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WHR General Discussion.

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by triassic, Jun 4, 2009.

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  1. triassic

    triassic New Member

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  2. 21D

    21D New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that the WHR put them out of business (the report does state that the amount was only "one of the largest" - the largest may have been 200k for all we know). There are any number of reasons why quite the WHR might not have paid this contractor. WEFO only ever re-imburse expenditure already paid. So that is to say that the grant aid portion of the outstanding bill would not have paid to the WHR, so they are not withholding public money that should have gone to this local company. Having personally administered a WEFO project I can tell you that there are those who will play that card with the local press in order to try to embarass one into paying a bill which you have rightly withheld, perhaps because of a dispute about the works. I am not saying that is the case with this fellow - he may be justified in his grievance with the WHR - merely presenting an alternative possible viewpoint. The Welsh press seem to quite enjoy having a pop at WEFO too, and remember that the FR/WHR is about the bigest employer that area has, so will always be an interesting target for journalistic attention.

    I am pretty sure that the WHR/FR is not the longest heritage railway in the world. I think the Cumbres and Toltec is 69 miles long?

    As to whether the line is commercially viable. I presume someone has done some careful sums. There are a lot of visitors to the area and a desire to limit the number of cars, but that is an awful lot of railway to maintain, and I am guessing that an hourly service (if that is what they plan to run - I don't know) on the WHR when fully open is going to need at least three loco's and train sets because of the distance, which isn't cheap. I think it will make it, but I do think it will have a tough few years getting established.
     
  3. pennysteam

    pennysteam New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    Until this year I feel there was a positive attitude to the WHR project in general, but now some elements of the press and some people have turned against the project. Who ever is rights or wrongs the on going saga with WHHR (porthmodag) has probably got a lot to do with it and with WHR being far bigger, guverment funded, they have become casted in the role of the big bully picking on the liitle railway in porthmadog. I feel until the both sides sort out their differences there and we settle down to full running then these sort of stories will appaer.

    On a positive note I would suggest running more trains at weekends, midweek for peak running limits your punters to those who are staying the week, while weekend running clearly has the scope for more.

    Secondly Looking at this years time table and thinking of next year I feel we need at least one more train a day, peak service only gets 4 steam and steam is what counts. WHR is getting to be a big line now and will get even bigger, so I think running all trains all the way is also not practical and will cost to much, as such I would keep the all the way trips to around the current number but add to it some smaller trains that would run a shorter shuttle service in stratigic places giving the average holiday make the option of a shorter return journey in a shorter time. This would both cheaper and more practical for both the railway and the public while making room for those who do wish to travel the whole way on the big train.
     
  4. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    Its perhaps best to treat Daily Post articles with a pinch of salt when it seems someone has an axe to grind, like the builder - it should also be noted that completing/finishing the railway isnt the same thing as opening to Porthmadog.

    Regarding the main question, in my opinion the WHR has a very good future - despite the extremely hot weather, which normally drives people on to beaches, reports are that trains are loading extremely well, and sometimes full to standing, which is a very good sign.

    Obviously its going to take a few years for the full railway to establish itself, but given the need for more rolling stock thats no bad thing, and im quite certain that as a 'scenic' (rather than 'heritage') railway its going to be regarded in years to come as a must-visit attraction - not just to those who are interested in a train ride but anyone wanting to experience Snowdonia, which afterall is most tourists to North Wales. I wouldnt be suprised if, in the medium to long term, its main competition will be the SMR - especially when the weather isnt too great up Snowdon.

    Chris
     
  5. SillyBilly

    SillyBilly New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    And the Darjeeling, personally I class the Harz as a heritage railway. The FR/WHR might be the world's longest volunteer operated railway, but Vivarais has been suggested as one of the other possibilities.

    Apparently what the article fails to mention is that PSL has gone bust a couple of times in the past, I do also have heared that there are reasons for the bill not being paid yet. The fact that the trains are doing much better, and it doens't seem to have effected the FR much (I usually see atleast one train every day on here and it's still looking good), well it'll all bring in money, money that will probably end up being put in to begin finishing the WHR off.

    More trains need more coaches and locos, which to appear need more money. Also as a result you may find that the each train just won't be as busy which means you're increasing fuel costs for not much gain, the better thing to do is just stick on another couple of coaches.

    To have layed 25miles of preserved railway track in about 12 years is an astounding achievement, even if it doesn't open to Porthmadog in the next 8 years, it'll still be astounding! This is a first of its kind project, I think they've done rather well, especially when you look at how long it's takeing the Llangollen Railway to get from Carrog to Corwen, and they haven't really started yet!!!
     
  6. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    We have layed 1,000ft out of the 2 1/2 miles, so we have started...
     
  7. SillyBilly

    SillyBilly New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    That's why I said "really", ie. Most of the trackbed still needs doing.
     
  8. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    The big problem with stories of this kind, whether wholly accurate or not, is that suppliers can get nervous and restrict credit. All businesses need credit from time to time, especially seasonal ones at the beginning of the season.

    If the report on the delay in opening to Porthmadog is true then there is a potential solution. This would involve the WHR running into the Heritage Railway's Porthmadog terminus with the latter being authorised to run shuttles to Hafod-y-Llyn as payment in kind. I know this is probably a naive thing to say but it would get all concerned out of a hole.
     
  9. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    I think we can safely say that isnt going to happen, and even if it was practical, affordable and acceptable to both sides it wouldnt happen till next year at the earliest when fingers crossed the CTRL and crossing installations should all be finished anyway.

    Chris
     
  10. SillyBilly

    SillyBilly New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    Just for reference, if WHR trains were to go in to Tremadog Road the WHHR services to Pen-Y-Mount would not be able to operate when the WHR train was on site as there is only one platform fit for public use and this platform would be filled by a train, you would get lots of annoyed familys who were looking forward to their return ride to P-Y-M along with a shed tour as the train wouldn't be able to run, the WHHR passenger numbers would therefore take a hit. The water tower at Tremadog Road probably doesn't contain enough to replenish a Garratt.

    Also I'm sure the FRCo. can see it doesn't make commercial sense to give someone else your gift shop & cafe sales, it is after all a business.
     
  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    Okay but if someone really wanted to resolve these problems then they could do so. Negotiations on the financial side would take into account extra patronage brought to the Tremadog Road shop.

    There is enough bad news floating around about the Welsh narrow gauge scene at present and some attempt to get something more positive would be welcome.
     
  12. pennysteam

    pennysteam New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    I still can not see the full journey being attractive to the average punter, the problem is it takes to long. If you take a family then they are usualy after a ride that last around 1 hour and a return, even better if they have something else to do before the return, which is why I feel Beddgelert is ideal location for the railway, could take a tad longer than the ideal running time but we have an attraction. I would get a full shop there ASAP, and aim to run half the trains as far as there and turn around with the other half running all the way. Like wise you could also run shuttles from pothmadog end, but off set their arrival at Beddgelert by half an hour so providing a natual short stop with the option of taking longer.
     
  13. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    My understanding is that the line will be a mix of shorter and longer trips , obviously it's hard to know how the traffic flows pan out until the line is a little more established. The rebuilding of the WHR has to rank as one of preservations greatest undertakings and i'm looking forward to travelling on it soon

    Sadly one of the great aspects of modern society is the build it and knock them down complex because heck it makes great media coverage
     
  14. SillyBilly

    SillyBilly New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    I heared they did some reasearch and a suprising amount of people want to do the whole run. I think there was something about K1 being sheded at Boston Lodge, but even if that doesn't always happen, just because the train goes from Caernarfon to Porthmadog doesn't mean the passengers have to get the same train set back, trains need to run in both directions so what's the point in running round half way through unless you're using the least powerful of your locos? You can market it so that people understand that they can very easily get off at Beddgelert and don't have to do the whole route, yet say that if you want to go the whole hog you can. They are allready planning on something similar.
     
  15. Pesmo

    Pesmo New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    The return trip is long. I guess once the whole line is open its going to be close to 5 hours, which means you need to plan for toilet, liquid refreshment stops etc as a passenger. Not sure how that will affect passengers, no doubt they will be gauging customer feedback early on and responding accordingly
     
  16. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    There are toilet and liquid refreshment facilities provided on-board so this is not an issue. Amusing small children for 5 hours is a different matter of course, as is the cost, but as I said earlier, loadings were good when we did the trip a week back.
     
  17. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    But people don't have to do the whole trip. I've travelled a couple of times recently and there are a lot of people joining and leaving at intermediate stations, even the halts are seeing use. And because the possible journeys don't all start and finish at one end , its not a case of trains being empty for part of the journey, people getting off at, say Waunfawr to have a meal get replaced by people getting on to go to Beddgelert because they are on holiday near Waen and fancy a trip and a change of beer. And so it goes on at each station. People will go from Beddgelert to see the ospreys, or from Port to climb Snowdon, or whatever. In other words, and unlike most preserved railways (but like some of the most successful ones) the day out on the railway isn't necessarily an end in itself, there are other reasons for riding.

    I suspect it will only be either enthusiasts or people planning best part of a day at the 'other end' that make the whole round trip, and the latter won't do it on the same train.
     
  18. triassic

    triassic New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    Following the discussion since my original post, I`m just wondering what reason the FR/WHR actually has to operate a timetabled service over the entire railway? As a few posters have mentioned there is the need for an extra loco, coaching stock and the associated fuel costs and staffing issues.
    I`m not suggesting there won`t be "Heritage trains" with for example Lyd from Port to Beddgelert. If over the next 12 months the railway is running as is, and at least breaking even in these hard times will there be any incentive to extend services?
    Isn`t there some economic law of diminishing returns? :-k
     
  19. SillyBilly

    SillyBilly New Member

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    I think there is a positive air over the revenue at the moment, trains are busy, even on the hot days, so I would hope that breaking even is quite achievable. There is incentive to open it in that you will get the people who want to go on the railway when it opens during a time when perhaps you need the money, but it's the possibility of putting FfR passengers on that train that perhaps removes this incentive, people who may mistake the world famous Ffestiniog Railway for the WHR.
     
  20. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Re: WHR, has it a future?

    There must be another incentive, although possible not an altogether revenue friendly one.

    I understand that at least some of the thinking behind the considerable injection of public funding in this project had to do with the reduction in the number of motor vehicles needing to park in Beddgelert. As the WHR stands currently it is likely to encourage even more parking than before and I cannot imagine the political godfathers being amused by this situation. They will expect it to be sorted.

    It is grossly unfair in view of the admirable work which has been carried out but the project has lost some face on account of the two prominent lineside fires, with the Railway Inspectorate becoming involved and the inability to open through to Porthmadog in 2009. This is one reason why I suggested an accomodation with the Heritage Railway (with whom I have no connection). It would also keep the funding bodies happy for the moment and would be an insurance in case the money to complete the cross-town link proves impossible to source in time for the 2010 season.
     
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