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Watercress Line Spring Steam Gala 29th April - 2 May 2022

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by WesternRegionHampshireman, Mar 6, 2022.

  1. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    Had a great day working on 34058 Sir Frederick Plies sales stand on Friday and meet a few people I haven’t seen for sometime. Saturday looked to be the best day for photography.

    EF80BB26-758B-4BE7-B6D7-C6D174E86C98.jpeg
     
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  2. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden Member

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    48305 visited NYMR in September for their Autumn Steam Gala. Was meant to visit SVR in April 2020 but the obvious put paid to that.
     
  3. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    It used to get around a bit more during its first ticket visiting GWSR, NNR and MRC off the top of my head, with a period at the CVR of course.
     
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  4. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

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    I haven't been to the MHR since the first weekend of the End of Southern Steam event in 2017, but I'm sure loco swaps at Alton have happened at previous events? They might have been double headers, but I've been on trains where a loco has detached to take another train out before.
     
  5. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden Member

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    Sundays sitrep.

    Visitors: I will be honest, a lot of the trains I saw was relatively half full to begin with. Saw numerous coaches with very few or no one in yesterday morning in particular. It does seem that a lot of people are put off by the ticket prices as I spoke to numerous people. I feel £40 is worth it if you prebooked, make full use of the day and wanted to see 30925, 53808 and 2857 in their final months of traffic and it was indeed the latter reason why I wanted to go for a second day. I really hope the MHR has made a profit from the weekend because it didn't really look that busy. The ticket prices will always be a can of worms subject amongst people. I suppose that can be saved for a future "new" thread"

    Timetable: slipped by about 15 minutes or so in the afternoon but was caught up by the last train of the day.

    Locos: By far 2857 and 53808 a close second were my two standout locomotives yesterday. The noise emanating from their chimneys was very impressive. But I may be biased in a way as I have a massive soft spot for both of these locomotives already. Really was great to have two fresh new visitors over another Bulleid, Class 4 tank or a Pannier.
     
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  6. WesternRegionHampshireman

    WesternRegionHampshireman Member

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    Now that, I CAN agree with. :)
     
  7. WesternRegionHampshireman

    WesternRegionHampshireman Member

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    Well for a small scale gala, it was OK at most.
    It was nice riding behind 2857 again, as well as 506, 30925 and 53808.

    However, the only nitpick I do have is the whole leaving the set in the loop while the engine originally pulling it saunters off to pull the goods train, while the engine at the Alton end comes to "rescue" it.
     
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  8. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    Sad to read about the low attendance figures*.
    I hope that the MHR covers the loco hire costs at least.
    How long are the visiting locos staying for? Perhaps a weekend of normal services hauled by 2857 and 48305 might bring in additional revenue from people who couldn't afford the Gala prices?

    *This did happen at another Gala, a mixed traction steam and diesel event in 2010 which featured 53808 in her S&D blue livery. I couldn't believe how empty the railway was.



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  9. Andy2857

    Andy2857 Member

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    I can't speak to 48305 but 2857 is straight off to the West Somerset for their gala before heading back to the SVR.
     
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  10. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    It may of course have been a gamble choosing this weekend, what I used to call long before Covid the non Bank Holiday. Always seemed to be quiet, often close to Easter, as this year, and seemed to be "unloved" by many. Today there are two sets of commercial builders working that I can see without even leaving the house, so some employers do not see it as a holiday either. Thus with the economy issues, lots of galas around this period, maybe ticket price (although I think folks need to get used to that as "the right sort of price"), it may be a mini perfect storm.
    Having said that a short time spending watching webcams (or out of the window when the light is correct here in Swanage) seems to show that with some exceptions at all lines there is a lot of fresh air being carted around on heritage lines this weekend.
     
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  11. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    The K&ESR use to hold gala's on this weekend, and only once do I remember it being very busy. I went because I could avoid major trunk roads, but others on here who lived further away did not go because of previous experiences of getting stuck in heavy traffic They said they would if go if it was held on non bank holiday weekend.
    There are engineering works Victoria and Euston this weekend making it more difficult to travel by rail.
    I am not attending this year since I am taking a rest after being on the marathon that is The Great Britain.
     
  12. A1X

    A1X Well-Known Member

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    I thoroughly enjoyed my two days at the gala Saturday and Sunday, although as noted the numbers felt very low (especially on the Sunday), and I heard more than one person gripe about the cost. That said, I can sort of understand the MHR's perspective, costs are going up for them as well as for us and the books have to be balanced.

    Anyway, some photos from the last couple of days, more can be found at https://railwaygalleries.smugmug.com/MidHants/Spring-Steam-Gala-May-2022

    IMG_5129 (Medium).JPG IMG_5248 (Medium).JPG IMG_5251 (Medium).JPG IMG_5275 (Medium).JPG IMG_5329 (Medium).JPG
     
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  13. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    Don’t forget this gala is over four days and not the usual three days. People need to factor in the extra day when looking at passenger numbers.
     
  14. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Very true, but it is also an extra day of costs as well. Carrying say 3000 (no idea of the real number) over 4 days will cost more than the same number over 3 days.
     
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  15. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Resident of Nat Pres

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  16. 6026 King John

    6026 King John Well-Known Member

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    There's only a certain number of people who will come to an event like this and you're not likely to increase that number by running it over 4 days rather than 3. Some of the larger railways such as the West Somerset and Severn Valley have increased their galas to 4 days but that may not work everywhere. For a line like the Mid Hants running 5 locos on a 10 mile line with basically the same timetable every day there is only so much interest you can generate. I'd be interested to know how many people come for more than one day.
     
  17. js5646

    js5646 New Member

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    before I attended, I thought the same having read some comments on here. However in reality the wait wasn't that long and the view of the departing freight was much better than it would have been from the platform of Alton station. Worth it in my opinion for more full line freight and chimney-first running on it.
     
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  18. Shaggy

    Shaggy Well-Known Member

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    Judging from other non railway related venues, it would appear that everywhere was quiet. Thorpe Park for example was extremely quiet all weekend. I do wonder if it is a general trend at the moment to cut back on spending on entertainment with all the hikes in the cost of living kicking in.
     
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  19. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    There is also a lot going on as the world catches up with itself. I know of several reasonably sized community events this weekend around here, and people simply can’t do them all.


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  20. David likes trains

    David likes trains Member

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    My observations on the ticket pricing would be:
    -This gala was cheaper than the previous one in October 2021 when City of Wells was there, the prices were £5 more per adult for both advance bookings and on the day. I did attend that one on one of the days (Sunday I think) and it did seem a little quiet. Though that was also the time when there were problems with petrol supplies at the pumps.
    -The prices are at the top end in the market place of steam gala events. Maybe the other lines like the SVR, NNR, GCR, East Lancs, KWVR (to name a few galas I have been to this year) will end up increasing their prices to something similar in future, but have not done so as yet.
    -As others have said it's up to the railway to adjust and make the event work financially for them. Not sure what the numbers were like for last October, I also went to the spring gala in 2021 which I remember being busier. Can't remember exactly what tickets cost but I think an adult was 30 something pounds.

    One other thought, were platform tickets available for entry to Ropley or did you need a ticket to travel to come in and look around? Just thinking of people who might decide on a visit on the day and who don't want to go on the trains would probably baulk at paying £45.
     

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