if overhauled. We've seen several times in recent years that there's room for another mainline-certified loco or two, especially if it has a keen support crew willing and able to step in at fairly short notice to cover when another loco goes sick. It's true that a gauge-friendly, 75-mph class 5-7 (Std 5, Britannia or Bulleid Light Pacific) makes an even better understudy, but a class 8 with a distinctive appearence, family relationship with FS and Tornado, and a well-known name, should be a good prospect. Of course, despite previous references to mainline steam being "big business", we all understand that mainline steam hardly covers its costs and loco owners, in particular, need to suppliment rail-tour income from other sources - don't we?

    The obstacles have been mentioned already. Assuming her present owners don't have a change of heart and fund another overhaul, you need:
    • a seller willing to accept a sensible price;
    • a buyer willing to fund an overhaul and running repairs,
    • a support/custodian group with enough skills, enthusiasm and flexibility to operate and maintain her
    • an agreement between owner and custodians that makes the relationship clear and amicable, and builds up a fund for future repairs
    • suitable premises for overhaul, maintenance and to keep the paint clean while not in use ;-)
    We all seem to be assuming that the owner will not be the same as the custodian society, which I think is right. The days of a group of like-minded enthusiasts banding together and raising the purchase price of a celebrity locomotive (A4 soc, MNLPS, NELPG et al) are probably long gone. Unless the Drury family makes a present of Blue Peter to NELPG or a similar group, we are left to hope for a wealthy individual (or perhaps a small group if them) to step in. Unless and until that happens, the rest of this discussion is of academic interest only.
     
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  15. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    At the end of the day if you own something and like owning it and dont need to sell it you can name your price... we dont have the right to demand that its restored and run, the owners may be more inclined to gift it to the NRM when the time comes at which point it will have as much chance of being out again as Green Arrow...:(
     
  16. 60525

    60525 New Member

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    Welcome to National Preservation
     
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  17. 63601

    63601 New Member

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    6990 Witherslack Hall will not be going mainline

    Many Thanks,
     

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