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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    ISTR that one of the conclusions reached at that time was that the QB was under-marketed, which was one of the reason for transferring its operation to the Plc. Possibly it is still undermarketed. Selling the product doesn't seem to be one of the WSR's strong points, notwithstanding heroic efforts on the part of some.
    I also seem to recall that was another reason for the transfer to the Plc, but it looks like it hasn't worked.
     
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  2. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    OK thank you. There has been no shortage of disagreements on the WSR.
     
  3. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line New Member

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    Interesting in the latest Bluebell Times there is an article about their premier dining train which seems profitable with 64 seats, although they have plans to increase the number, so right product can make money, and they are'nt the only railway to successfully make money out of dining trains.
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Just a small correction on that. The current operation is (and has been for about five years) 64 Pullman seats; there is a Mark 1 FO in the consist as well which probably puts the capacity up round the 100 mark. However, the Mark 1 is not as popular, and the plan is to get it back to an all Pullman train of about 100 seats by late 2022, about 120 by 2024 and potentially 160 (but more likely a sustainable 100 - 120) by 2025.

    To get there though requires a total rebuild from dereliction of one carriage (Car 54, a parlour brake with wheelchair access); intermediate mechanical overhauls of three; and a complete new interior for a fifth. So it is a capital-intensive process.

    The article is here, see in particular page 10 for the evolution. https://www.bluebell-railway.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Issue-21.pdf

    I
    f I were the WSR, I’d get rid of premium dining as basically non-sustainable. Instead (post re-opening to Minehead) I’d look at evening Fish and Chip trains, probably running Minehead - Williton and return, for the tourist market staying in Minehead. Many of them will probably eat F&C a few times while they are staying, so give them an option to do so in a slightly funkier way. If you used the loco that had been out during the day, no extra heating cycle and only the marginal cost of 20 miles of coal; plus you could just use the normal service carriages - no capital expense of a whole train only used on a few occasions each year.

    Tom
     
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  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's pretty much what we do on the GWSR since Elegant Excursions ceased operating. Always fully booked, very popular, and pretty simple to operate. And a free meal for the train crew is not much to provide and means you'll always have volunteers to staff it too :)
     
  6. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    To be fair to the WSR, they are already offering fish and chips trains. However, for some reason not until mid September :rolleyes:

    https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/events/detail/fish-and-chip-plus-cream-tea-specials
     
  7. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    Is there a crucial difference when comparing the Bluebell's dinner train with the Quantock Belle? East Grinstead is only an hour from London with its millions of people. Bishops Lydiard is more than an hour from Bristol, more than an hour from Plymouth, a bit less from Exeter maybe... London has lots of people, lots of money, and from what I can see, an endless search for novel ways of spending time and money-which the Bluebell is well placed to help with.
     
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  8. Ian Monkton

    Ian Monkton Member

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  9. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Happy to be corrected, perhaps though the railway should consider updating the events & experience page to reflect this as no mention of it at all.

    The home page also points to the offering that starts in September, and the only mention I could find of the optional fish & chips was by clicking a green day, which I only did after you said. It’s not exactly prominent. That theme continues on the Facebook page, where the only post mentioning fish & chips is for a sunset special, nothing about being available on other days in that post or at all elsewhere.
     
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  10. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    The NYMR is a long way from any major population centres (especially London!) and roads to the dining trains starting point of Grosmont are poor, but its services are usually fully booked and profitable so I'm not sure that these excuses hold water.
     
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  11. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Haven’t had chance to have a look at numbers or services since Covid but the SVR seems to make dining services work from both ends of its line.
     
  12. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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  13. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    It needn't just be fish and chips. There will be lots of people in Minehead staying in B&Bs or self-catering looking for somewhere to get an evening meal.
     
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  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Curry? Pizza? Burgers?

    All possible, minimum WSR risk, they just provide the train.
     
  15. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Yes, but, it’s not hard to update the website or social media with what is actually on offer.

    The railway needs all the custom it can get so you would think they would be encouraging these customers by advertising what is on offer.

    Instead, the usual WSR problem of not understanding how to advertise properly rears it’s head & something that may happen in the autumn, after the main season, is given prominence over something actually happening now.
     
  16. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    But very different food preparation. How do you transport them? keep them hot? serve them? It would take a lot of Deliveroo mopeds to supply a whole train.
     
  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Ah but it's worth remembering that for every potential opportunity there is a straightforward solution that for some reason will be seen as wrong on the WSR!

    In this case it will probably be the wrong kind of fish as the best eateries in the south west are (allegedly) the Rick Stein restaurants in Padstow and that's former LSWR. :D
     
  18. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps the individual who looks after such things has joined the exodus ?
     
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  19. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but there's a good fish and chip/burger emporium about 50 feet from the platform end at Minehead. Maybe not Rick Stein(which is much overrated, apparently) but perfectly good, and the reported quality of fish and chips is very dependant on individual preference.
     
  20. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    If its the same one I went to I agree, that was very much enjoyed by myself on the platform at Minehead when I went on a rail tour in 2019.
     

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