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The Talyllyn in trouble ?

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Baldwin, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    I disagree. Having said that i am not advocating that on each page one has the choice of only two buttons either !!
     
  2. age4047

    age4047 New Member

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  3. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Why not sell the original CR locos back to the Corris Railway!! ;)
     
  4. Talyllyn07

    Talyllyn07 New Member

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    personally would like to see 7 mothballed if any TR engine tbh! take on the last in first out mentality :p plus it's got less historical importance to Wales than the rest of them IMO.
     
  5. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there is much wrong with the website. I haven't looked at it for a while but found my way around easily. One thing did annoy me. To buy something from the on-line shop using PayPal one has to fill in a billing details form first. This is unnecessary as PayPal has all the information already. That will be losing sales.
     
  6. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely right - the appeal for donations is just a sticking plaster. The cost base is just too high for the number of passengers.
     
  7. hussra

    hussra New Member

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    I've just been taking a salutary look back at some of the old backups of the web site from the late 90s and early 2000s... fascinating! One of the things about the TR web site is that of course it was to the best of my knowledge the very first heritage railway web site (at the very end of 1994), and in retrospect it has largely changed since then by the bolting on of new bits rather than reworking of existing stuff. (A small amount of the existing content - stuff, to be fair, which really doesn't change much from year to year, like the description of the route - seems somehow miraculously to have survived pretty much word for word as I wrote it 18 years ago!) Back then there really wasn't much to go on in figuring out how to organise such a thing, since the whole idea of a web site for a steam railway was new. It ain't any more.

    Something vaguely recognisable as the current top menu - Home, About, Travel, Services, Enthusiasts etc - appeared I think in late 2001. I stood down as webmaster in late 2006; I think the current (Drupal based) iteration of the site appeared some time in 2009ish, though obviously it has continued to evolve since then - this was when the big sidebar on the right appeared; I have never quite got my head around how this relates to the "Travel" and "Facilities" sections.

    Richard Huss, TR webmaster 1994-2006
     
  8. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    Cant see many arguing with this, poor old 7. I think the ideal line-up would be the original TR and original Corris engines.

    Perhaps I was a tad liberal with saying if members want to pay for it then why not. I would advocate that any kind of financial support for locos would include the cost of maintaining and running costs along with it. This may create dizzying sums, but there are people with dizzying sums of money in the bank. I think we should adjust any firm plan to try and accommodate any such benefactors who wish to do this carefully. A Fundraising Officer would have to steer these kind of benefactors in the right direction..

    Any benefactors who would want to donate into a hugely worthwhile fulfilling project for the Talyllyn would be steered to the carriage sheds.
     
  9. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    What would you cut Michael?
     
  10. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    +1

    Tom is absolutely bang-on the money here, but recognising that money and skilled people are a bit thin on the ground, looking to tweak what's there based on the information available would probably be the best idea. I got halfway through a post a while back, slightly bemoaning the fact that people seemed to expect a new website to magically appear from nowhere, seamlessly connected to someone ready and able to maintain it.

    For all it's not ideal, the site isn't that bad, just a bit busy, and it looks as though a lot of hard work has gone into it. Google Analytics is embedded, so I would recommend looking at the top 10-15 things that people are searching for to reach the site, and the journey they take through the site, and working to optimise around that. Where links or pages aren't popular, de-prioritise them (i.e. don't link from the home page) or remove them.

    Focus on the text on the page, make sure it is well written, neat, brief, using simple popular terms. ECommerce is a nice idea, but it places much greater demands (technically and in terms of responsibility) for the poor sod keeping the thing up and running.

    If there is money available to move to a different model, of a professionally developed site, with content maintained by volunteers, make sure you're buying something sustainable - talk to other charities with successful websites to find out who does it for them, what it costs and how they pay for maintainenance. Don't just assume that a local 12yr old will knock one up for you for a deep pan pizza, and that it will run indefinitely. Websites need constant change, update and improvement; it's not a once every 10 years investment.

    Simon
     
  11. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    Brilliant informative posts Tom and Simon.

    Analytics are thoroughly studied, one such example was the amount of searches looking for Talyllyn Real Ale, so Marketing obliged and added in more detail.
     
  12. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    number of trains and number of operating days would be a start
     
  13. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    I'll have No.7 if no-one wants it. Always enjoy a day out on her.
     
  14. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    I thoroughly enjoyed the day when she was named by Sonia
     
  15. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    My favourite loco.
     
  16. Talyllyn07

    Talyllyn07 New Member

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    well you and Ellis fight over it and the winner can have it in their garden/garage :p
     
  17. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Surely no. 7 being the most recently built loco is the one that should be kept in regular service? To me, it sums up the revival of the TR, and is a very good looking loco - TR should be proud of it. They are all gems though.

    One problem is the almost unique gauge. Enthusiasts expect guest engines, and apart from borrowing a CR 'Tattoo' there isn't much scope for this. But I love the unspoiled feel of the TR.

    John
     
  18. AndrewT

    AndrewT New Member

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    Discussions about which locos to keep running aren't relevant to the question in hand.

    To survive, railways must appeal to the 60 million 'normal' people in the UK rather than the relatively tiny number of enthusiasts who either travel free, at a discount or stand lineside taking pictures and contribute nothing. Without Mr & Mrs Average and their 2.4 kids bringing money in, no railway can survive for the enthusiasts to play on. Remember that many of these people have never been on a train at all and can't tell the difference between a steam and a diesel loco, even if it's got a face stuck on the front.

    While it's important that the heritage is preserved, it cannot survive if the company responsible for it isn't commercially viable.
     
  19. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    I agree with all this. I too get the impression that there are those who aren't taking this seriously enough, maybe they know the multi-millionaire ready to pick up the pieces !
     
  20. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    Who isn't taking it seriously enough?
     

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