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Winners and Losers in 2013

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by John R, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Paul42

    Paul42 Well-Known Member

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    I posted this in Bluebell Matters thread yesterday ( for those who have not seen it) : -


    From the News from the Bluebell email : -

    At a meeting of Bluebell [managers] on Friday, it was reported that the line had attracted 188,144 visitors in 2013-up from 146,224 the year before. Of these, an encouraging 35,029 passengers started their journey at East Grinstead. The increase ensured ticket revenue soared from £1,577,474 in 2012 to £2,294,145 in 2013.
     
  2. buzby2

    buzby2 Member

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    Swanage has had to relay it's entire running line [everything lifted in Summer 1972], build three new stations, create additional storage sidings and have inadequate maintenance facilities or storage sheds due to lack of land.
    Because we cannot run 7/8 coach trains, like SVR or WSR, we have to run more frequent trains which is not necessarily conducive to lower costs. Wear and tear/general operating costs are possibly not much (if at all) less.
     
  3. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. The Swanage is much shorter than the SVR and requires far fewer resources to run its high peak service. As to the cost comparison, that's why I would love to have a set of management accounts for both railways, but given the length etc I would expect the SR to be the cheaper to run on a cost per passenger mile basis. Without detailed knowledge it is hard not to draw the conclusion that the SVR is somehow more efficient than the Swanage, or attracts more donations or both. I am not being critical of either railway, merely curious.
     
  4. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    The Swanage Turnover is just over £2 million from the 2012 accounts, and the SVR over £5 million. This shows that, although the price per mile that can be charged tends to be higher for shorter journeys, the absolute fare chargeable is still less. Whilst running costs would appear to less, remember that, as pointed out, a line that can only run shorter trains has to run more of them to carry a similar number of passengers, so mileage operated - and hence core operating costs - are not as different. I would be interested to know what mileage the fleet on the Swanage runs, and hence how many passengers per mile are carried - I suspect on that measure, Swanage could be amongst the most efficient in the country!

    If then consider that having loco stabling, servicing and repair facilities, administration and safety systems, C & W workshops etc (as actual facilities) cost the same for the infrastructure and a basic level of activity regardless of whether the line they support is 7 or 17 miles, you start to see that costs are not simply "per mile".

    The SVR has, as far as I am aware, the largest membership of any UK line and has raised more from share issues than any other UK line. It is this size of structure that has enabled it to be on such a large scale, supported to a huge extent by 2 successful and large lottery bids.

    The simple fact is that few if any heritage railways can expect to fund anything more than major repairs out of operating cash flow - "developments" need to be from "new money", be it grants, donations or bequests - and the SVR has been very good at raising such money (as is the Bluebell amongst others).

    Steven
     
  5. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Comparing turnover isn't the whole story, though, because it doesn't take into account fundraising by associated but independent groups (e.g. in the NYMR's case the LNERCA and NELPG) who bring in additional funds that benefit of the railway but not directly controlled by it. The bigger the railway the more of these groups it tends to have, and the more likelihood there will be of significant benefactors - so it is worth building up and cultivating the membership!
     
  6. Robin

    Robin Member

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    Agreed with the last couple of posts, and you also have to factor the cost of maintaining the infrastructure into costs per passenger mile. These can vary significantly from line to line (in the SVR's case the mile around Sterns being one of the more costly ones!).
     
  7. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    As well as Victoria Bridge, Wribbenhall, Sandbourne and Falling Sands Viaducts
     
  8. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    I've made the point before that, for all the concern about supply of locomotives and volunteers, it will be the need to replace a major piece of infrastructure, or the sort of infrastructure damage which the SVR has survived, that will do for a Railway in this country - it effectively has in Europe. (The other threat in Europe, especially France, tends to be the small scale of operations mean local authorities, who often own the lines, see other means of helping the local economy more effectively such as ripping up the heritage railway and spending thousands of Euros building a cycle way).

    A long line that is not heavily engineered may well be safer than a shorter, heavily engineered line when the infrastructure is becoming life expired.

    Steven
     
  9. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Well, I would like even more to be able to look at the management accounts.

    Completely agree that the SVR has proven very good at raising capital and having a huge membership helps that enormously. Also agree that on a passengers per mile the SR may be the most efficient, but.....The SVR turnover is more double that of the SR. How much of the difference is donations, and how much is the SVR ability to relieve people of more of their cash per visit than the SR in teas, and shops etc? That was the sort of efficiency I was thinking about.

    The SVR is a day out, the SR is largely a trip to the beach. Leaving aside the issue of major infrastructure renewal (which I agree with your views on) the longer line is clearly more viable today than the shorter, perhaps because of the "day out" and "value for money" perceptions? I travelled on the SR last year, and to be honest I though it was very expensive for what it is, which I realise will be red-rag to some, but is simply my reaction, my personal feeling, and doesn't make the SR a bad place (because it isn't). On the other hand I travelled on the NYMR a couple of years ago, and felt the fare to be excellent value. Just to twist things completely though the best day out on a steam railway I think was the KWVR. Short, but something to do at every station. A reason to linger, and perhaps that is the real secret, rather than length?
     
  10. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    To be honest, where does Swanage go from here?

    The majority think that it is value for money for the service it offers.

    I have been involved since 1983 and got involved because it should not have shut and should be providing rail connected services to the outside world.

    £11.50 adult return from Norden to Swanage is a lot of money, but parking in Corfe, Swanage if you can find a space , is more than that for a day.

    Some embryonic lines charge £6 for a two minute shunt yet nobody complains, whilst lines like Llangollen and Swanage who have had to invest big time and have a fare structure commensurate with local amenities and attractions fall foul to the greater rail enthusiast community.

    I adore the SVR or the IOW because they really are living museums, vilify me if you must, but we are in a different business.

    The Purbeck Line is a people moving railway.

    My concern is that the railway (SR) can charge very little more for doubling its length in one years time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  11. Shrink Proof

    Shrink Proof Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, coming late to this one...

    Last week it was reported that annual visitor numbers for the NRM in York reached 925,577, which is up more than 25% on 2012/13. Obviously the Great Gathering of A4s was a one-off shot in the arm (13,000 came on the best day in July!) so it'll be interesting to see what happens next year...
     

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