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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. bluetrain

    bluetrain New Member

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    Huochemi - Many thanks for that info. I was looking at Brian Haresnape "British Rail Fleet Survey", whose Peak Class entry doesn't go to that level of detail. Not sure whether I'm allowed to think of the vehicles as 2-6-6-2s.
     
  2. D7076

    D7076 Member

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    Yes but back to SVR for May gala.
     
  3. D7076

    D7076 Member

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  4. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Don't think I said any of that, and as a matter of fact I do like Peaks - but I also accept the judgement of those who have ruled it unsuitable for running on the WSR at the moment. How is any of that throwing my toys out of my pram?
     
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  5. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    You would be correct in that statement Steve.
    1820's wasn't it for the S+D.;);)
     
  6. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    You're almost right there Bryan - it was Darlington built but in the 1920s.

    Peter
     
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  7. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    No moaners please!
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    I just added them to my ignore list. Simples!
     
  8. Steven Harris

    Steven Harris New Member

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    Good news, I posted info on the trust a few months ago so may have sown a seed. I worked for Swire and the do a lot of charitible work around the world.
     
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  9. nick glanf

    nick glanf New Member

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    Apparently we can all pre order a book called Tails Of the West Somerset Railway.
    You have got to laugh. Could not make it up.
     
  10. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    There's no truth in the rumour that the 2nd volume will be called 'Heads of the West Somerset Railway' :):D:D
     
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  11. :) G'wan, g'wan, pre-order the book now...

    [​IMG]
    Steve
     
  12. The Man of Kent

    The Man of Kent Member

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  13. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Some observations on diesels on heritage railways, from a steam bloke who also likes diesels and somehow found himself organising some diesel galas.

    - The general public do prefer to at the very least have the option of travelling behind a steam engine, but increasingly pass comments such as "its nice to see the old diesels being used as well" and if the timetable permits, have a ride behind both forms of traction.

    - Diesel galas have never reached the revenue generating potential of a steam gala. I think there are just fewer diesel enthusiasts

    - In general diesel galas cost more to put on because of the need to bring in more visitors than would be the case for a steam gala .... because

    - Diesel enthusiasts tend to be interested in certain types ... so there are Sulzer fans and English Electric fans ... there is a soft spot for the smaller types, but some people like the bigger types instead.... Most seem to like the Deltics, and few seem to like the 33 (can't understand that as it is probably the most versatile and useful loco type for a heritage railway). As a result of this specialism of interest, the ideal gala line up needs a small sulzer (not a 33 though), a large sulzer, a small EE (preferably not a 31) and a large EE, plus a Deltic. If you cannot arrange that lot (and preferably get a "rare" loco that hasn't run for a while) you will struggle for numbers of visitors.

    - There are fewer locomotives that can be moved by rail...which is the most cost effective means to move half a dozen locomotives

    - There is a shortage of the smaller (generally older) types

    When you put all that together the effort required to organise a diesel gala is significant, probably more difficult in managing the set up than a steam gala. The outcome is less predictable than a steam gala, because if you get the "show" just right, but the line up changes at the last moment, 1/3 of the people then wont come, because you haven't got a small sulzer or whatever. So overall the risk to the railway of staging a diesel gala is higher ... you might not make a profit (and I believe that many don't, but do the gala for other reasons - which is fine). If you are a diesel enthusiast please don't be insulted, its your choice I respect that, but this specialism of interest is perhaps why there are fewer galas.

    On the other side of the coin though, it is high time that "steam only" enthusiasts realised that their steam railway exists very largely on the shoulders of those diesels they despise at times. There are few if any railways that could genuinely exist at a cost they could afford, without their diesel fleet. Diesels are in use every day (frustratingly out of sight of their enthusiasts for the most part). It also must be realised that the economics that drove their adoption in the first place are starting to apply to heritage railways now. Which is not to say I think they will displace steam completely, but how much better would the WSR financial position be if one of the three steam turns were a diesel turn in the high summer (assuming that the loss of custom would not be too great - I would want to experiment with that).

    Finally, we all need to appreciate that whilst our heritage railways have been built and are maintained by diesels, there has been very little investment in them. The DEPG on the WSR are a great exception to a disappointing truth that far too often the diesel fleet has been regarded as "disposable" and run into the ground. If you're a diesel enthusiast this is hard to take given the rest of the background. If you're a steam enthusiast it can be hard to appreciate and perhaps hard to understand that the pool of potential donors is so much smaller, and also hard to appreciate how much work some diesels are called upon to do....with a fraction of the maintenance resources (people, equipment or buildings) available to the steam fleet.
     
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  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    A lot of sense there, thanks.

    Robin

    P.S. A shot from this weekend elsewhere: ‘When steam goes on shed the diesels come out to play.’

    1808C598-D7C5-4B56-8BE0-0C0FF3703E8B.jpeg
     
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  15. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

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    It wasn't as blatant as that, but that was the message that seemed to be coming through at one point, before the PLC decided that they had to go for the highest bid regardless of any other consideration.

    Edit corrected a spelling mistake and a typo.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  16. Captain Fantastic

    Captain Fantastic New Member

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    Yes as Robin a lot of sence, let's face it the line wouldn't be there without the steam but please dont ignore the fans of diesels as they will be running the line one day
     
  17. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I was close to this at the time and attended (some) of the relevant meetings. The offer for the WSRA to assist (via the availability of gift aid) was at my initiative. Decisions about who the WSR plc were prepared to sell to, and the reasons for that, have been set out and the WSRA had no part in those decisions.

    There are still problems, small and large, still need to be solved in Somerset, but won’t be assisted by inventing problems that aren’t there.

    I have to say, that given the general and specific bile seen from some contributors to this thread in the past 48hours or so, I had considered turning my back on it for a while.

    Robin
     
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  18. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    My presence in signalboxes, particularly late turns in Swanage box for the diesel Galas there, is, I believe, a matter of (photographic!) record. So my support for the diesel part of the heritage movement, should be understood to be a given, I hope.

    Do ask me, some time, about attending a Class 47 on fire at Bathampton Junction long ago when working for the big railway and melting my DM shoe soles on the cab deck plates...

    Robin
     
  19. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I recently went to Upton Noble in Somerset to see a pair of preserved class 50s hard at work climbing Brewham bank on a Paddington to Penzance charter. I arrived early to bag the prime position on an overbridge only to find that only one other person was there. Lovely locos, great English Electric roar. A little bit sad that so few people are interested. Go to the same location when a steam charter is due and there could be a couple of dozen people there.

    When I was a youngster in the late sixties I would catch a train to Bristol TM on a Saturday to see the modern diesels. The platform nearest to Bath Road depot was heaving with train spotters but not nowadays. It would be surprising to see anyone. <BJ>
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  20. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    If Yorkshireman adds more to his ignore list he will soon have little to read here. :D:D
     
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