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Vintage Trains - 2021

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Will RL, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Despite the light having gone for photography, as it was a dry and not very cold evening, we stayed to watch and listen to the Duchess climbing Llanvihangel Bank. Surprised to hear a number of slips before she came into view at Pandy; and then there were a few more over the final mile we watched despite the steady continuous diesel assistance. Never seen a steam locomotive slip as many times on the bank, not even on a frosty night. None of the service trains had any issues. Was there any slipping on Old Hill?
     
  2. LittleRedTrain

    LittleRedTrain New Member

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    Yes, from the back, there seemed to be quite a lot of slipping on Old Hill as well, along with significant diesel assistance.

    Not a trip for the loco performance enthusiast, but otherwise a good day out, despite the delays, and none of the issues were in any way VT's fault.
    It also helped that the weather played ball, with the low sun and autumn foliage adding glorious colour to the scenery along the Marches.

    The on-train staff continue to be excellent, they were keeping us informed as best as possible and were even handing out feedback forms on the return journey to get input from passengers and suggestions for future destinations, which is a nice touch.
    Most of my feedback that I'd sent VT after the Cardiff trip had been resolved on this one, the only outstanding issue still being the refusal to publish provisional times on the website!

    Looking forward to hopefully travelling with VT again soon.
     
  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    from video footage , yes through the station
     
  4. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Wonder if the slipping is due to tyre wear? Lost track of 6233 a bit over the last few years. Seem to remember she was due to be re-tyred but not sure if she was.
     
  5. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    I’d have thought that the profiles would be checked as part of the FTR?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  6. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Hang on a minute. It is November after all. Surely slipping is due to the seasonal railhead conditions, hence the wise precaution of having a diesel on the rear.

    Peter
     
  7. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Yes, a couple of very big slips on Old Hill, the loco seemed to have issues putting its power down on all of the banks today. We had a go at the bottom of Old Hill, but successive slips took us below 20mph and the diesel cut in. This was the pattern on all of the climbs. Perhaps not one for the performance enthusiast, but I heard more than once that the diesel was welcome today - especially when we were stopped at Craven Arms and a very likely possibility was us heading back North.

    A day of mixed emotions really. The first part was great, with some especially spirited running between Wolverhampton and Telford. The climb to Church Stretton was very poor and as others reported we were down to 15mph before the diesel assisted.
    Then we were stopped at Craven Arms. The guard Jamie (whose communication was outstanding throughout), quickly made us aware of the seriousness of the situation. We were lucky in that we were stopped at a station. Passengers could get out, 6233 had a supply of water. It seems there was very close co operation between staff and Network Rail and again we were kept updated well. The cafe and chip shop did some good business and there were some concerns that when the green light came (earlier than expected) we were going to leave some behind - staff checked several times whether anyone was missing and dispatched a steward to the chip shop!
    By the time we got to Hereford, 4 hours had shrunk to 90 minutes and thoughts were positive for an on time departure, but the chaos on the platforms was a prelude to what was to come. Several service trains were given priority, despite lengthy gaps between them - however, watering also took longer than expected as crews looked to get enough on board to get us home - a good move as it turned out.
    The climb to Llanfihangel was mired by a signal check at Pontrilas and a warning to run at reduced speed due to trespassers (clearly some had missed the news from this morning). Some fast running through Abergavenny, but we still lost time.
    Then we had a sudden brake application at Caldicot, apparently down to a train in the area sending out an emergency warning.
    Running was measured to Gloucester, where we were indeed able to skip the water stop (Hereford to Tyseley without a water stop, got to be close to a preservation record?).
    From Kidderminster we caught up a service train and any further opportunities for time recovery were gone, with a 90 minute deficit at Snow Hill.
    So my thoughts are pragmatic. The day was mired in the tragedy of a loss of life. The railway as a whole was in recovery mode as a result and the Duchess had to slot in. That she did competently and ran well when given the chance. The late running meant a lot of the trip was in the dark and rail head conditions were clearly against us.
    However, all credit to Vintage Trains. The staff were brilliant. The service in Club Class was spot on and everyone made the best of what was a challenging day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
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  8. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Quite right. Leaf fall is prolific, the conditions damp. A powerful loco with big driving wheels and a heavy train. Sounds like quite the recipe..
     
  9. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

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    I'm not going to try to speak for VT but I was the guard on the outward journey from Tyseley to Hereford (there were actually 2 of us, one working out to Hereford, one working back, we have very similar styles you might say but I'm 6ft 2 and rather large and Jamie is a somewhat more slender fellow ;)!) and I would like to say thanks to our passengers for their unending patience and good humour - I had a wander around the train speaking to people whilst we were stood and the attitude from literally everybody was superb and made dealing with the situation far easier. I have been a train guard for a number of years now (as has Jamie) on the national rail network so it is sadly not something new to me to have to deal with but the volunteer stewards and other staff, particularly the caterers, took everything in their stride and got on with it and I was very proud of them - the passenger feedback we received really reflected that and they acquitted themselves well.

    The railhead was truly awful in places with numerous slips and slides noted, particularly on the lightly used sections of the line between Soho and Perry Barr and Bescot and Wolverhampton, as well as approaching Wellington where for whatever reason the train was routed through the platform. I'm not a technical man when it comes to steam locomotives so I can't really comment beyond that.

    To briefly address what happened at Hereford itself, we were probably too optimistic in hope of getting everything sorted in time after a long morning - however a problem with the access gate (despite a large number of railway workers in the support crew and train crew, nobody had a key to the very odd lock on the gate!) which meant a trail of hoses had to built under the gate to the tanker, and with the water tanker's pump (which the VT engineering staff helped the driver fix to get up to pressure to deliver water over 100 metres to the loco) did not help matters along with the delayed service trains in the area.

    Hopefully one we can repeat a bit earlier in the year!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
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  10. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    Concur wuth the various teports, except that control held a stopper in the loop at Kiddy, and we actually had a clear run to Snow Hill.
     
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  11. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Apologies Alex, I only caught Jamie's name - you were both equally excellent!

    Thanks for the insight at Hereford, these bits of information really help get an understanding of what is going on. The key to great customer service is to be honest and open. If people know what is happening then they are generally far more understanding when things don't go to plan. That is what worked so well yesterday
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
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  12. Leviathan

    Leviathan New Member

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    The trip up the Lickey with 6233 next Saturday afternoon could be interesting. The comparison with 7029 on the morning run will be fascinating. I am on the morning trip.

    I note that although there seems to be confirmation that these runs will be 'unassisted', for now I am only assuming that this applies to the return trip, my questions posed in #546 not having been answered.

    Hopefully the tickets and timings will be available shortly.

    Nick M.
     
  13. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    IMG_20211113_112442.jpg IMG_20211113_112719.jpg IMG_20211113_202943.jpg Couple from Craven Arms and at journey's end (for us), Birmingham Snow Hill.
     
  14. Jamie C. Steel

    Jamie C. Steel New Member

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    When I became aware of the likely delay to the set arriving back into the platform at Hereford I made arrangements for the senior steward on the tour to be told so that he could disseminate the information to passengers. Unfortunately it was a bigger challenge than it should have been due to a non-standard lock fitted to the access gate requiring a far longer than usual pipe to pump water to the loco as well as more vertical difference than there should have been. The water pressure at Craven Arms would have had issues filling up a toilet cistern let alone a 5,000 gallon tender so not much water was able to be taken there. I understand this also caused issues for Tornado later in the day as well with a much greater delay caused to that service.

    Very glad to hear the positive comments, especially that people's criticisms from earlier this year have been rectified. Very few negative comments seemed to be received yesterday despite everything, no doubt thanks to the hard work of all the staff onboard the train pulling all the stops out, especially the two volunteers in the buffet car dispensing the hot drinks to everybody almost non stop for the hours at Craven Arms. Having managed a stranded train before formed of a 2 car 158 it's certainly much easier to deal with a train that has catering facilities to dispense a cup of tea to everybody.
     
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  15. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

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    Thank you, all of the guards now working for Vintage Trains either are or have been train guards, managers etc with a railway customer service background and as a team we have made it our aim to work with the other on train staff and engage with our customers - in the past where contracted freight operators have provided traincrew for charter services it has perhaps been more usual for the guard to work in a traditional trainman role (not surprising given they're often ground staff who've undertaken additional passenger guard training) and have little if anything to do with engaging with the passengers and other staff on the train.

    We don't think that's the best way of doing things and like to work as a member of the customer facing team on the train, albeit leaving more of the direct personal interactions at your seat to the stewards - they do their job well and we don't want to tread on their toes, particularly particularly they're delivering a food service on a moving train!
     
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  16. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    That was much appreciated at Kidderminster, there was a lot of traffic around us and we didn't expect 'You' to get a clear run through the station.
     
  17. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    I'd guess the 47 will hitch a ride to Worcester to help with the turning on the first train then run light to Bromsgrove to be on standby. Possibly it will run light engine again back to Worcester for the turning of the second train and repeat its earlier movements. A clear run from Droitwich to Blackwell is paramount.
     
  18. bleeder4

    bleeder4 Member

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    I would just like to echo previous comments about the professionalism and service of the on-board staff yesterday. We were kept well informed throughout by train crew, consummate professionals who dealt admirably with the aftermath of a horrible incident. Even the little things like arranging for teas/coffees at the buffet to be free during the Craven Arms layover made all the difference. Everyone was smiling and in good spirits, I honestly can't think of anything I could fault. Despite all that happened, I arrived home with a smile on my face after an enjoyable day out with the Duchess.
     
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  19. Davo

    Davo Member

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    Many thanks again to Vintage and a very well organised support crew and stewards on the train when all the passengers thought it was the final curtain for the welsh Marches at Craven arms in the event someone was struck between Hereford and Craven arms and the vintage stewards did very well to keep all us passengers in order and updated what the situation was with N.R. and B.T.P. to fairly swiftly get the marches line opened after a 2 hour delay and even giving us time to spare to have a quick walk around in Hereford for over 2 hours and some nice running with 6233 on the marches and old hill despite a bit of sulzer power from 47773 needed in certain areas due to the rail head conditions. And hope all nat pres members and other rail enthusiasts onboard had a good day out on the Welsh marches express despite our happy go lucky tour. Heres a pic at craven arms and on arrival in Hereford. 20211114_142322.jpg
    20211114_144333.jpg
    Davo 56F
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  20. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    The highlights from yesterday and the toil and sweat from all who were involved at the sharp end. Your efforts are much appreciated !
     

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