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Vintage Trains 2022

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Sidmouth, Jan 2, 2022.

  1. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Welsh Marches 7029 - 5th March 2022 https://vintagetrains.co.uk/the-welsh-marches-express-220305/

    S&C 6233 12th March https://vintagetrains.co.uk/settle-carlisle/

    Chester - 7029 26th March https://vintagetrains.co.uk/the-chester-venturer/
     
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  2. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    I hope they leave the diesel at Hellifield as apparently its ''planned to be unassisted'' I wonder if any of the timing brigade and purists will gamble on such trusty words? Regardless, its been a long time since the Duchess has been in the North West and even longer since she was last in red !
     
  3. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    On the Welsh Marches one, returning via Oxford, the train will presumably have to run past Tyseley (into Snow Hill?) and then reverse, so will need a diesel on the back for that reason if no other. I'm a little surprised that Tyseley is the only joining point rather than offering a pickup at New Street for drop off at Snow Hill at the end of the day and/or Wolverhampton with connection back there by service train(s).
    The Chester one does a seriously long loop round the East Midlands before eventually heading for Crewe and Chester. Is the sequence "Burton on Trent, Nuneaton, Leicester" in the wrong order?
     
  4. mattspencer

    mattspencer Well-Known Member

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    I think Leicester and Nuneaton should be swapped.
     
  5. mike1522

    mike1522 Long Time Member Friend

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    Yes, Glad the Duchess is doing the S&C tour!
     
  6. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Just booked this, but am also surprised Tyseley is the only pickup / set down. After the previous Welsh Marches I did email them suggesting Stourbridge & / or Wolverhampton as pick up and set down locations - especially given it ran through those stations at slow speed. This version is even worse! It would give a lot more options for those of us who live west of Birmingham, Tyseley is frankly not easy to get to early in the morning.

    Fortunately I have a Premier Inn booking left over from a cancellation last year to use, otherwise would have been an extremely early start from Mid Wales.
     
  7. bleeder4

    bleeder4 Member

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    I'd like to see some approximate times before I book on any. Last year I went on a number of railtours that involved getting up at 5AM and getting back at Midnight, and they really messed me up. I have resolved to cut back on those kind of endurance slogs for this year. 8.30AM from Tyseley would be fine, but I'd be reluctant to book if it's earlier than that. So I'll wait for some approximate timings, or even the confirmed timings a week before and then place a last minute booking.
     
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  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    A wise decision. If a promoter is planning a steam charter then the lead time with Network Rail is about three months. That means requested timing has to be with Network Rail at around that time. So it's ridiculous when any promoter chooses not to share that information to help its passengers.

    OK - the times can only be provisional and they may change but not helping passengers to know whether the trip in question is one they might be interested in is bizarre. What's the secret?
     
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  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Off a different thread apparently it is to avoid "confusing passengers if the actual times are different". Funny how no other tour company seems to have an issue doing that. Passengers have missed trains I have stewarded but never because the actual time was different to that first suggested.
    I would feel somewhat insulted if that is the attitude to my intelligence if I was a prospective passenger.
     
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  10. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    I'm no expert in this field, Al, but I think you are missing something here. True the requested timings has to be with Network Rail by a certain date, but that does not mean to say that those times will be granted. It is at this point that the timing people look at the request and work out the best times possible within the brief. Your request may be for a departure at 08.30 and the best that can be offered is say 06.30. The TOC either accepts or rejects this. If rejected there then can follow some weeks of negotiation and tweeking of the timings until an acceptable compromise is achieved. But the compromise may still be much earlier than the original request. Better to wait for a definate timing agreement than giving an aspirational time that turns out to be a couple of hours out.

    Peter
     
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  11. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    The Pathfinder "Pennine Wayfarer" certainly not for you then. Listed on their day tours page which criteria it only just meets if you are a passenger from Eastleigh. Depart 04:40 return 00:40, and these are only "estimated times"
    Edit
    Actual times are depart 04:09 back 00:40, you do get 88 minutes at Bolton though!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
  12. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Precisely my thoughts but we do need to remember that this is the set up that has its roots in what I will charitably call quite a supervisory attitude towards its customers. Whilst I realise that at the fringes are a few people who shouldn't really be allowed on any steam charter without their carers, it's not really the way to treat the typical passenger.

    Sharing provisional times, as does the RTC for example, is the only sensible thing to do. I'm interested in the S&C trip but it hinges on the planned pick up and set down at Crewe. Without an indication of what they hope for I'm just not interested.
     
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  13. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think that you will find that all tour operators have difficulties from time to time with agreeing with the timings offered. That is why tickets are sometimes so late in being sent out. I suspect that passengers have missed trains because of this but not because they have been left behind - they have had to cry off at the last moment because they have been unable to join the train on revised timings. It is a major problem for the whole railtour sector and there is no easy solution.

    Peter
     
  14. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Fully agree Peter but there must be tours where they can provide something that lets potential passengers know if they are likely to need a hotel or not. Point blank refusing for all tours does not seem very customer focused to me, especially as VT has lots of enthusiast supporters in a financial sense. For example I believe the Lickey tour timings were not given out other than morning and afternoon. Not very helpful really.
     
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  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm aware of what you are saying and yes, all of that may happen. But I would respectfully suggest that when a closely checked set of suggested times goes to NR planners they will often be happy to adopt them with minor tweaks unless something unknown is thrown into the mix.

    I can't imagine, for example, West Coast being so far off the pace that the timings they put up are thrown out. If it happens a lot then they are learning nothing but I don't believe that to be so. Maybe the fledgling VT set up is more uncertain.
     
  16. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    If they take the 1200 from Hellifield and 1630 from Carlisle slot on the S and C, then with those pick up points and a loco change at Hellifield, I think you will be looking at more like 0730 from Tyseley, 0900 from Stafford maybe.................. That keeps the train clear of the Cumbrian Coast Express at Carlisle.

    It's a 400 mile day with 3.5 hours at Carlisle and Hellifield, so 0730 out and 2230 back is probably the target. But I know nothing.
     
  17. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think that is why regular itinaries are so common - they have booked paths and timings are more or less guaranteed. With one off charters you are a complete hostage to fortune. When the issueing of timings and tickets is delayed to the last minute you can guess that negotiations over times and pathing have been problematic. Just look at @30567's suggestion of a 12.00 path north from Hellifield on 12/3/22. It could work, but only if the the two Q paths around that time are not required and the relevant operators are prepaired to give them up for the day. The first is a 12.11 path for a freight from Drax to New Biggin, the second is an LSL excursion slot at 12.36. The freight operator may not know until a week or two before if the service is to run or not, so will probably not want to release the slot weeks in advance. Likewise LSL may or may not be willing to say that they are not using their path that day. And that is just one small piece of a very large jigsaw. Either way these things have to be negotiated and often this cannot be done successfully weeks in advance. To under estimate the uncertainties and complexity of charter train timing is to do a real disservice to those who often have to move heaven and earth to provide a workable day out for the charter operators and their passengers.

    Peter
     
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  18. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    So, can you help us out Peter. What is the status of regular slots like say the 0710 from Euston on a Saturday or the 0832 from York on a Tuesday? Are those Q paths assigned to WCR and released if not required? Or are they somehow reserved in the system as STPs and not available as Q paths for FOCs unless released? All the best, Peter
     
  19. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Hi Peter. I'm not sure what the mechanism for this is but I guess that train planners cannot assume that such Q paths can be used by other operators without some form of negotiation. This is probably easier with charter operators' Q paths as they will often know some weeks in advance if they are needed but freight operators often need their allocated paths at short notice and are unlikely to release them weeks in advance. I hasten to add that I'm not an expert on train planning and my opinion is purely based on what I observe when involved with working charter trains.

    Peter
     
  20. LittleRedTrain

    LittleRedTrain New Member

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    Looks like VT have listened to feedback and have now put up provisional times for their tours.
    Much appreciated!
     
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