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Waverley and Balmoral

Discussion in 'Everything Else Heritage' started by channel, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. channel

    channel New Member

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    Balmoral in her final days of service on the Bristol Channel. Waverley now on the South Coast for a few weeks before going to the Thames.

    From what I gather its not been the season they were hoping for, started off good but towards the second half returned to the doom and gloom of the last fer years.
     
  2. Guest

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    Not Quite

    Balmoral is scheduled to finish this weekend - she will - for 2009 - but will be back. Rumours about last sailings are false

    Waverley has had poorish weather in Scotland and a horrendous trip down with two days in Rosslare - but has made it, and will sail round to the Thames and back to Glasgow in October.

    The year's results aren't out yet - but we ARE still sailing, which is at least good news in itself. There has not been a financial collapse.

    Reports suggest that the operation is to be re-appraised as to the amount of time in certain areas, sailings in exposed waters, sailing durations and destinations to try to improve results.

    I have my own views, which don't chime with the Board, even less with the Exec Directors, but a full re-appraisal may well find that a lot of what has been said for years is - in fact - correct, (which is never a source of satisfaction as it means errors have been perpetuated all those years) and new blood brought in to effect changes that should have occurred years ago.

    The problem with 2009 was always - if we go bankrupt then everything is LBU

    If we don't - the existing management will say - "look we had it right all along" ahem! :smt102
     
  3. channel

    channel New Member

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    Bal went past us today with nearly 400 on from Lydney . . . once again the people of Gloucestershire turned out in force for her!

    I'm hoping to go on her final trip of the season on Thursday evening - a 2 hour cruise from Penarth.

    The programme needs a real rethink especially the long period in the Bristol Channel. Personally I feel Bal should be South and South East based in the peak season. Maybe coach trips from Penarth/Clevedon/Bristol could take people down for cruises from Swanage/Weymouth etc so as not to totally blank the Bristol Channel passengers.

    There seems to be a hardcore within the operation that say the Bal has never and will never do well down South. Personally I think this depends on how much marketing is carried out. I went on her a few years ago from Bournemouth where there was no posters, no info and no touts . . . she left with next to no passengers! Marketing overall still seems to be one of the poorer aspects of the operating companes managment.

    Whilst I am Bristol Channel based and love the waters I feel the money is elsewhere for her . . . . perhaps she could start and finish her season here instead. As Waverley has proved there is still interest in the ships in the area but we are at the mercy of the weather. Bal still has a large following in the area and gets good turn outs during winter refits at the City Docks.

    I've often wondered why the Waverley doesn't make a brief visit to the Bristol Channel in late August on her run South. I'm sure the Bristol Channel would turn out in force for a couple of runs over the Bank Holiday weekend . . .

    It was a shame the paddler missed her first day down South but full credit to her Master's decision to make a run for it when he did. I'm hoping to do a few on her in the coming weeks.
     
  4. stan the man

    stan the man New Member

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    Looking forward to sailing on her waverley when she is down on the south coast.

    For those who have never sailed on her I can throughly recommend it.

    These old girls need our help and support if they are to continue sailing.

    Jim S
     
  5. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    Go on Sunday and you can visit the Swanage Railway too!

    Cheers
    Alan
     
  6. dace83

    dace83 New Member

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    20 days until it comes to Southwold :)

    My first LNER steam ship
     
  7. Guest

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    Don't take this the wrong way - it is a serious question.

    We have been operating the Waverley since 1975. She has been visiting the Thames since 1978.

    Why - in the enthusiast fraternity are we still not widely known and recognised as part of the railway / steam / heritage movement

    Anyone got a take on this???
     
  8. stan the man

    stan the man New Member

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    Thats a good point Frank, its a true fact that steam ships (not just Waverley) get over looked by the majority (not all) of the steam enthusiasts.

    But why? I dont know.

    Perhaps steam ships should be featured more in the likes of Old Glory and Vintage spirit etc.

    I have been sailing and supporting Waverley since her first season down here on the Thames and will continue to do so.

    Jim S
     
  9. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    It's not just Waverley, much of our maritime heritage has no support outside a minority. We have lost too many fine examples quite recently and several now are on the nearly too late list. It's not just ships either, important infrastructure is often lost when with a bit of imagination it could be preserved and put to a new use. I wonder if it is just down to numbers; how many of us were train spotters in the 40s and 50s and are now doing our best to relive those days. I reckon there were many more train spotters than ship enthusiasts. I do my best to spread the word but many of my friends and neighbours think I am nuts! Anyway SWMBO and I will be aboard this weekend and will be taking a trip down the Thames in October.

    Cheers
    Alan
     
  10. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    I think better marketing and publicity by Waverley excursions would help. I am sure more people would travel if there were more publicity in the month preceding their visit to an area.

    Their website is also. imo, poor and not very informative. I was looking at it only this afternoon and if I did not know that the 27th. September trip was the "Paddle Steamer Parade" the information on the site would not have told me.

    I also feel that the quality/price of the Food and Drink available on board is poor and this, possibly, does not help encourage repeat business.

    I mean these comments as constructive criticism, I really love these ships and enjoy travelling on them and would love to see more successful financial results.
     
  11. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    I emphatically agree about the food and drink. No decent beer and dull, badly presented food. I think the on-board catering has got worse over the years.

    Alan
     
  12. channel

    channel New Member

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    I emailed 2 well known Steam/Heritage Railway magazines this year about the ships and proposed they would make good article subject . . . . I got no reply from either!
     
  13. channel

    channel New Member

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    I would disagree up to a certain extent - whilst I don't think the catering is great its very hard for the catering departments to judge how many will turn up and of those how many will eat. This leads you down the route of pre-prepared food and a regular menu - unless food orders are taken earlier in the trip? A lot of people eat ashore as part of their day out, in the same way that many do with railtours. Would this change even if the standard raised? I have often thought a carvery could be offered and pre-booked on Sunday sailings though?

    The servery in Bal's aft dining saloon is an awful layout, anyone who has used it will know what I mean . . . although this season the stewardesses on the Bal do help to improve the area!

    To be honest, certainly aboard the Balmoral I think her interior spaces need some further thought. I have often thought the souvenir shop space should be a snack bar - in a similar way to Waverley's aft deck tea room. This leaves the problem of relocating the souvenir shop though? I did wonder if extra interior passenger space could have been gained when she had the new engines fitted - could the area above the engine room have been opened up and the engines enclosed below? It would have spoilt her feel a bit but passenger space is valuable. Those who have been aboard her with a capacity crowd will know how nice extra space would be !!

    I am on the Bal tomorrow from Bristol for the trip to Ilfracombe, her final cruise of the season . . . . she may not be perfect, the company may equally not be perfect but she's the last of the line and they work hard to keep her going. Its hardly an easy game - especially in present times! It would be nice to see their profile raised in heritage railway circles . . . perhaps in winter months when inactive clubs could use them for talks ? Perhaps a model show? Its a shame the length of time dueing a year they are inactive . .

    Without the many trips I had on the ships as a child I'd probably be doing something completely different with my career, as it is I am involved with the shipping industry in the Bristol Channel largely due to the interest the ships gave me in the channel and the shipping industry.
     
  14. Guest

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    Whilst you are on board tomorrow could you ask the purser - Tony - to contact me

    The Mrs has put together a DVD of the sail round Anglesey last month if he wants a copy
     
  15. channel

    channel New Member

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    Done. Bal had a good day - 559 to Combe and we had carried some from Bristol to Clevedon and Penarth in addition to these. Also the evening cruise had a fair number on.


    Yesterday she carried around 600 also.

    She's now off Penarth for the night and due to return to her home berth tomorrow for lay up.

    Chris
     
  16. channel

    channel New Member

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    Capt Davies and his crew returned to the City Docks this morning as planned. She looked great going past the office, hardly had the end of season look she sometimes had. Her current crew certainly take care of her and seem happy in their work.

    Its a real shame she has gone in before the weekend, especially with the forcast!
     
  17. Guest

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    Waverley Excursions planning - need I say more?

    Haste ye back!

    [​IMG]

    Caernarvon 17th August (no SSE to race home for on a Monday!)
     
  18. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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  19. channel

    channel New Member

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    A few pictures from Thursday's final sailing.
     

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  20. channel

    channel New Member

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    Nice shot, not managed any sailings on her in North Wales. I've 'cruised' the coast a few times when I was at sea and have also spent a day sailing around there on HMS Pickle.
     

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