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Torbay Express 2016

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by TorbayTrains, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. sycamore

    sycamore New Member

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    I think the length of operating season and the number of two-train Jacobite days says everything about it's popularity! I'd work out the number of train miles if I could be bothered...
     
  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    With all due respect, VT's Shakespeare season is a much less intensive operation than the Jacobite. The former being two trains a day on just eight summer Sundays, 16 trains, whereas the Jacobite runs for 153 days, 11 weeks of Mon -Fri, some two trains a day, and 14 weeks of Sun - Sat. That's over two hundred trains.
     
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  3. sycamore

    sycamore New Member

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    Compared with a planned 7 TBEL...
     
  4. No.7

    No.7 New Member

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    Very interesting post with which I agree being one of the few regular timers still doing the runs. That said I have only done 1 TE this year because:
    - the Duchy offers more miles of steam;
    - the Duchy is much cheaper (and the TE is now seriously expensive);
    - some other commitments as well

    The comments on the atmosphere on the trains are very true. I believe TEx Ltd. deliberately targeted the dining market as opposed to Pastime that focused on families, remember when the TEs started they were 9 coaches, all standard. At time I think they packed in 55o people on a trip. A very different experience in those days. That said I think we should all be glad that TEx are successfully running the trains, I'm sure we all want them to continue! The comments about age profile are a concern however, the Duchy is in the same situation.
     
  5. Swan Age

    Swan Age New Member

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    Agree with the above comments.

    Its a shame that a Dawlish Donkey type operation couldn`t be resurrected between Exeter and Newton Abbot during the peak summer months that could be priced at a reasonable fare, but I suppose with the costs involved and various other factors mean that this type of operation is sadly unlikely to happen nowadays.
     
  6. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    I agree with most posts about the costs and changing face of trains, but the math shows something quite different in pure cost terms. If you look at this years Torbay Expresses, a full TSO brings in 64*£105, £6,720 and there are no frills, nothing on top, just a seat.
    A full FO brings in less, 42*£159, £6,678 and then you have to knock off the costs of coffees and teas twice a day and the danish pastries and whatever is provided for tea, and the element for Catering Staff costs.
    So the premise they make more out of an FO doesn't hold water. Not only do TSOs make more per carriage, it's mainly Standard Class folk who buy lots of goodies from the Buffet Car. Personally I think crossing the £100 price for a ticket has done more than anything to reduce the demand for Standard Class seating and we've been told the demand for Standard Class has fallen significantly while First has seen the opposite effect. Fortunately the TBEL operation is flexible and they've been able to change the consist of the train to match the bookings. It might be that next year just sees the Buffet with Standard Class seating. That will be OK by me. For the last few years we've booked four or five TBEs in advance under the 'last years price' offer to stay a year behind with increases. Did catch us out once, the 'walk away' diesel day but that was our choice not to travel. We'll do the same next year. Hopefully there will be an adequate number of available engines to run the whole series steam hauled in 2017. LSL should have Braunton, Royal Scot, Britannia and possibly Nunney Castle available. After this year I think they should book Tornado for at least one of the series as thanks for helping out at such short notice this year. They are definitely trains worth travelling on for enthusiasts and day trippers alike, the Westbury variant being the best for enthusiasts as it provides the noisy entertaining climbs of Somerton and Brewham the steep way on the return. Then there's the prospect of a high speed dash back from Bath to complete the day.
     
  7. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    I agree, although it's only a small difference, going from the 90's into the 100's in price makes it much more obviously expensive, a reason a lot of retail prices things at say £95.99, because it sounds better than £100 even though the difference is small.

    More worryingly, we seem to be reaching the point where a lot of people with families and/or other costly commitments are struggling to find/justify that kind of cash, bad enough when the trips a "one off" but for a repeat itinery which in theory should have lower overheads, is quite concerning, add in enthusiasts who are keeping their hands in their pocket currently due to uncertainty on many trips over it running as advertised or a diesel shoving all the way...

    The steam charter market isn't in too good health currently IMO and this needs looking at ASAP.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
  8. No.7

    No.7 New Member

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    This is a very impressive time Exeter (pass) to Whiteball (17 min 50 sec), the fastest I have seen claimed and certainly the fastest with load 12. The key seems to be the fast passage through Exeter. Previous the best I know of with 12 was also Tornado at 18 min 47 sec, so to improve by almost a minute is remarkable. I would be very interested to see the other key times on the Whiteball section!
     
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  9. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    I must admit to not have spent much time looking at the return timings in detail. I wasn't on the milepost side and used the reading on my GPS at MP194, the milepost outside the Signalling Centre at Exeter, to reference the climb to Whiteball, as well as standing and verifying various posts where possible. It was a storming climb but oddly didn't seem that fast.

    So, this is what my timings say. We passed Cowley Bridge Jn at 59 and passed MP192(sighted) at 60. We accelerated over the level stretch and passed Stoke Canon LC on the 1 in 217 at 65.5. Where the grade eased around MP189 (GPS), speed had risen to 68, this being the foot of the 1 in 343. Despite the slowly steepening grades we passed MP188 (sighted) at 69. Speed then rose to 71 on the level approach to Hele and Bradnich, the LC crossed at 72. On the varying grades of 1 in/292/523/824/333 for the next 3 miles our speed didn't drop below 71.4 and we passed the old Cullompton Station at 72. The 1 1/2 miles of 1 in 155 saw speed only fall to 67, and we picked that and more up over the falling grades through Tiverton Junction, passing MP179 (sighted) at 72. We roared through Tiverton Parkway at 72.6 and I didn't pick out any mileposts after that. The GPS said we passed MP 177 at 72 on the 1 in 242, and attacked the final 2 1/4 miles of 1 in 115 at 71, speed slowly falling to 62.8 at the end of the 1/4 miles of 1 in 212 at MP 174 1/4, the summit, which was just visible against the Tiverton Side of the Steel Trestle Bridge. Time to the summit from Exeter was 17mins 29secs. Our carriage - 10 1/2 back entered the tunnel at 65.7 in 17 mins 55.81secs, and burst out doing 74.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
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  10. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    Like Shireman I was at the back of the train so not as noisy as outward trip!

    Impressions were of a hard run without thrashing - plenty of locos have made much more noise over the last 2 miles to Whiteball - but Tornado's valve settings sound spot on.

    I'll get my log typed up over the weekend and will post here.
     
  11. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Sean - do you know who was crewing on the return? We couldn't get out at Taunton and I didn't get the chance to talk to Richard.
     
  12. 6026 King John

    6026 King John Member

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    I can answer that one - it was Steve Matthews, Steve Rodenhurst and Geoff Ewans
     
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  13. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    OK here's my log for the outward journey, maybe too much detail but it shows the speed fluctuations, or lack of in the Torquay area despite the switchback nature of the route.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    And here's my log of the return incl fast run from Exeter to Whiteball.
    I generally time to the infrastructure rather than mileposts these days as
    - I find mileposts increasingly difficult to spot. Old(er) age and/or too much foliage?
    - Standing at the droplights is now banned, and I may not have a seat on the milepost side. On this trip the posts swap over at Bradford (South) Jn
    - It get dark!
    My yardstick for Exeter - Whiteball - Taunton with steam will always be 60009 with 11 on in Feb 1995. A slow start from plat 6 at St Davids and over 4 mins to get out to Cowley Bridge, but then flew over the top in 20 mins from Exeter at around 70 mph. And that wasn't then end of the excitement....

    I also recall that on a dank December day in the same era, Clan Line topped Whiteball at 60mph with 12 on and produced similar speeds up Brewham from a 'photo stop' at Castle Cary, about half an hour after the theoretical sunset.

    So last Sunday, sat in the comfort of the buffet car near the back of the train, may not have seemed as exciting by comparison, but Tornado and its crew may just have produced the fastest steam run from Exeter to Whiteball, eclipsing even the pass-to-pass times achieved by the City class on the lightly loaded Ocean Mail specials in the early 20th Century. I need to check my Ossie Nocks...
     

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  15. No.7

    No.7 New Member

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    Thanks for posting the details and the log. Based on Sean's log the time of 17:51 is the fastest I know of. 1020Shireman notes 17:29 which would be spectacular especially as the signalling centre was noted as the reference which is slightly before the station.

    The best from a standing start (AFAIK) is 71000 on 19/9/10 with a time of 18:58 (11 coaches). 60163 has also bettered 60009 from a standing start.

    I use the station footbridge in Exeter as the reference for the start as it is easy to spot and closer to the position from a standing start, I think C.J. Allen recommended this (from what I recall...)
     
  16. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    Yes 2010 was a good year for performance on the Torbay Express.

    Back to 11/09/2016, Shireman's time was from Exeter to the over bridge at milepost 174 1/4, whereas I timed to the OB at 174m 02ch - close to the former Whiteball 'box. Note that MP 174 is the Network Rail timing point for Whiteball.

    At Exeter I time to the North Station Footbridge (NSFB) - the one with the lifts - as this is at the station centre.

    Some articles on previous runs have referenced the times for the 20 miles from MP194 at the south end of St Davids to MP 174 at Whiteball. So for comparison the times (from Paignton) were 36m 54s at MP 194 and 54m 53 at MP 174, that's 17m 59s pass to pass for 20 miles, which works out at 66.7 mph ave.
     
  17. No.7

    No.7 New Member

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    Ah, that explains it, thanks for the clarification. I use MP174 as the summit which is easy to spot, but obviously only a short distance from the last bridge.
     
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  18. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    It's made more confusing by the Mainline Gradient Profiles Books using the 'old mileposts' via the B&H, not the current ones via BTM. I tend use the top of the 1 in 115, MP174 1/4 as the summit for outright performance purposes. From experience this has been the 'slowest speed' point of the climb. Quite agree that MP174 at the end of the short 1 in 212 is the summit. My MP194 to MP174 time was 17m55.7s.
     
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