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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member

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    its with the printer and expected in the post thursday or friday this week.
    Ian Coleby (editor)
     
  2. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Thank you for backing up my suspicions.

    What point? There are genuine reasons why a pannier may not be big enough for the WSR. See above quote and previous comments in this thread for them. Or perhaps you would like to try being the fireman on 7752 being thrashed one day and then something more comfortable with the work and forgiving to fire like a 28xx the next day and give your verdict? And pay for the extra maintenance costs that come from constantly working a loco at its limit.
     
  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Be gentle with Paul, he's still coming to terms with the idea that some tank engines are physically too heavy for the WSR and some tender engines are much lighter. ;) I'm curious as to whether under "Hitchonomics" it would be better to carry on using "more expensive" tender engines or go for all that capital expenditure to put the line back to red route... :)
     
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  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    As has been pointed out before, the bulk of the small tank engines had been scrapped fairly early on, and it was the larger tender loco's that survived into preservation, that and the vagrities of what Dai Woodham bought.
     
  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    The bulk of this line was never a "red" route. This is an upgrade rather than a "putting back."

    One of the minor mysteries of the postwar scene is why the last generation of panniers was made so heavy of foot.
    To which must be added the vagaries of the enthusiast fraternity. Woodham onlymanaged to dispose of 41313 when the Ivatt Trust came looking for spares for their engines. He persuaded them to take the complete machine. It ought to have been one of the first machines to have been bought.
     
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  6. 60044

    60044 Member

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    • Paul, do you ever actually examine the real-life data rather than just expound your prejudices? If you look at the departure of locos from Barry in any detail it is overwhelmingly clear that the smaller locos tended to be the first to go. Naturally there were exceptions but that is the obvious tend. The bigger engines tended to be taken up later on as the supply of small engines ran out. The other thing to bear in mind was that condition, and even rumours of condition played an important part and repairs that are considered routine now could be enough to would-be preservationists off at the time. For example, the NYMR considered both 80105 and 80135 (I know, because I was involved) and 8015 seemed to be the better of the two, but it was rumoured that it had been withdrawn with a cracked frame so 80135 was the one we went for. In fact the rumour was not true (afaik) and the SRPS got the slightly netter engine.

    Whilst it is true that the WSR was never a red route in BR days, I 'm sure that in preservation it must have been upgraded in order to run the red route engines it has seen over the years, so it is in fact being put back to where it was. It's no good banging on about "big chufferitis" either" if the modern demand cannot be accommodated in a three coach suburban set then longer trains and bigger locos are inevitable. Your judgement is highly biased by the IoWSR experience where the demand can be met with small engines and light trains but even there the Ivatts and Austerities represent a movement up the power curve.
     
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  7. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    My impressionof visiting tourist railways is that rarely are there visitor numbers which reach the seating accomodation provided. Most places do not have platform lengths which will accomodate trains beyond the capacity of class 4 motive power such as a 4MT or "Manor".

    Yes, there was plenty of wishful thinking around "in the day", both positive and negative, about the condition of this or that locomotive. Based on very little hard fact of course.

    Railways are far more than their motive power and it all costs a lot of money. It is not good if motive power consumes more than its share of resources.
     
  8. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    The year round reality though on the WSR is that on occasions 5 coaches suffice, more regularly 7 are required, in peak summer 8 or 9 might be required and occasionally larger trains are needed. So the fleet actually needs to contain a blend of say 2 57xx/94xx, 4 41xx/78xx/9351/49xx, 2 28xx/53808. That makes 8 locos of which 2 might be under overhaul at any one time, 3 are needed for service, 1 is standby ready to go, 1 on boiler washout & 1 on light repair.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Add to that the simple fact that passenger loadings vary throughout the day so you have to cater for the extreme in coaches required, which may lead to a near empty train on occasions. The notion of adding and detaching stock daily, as required, belongs to the last century.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
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  10. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The notion of having route classed as red, blue, RA5, RA7, etc. and locos similarly classified is a simple system which makes daily operation of a large railway much easier. For an individual heritage railway with a single line, each loco should be individually assessed and accepted for use, or not. Heritage railways are limited to 25 mph, which will have a significant effect on locomotive suitability for a line that once had a 40 mph speed limit. Taking the Network Rail Esk Valley line to Whitby as an example, certain locos that would have been banned in BR days are now allowed, subject to severe speed restrictions over certain bridges.
    As an aside on this, a Black 5 is/was classified as RA7 but I am told that Ian Riley's locos are registered on the Network as RA5. However, I have not been able to turn up documentary evidence of this so could be wrong. At the end of the day, all this is down to the person who signs the piece of paper.
     
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  11. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    So does steam. And preservation* should not just be of the objects but also the operational techniques.

    There is a different question about whether such attaching/detaching of stock would make any practical sense on the WSR, either it it's own right or as a way of economising on locomotive use, which has I think been discussed on this thread before and come to the conclusion that it would save very little direct cost, and potentially add other costs by requiring locomotives to wait idle but in steam.

    * - for those who dispute the use of the term "preservation" in the context of steam railways, I mean the term literally and precisely in this context. Where a railway goes to considerable lengths to maintain historically accurate operations, adoption of the modern railway's fixed formation ways of working should be based on need, not dogma.
     
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  12. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I decided to do some number crunching on the availability of big vs small engines. So I totted up the number of preserved standard gauge steam locomotives in Britain (not including Terriers, 0-4-0 Tanks, or Industrials (but including Austerity Tanks and RSH Uglies as these are probably the two industrial designs most suited for the sustained steam production and power output required of a 'typical' heritage railway service. It also includes 3 New Build locomotives which are either operational (2999 and 60163) or close to operation (6880). This way it gives one of the best representative samples of the kind of locomotives a heritage railway looking to run, say, a 7 mile trip with a load of 4 or 5 coaches, could conceivably employ, availability of any given locomotive being equal), and grouped them by BR power classifications. Where locomotives were not given a BR power classification, I made an educated guess based on other, similar locomotives. Findings are here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16vm0IbpNFEzU0vKvciIstsCeWDRNVuNRzu91xy7GRzw/edit?usp=sharing

    DISCLAIMER: This is a rough table, and doesn't take into account how many locomotives may be permanently on static display or those which are unlikely to run again for a considerable period of time for other reasons. Nor does it factor in the fact that certain locomotives are more tied to specific railways than others, because of ownership or politics, or some are owned or operated primarily as mainline locos. It's not perfect, and if I do some more number crunching to try and work all that out, I shall post my findings. Suggestions on how to improve this table of information are welcome.

    But what my rough calculations show are that, of the 462 locomotives included in this sample size, there are similar numbers of locos in power class 4, 5, and 8. There are similar numbers of locomotives in class 3 and under as there are in class 7 and above.

    If those proportions are similar in the number of locomotives any given heritage railway could conceivably have as part of their operational fleet, you can quickly see that it wouldn't really be practical for every heritage railway in the country to have a fleet entirely comprised of locomotives of power class 4, there just simply aren't enough to go round. And especially as there are plenty of large, class 8 locos (mainly 2-8-0s), from a logistical point of view it makes perfect sense to have a couple of these on your books. Even if you're going to be working them well within your capabilities.

    There is no point, when approaching this subject, making comments about what early preservation groups should and should not have bought from BR or scrapyards. That's in the past and we can't change it. We have what we have and we might as well make use of it. And I for one am glad that preserved railways and organisations up and down the country haven't given in to the theory of 'Big Engines are always bad', and we can see a Bulleid Pacific or a 2800 or a 9F working a passenger train at 25mph, even if it's well within its capabilities and a smaller locomotive could conceivably do the same job while consuming a little less fuel. Because the alternatives are either having the loco cold and lifeless in a museum, rusting and forgotten in the corner of the yard, or simply not being with us at all. All of those options, in my book, are worse, and as long as we have the opportunity to get a taste of what these engines were doing 60 years ago.
     
  13. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    And in any case, I think it has been shown (possibly by @Jamessquared ) that by and large, the smallest locomotives left Barry first, followed by the medium ones, followed by the large ones.
    Also worth pointing out that going by power classification isn't necessarily always helpful (although I accept you've got to do it one way or another!) For instance, a GWR 28xx and a King get lumped together as "class 8s" when a 28xx is far more suitable for heritage line use, trundling along at 25mph with frequent stops was more or less exactly what it was designed to do.
    Paul has a particular world view when it comes to locomotives. It's very simplistic and misses out a vast array of factors including maintenance, availability, and working engines to their limits to name just a few, which he refuses to accept. No amount of evidence will change his mind, presumably until the IoW buys a Bulleid pacific, at which point they'll be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed:

    barry-escapees.png

    Taking date of leaving from here - http://www.greatwestern.org.uk/barry1.htm

    I've classifed engines into "Small" (class 3 or below); "Medium" (class 4- 5) or "Large" (class 6 and over). Where a loco has two classifications I've taken the higher: for example, a Maunsell U (4P3F) I've classified as class 4, so medium; a Bulleid Light Pacific (7P5F) I've classified as class 7, so large.

    I've taken the final twenty as leaving in 1988 as the site above didn't have an exact date.

    The graph shows the rate at which locos left, as a percentage of all the locos of that size in the yard which ultimately escaped. From which it is clear that the small locos went first, the medium next, and the large lagged behind. For example, by 1977, 88% of all the small engines had gone, but only 56% of the medium engines and just 37% of the available large engines.

    I posted that originally in 2014. The data hasn't changed in the intervening 5 years :)

    Tom
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    This is merely attempting to justify W.I.B.N. extravagances. Dartmouth continues to show what medium sized machinery can do on a steeply graded route running at no more than 25 m.p.h. No doubt about that being a Red route if they thought stuff of that size was necessary.
     
  16. glen77

    glen77 New Member

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    Do they not operate a 4MT, Manor and a 2-8-0T i.e. incredibly similar motive power to the WSR?
     
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  17. jnc

    jnc Member

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    I keep expecting the XenForo software to blow out because the thread has gotten too long. It's too bad the attempts to create threads for non-operational WSR matters, leaving this one for real operation-related posts, have generally failed.

    Noel
     
  18. 60044

    60044 Member

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    Didn't they also run a King last season and have hired in a Hall and a USATC 2-8-0 (class 8F)for next season?
     
  19. glen77

    glen77 New Member

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    Isn't the S160 to be based there semi-permanently(?) as well?
     
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  20. burmister

    burmister Member

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    All very well making jibes at Paul but in the real economic world the WSR has to earn enough money after costs to keep over 20 miles of railway up together. This on a line which will never pull in punters in the numbers like NYMR and SVR required to keep the railway infrastructure sound from fares alone or has the potential for developing non core profitable operations to cross subside the core railway. So running a lot of your trains with big engines pulling fixed formation coach sets because one train a day requires that number of coaches will over time lead to the running stock sucking in more than the share of available finance than the railway can afford and this is exactly what has happened.
    In comes a chairman who can see this and he is portrayed as the devil incarnate in some quarters. As a WSR shareholder all power to JJP's cost slashing scythe say I.

    Brian
     

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