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£15m GCR reunification plan announced

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by railway, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link Joe. That is good publicity and I really hope that it does the 2 GCRs a power of good, they both deserve to be united. Something like this won't work without serious private and public investment. As for the GCR remaining a purely heritage railway, I think that will change; it will become a route for commuters and for freight too. Volunteers, well those days are numbered in the operating department. Thinking too far ahead am I, well maybe but the money has got to be attracted from investors and heritage alone, imho, is not enough.
     
  2. laplace

    laplace New Member

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    Are you currently limited by platform length or by how many coaches are fit for use? Elsewhere I've seen a set too long for the platform run with the left side of the front coach and right side of the rear coach locked (both their platforms were on the right in the arrival direction, which would also be the case with the GCR's islands), but I don't know if this would be legal to start doing now/do on a 2 track line given the emergency evacuation implications.

    There seems to be a shortage of guards just about everywhere (except Heaton Park Tramway who require drivers to also be qualified as guards and work as such when necessary, but that's only a solution if you have a surplus of would-be drivers). My own reasons for not really liking that job are that it is mostly either waiting or boringly repetitive actions without much opportunity to exercise skill (except when something goes wrong), but I do not know if this opinion is common.
     
  3. Orion

    Orion New Member

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    If the current railway is making money then why is it that the taxpayer is pumping billions into the railway system but the rail user is still paying through the nose for the 'privilege' of travelling by the damned thing? It is also true that the GCR London Extension never made any money for the shareholders of the GCR and LNER anyway. I don't see how the 'punter' (a pretty derogatory term) is going to cough up £15M to bridge the gap. It's just rubbish, utter rubbish.
     
  4. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    Potential passengers might not put forward £15m of their own, but it's not beyond reason that a potential source of regular freight traffic might.
     
  5. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say that the current railway was making money, I said that railways were built to make money (amongst other things). I have an interest in history (one of the things that attracted me to the heritage railway scene) and I am well aware that many schemes (during the Railway Mania periods of the 19th century for example) promised the investor (or punter - which I don't feel to be derogatory but you prefer to differ which is your view) much but delivered little. The GCR London extension was built during a period which is a little different from today, when ordinary people travel far more and there are more of us on this crowded island. I agree that the punter may not cough up £15m but a mix of public and private money might although I have serious doubts too. You are entitled to think that doubts don't come into it and that it's just rubbish, utter rubbish. But so was the idea of a new Welsh Highland Railway and a new A1 Pacific........

    PS-Awesome Bodmin GWR layout on your link - many thanks for that!
     
  6. Mike Delamar

    Mike Delamar New Member

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    The GCR has built up a hugely impressive steam era atsmosphere, with attention to detail on everything, from stations, signals, rolling stock.

    the GCRN has also built up an impressive railway, but with the emphesis more so on diesels and later period locos and stock.

    Im just wondering how those involved with the GCR would feel with say the more moderner 1970s+) locos and stock working on their railway. with some of the stock, lets say, not restored as yet, faded blue peak with intercity liveried mk2s for example.

    Im sure those involved with the GCRN wouldnt see any problem, Im just wondering on those from the GCR, do they have any concerns to the image? or would it be a case of limiting days when GCRN stock run over the GCR such as at diesel galas?

    and would the 2 railways become 1 company/organisation? would the GCR take over the running of the GCRN or would it be sort of like the welsh highland ffestinniog?

    I did try to word this carefully as I think it may come across as stirring, but its a genuine honest question from an all round railway enthusiast

    cheers

    Mike
     
  7. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    Im not sure thats an entirely fair generalisation - while the GCR(N) uses modern traction more frequently on passenger services both railways have a wide selection of loco's and rolling stock from various innapropriate periods. However at Ruddington its all concentrated around the station whereas on the GCR its spread along the line and so somewhat less obvious. In fact arguably the most important and historic passenger vehicles, the Barnums and 4 wheelers, are on the GCR(N).

    Chris
     
  8. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    I'm sure that a normal timetable (trains approx hourly, plus dalex runs) can be run over 18 miles with 3 rakes of Mk1s, 3 steam engines, 1 diesel loco and a DMU, and allowing for appropriate recovery times (NB: present normal diagrams are for 2 steam, 1 diesel, 1 DMU, 2 rakes). The GCR and GCR(N) combined have enough Mk1 stock already to form 3 rakes for general use. If the GCR(N) have an airbraked BR blue Mk2 rake for use at diesel galas, I don't see an issue with that.

    Because of the track layout at Loughborough the down platform is not ideal for trains running south because the loco has to stand in the platform to be behind the signals whereas the up platform it can stand under the Great Central Road bridge. But once the gap is gapped presumably up trains will mostly use the up platform and down trains mostly the down so this will be less of a problem. 6-7 coaches is about right, but more could be accommodated particularly if the platform was extended northwards at Loughborough.

    From Google Earth:

    Loughborough's up platform is approx. 420ft
    Loughborough down platform is similar but has to include the loco
    Quorn up platform 430ft
    Quorn down platform 395 ft
    Rothley up platform 410 ft
    Rothley down platform 400ft
    LN platform is 685 ft but of course not all of that is usable because of the run round loop; I reckon 350 ft is usable, but it would be easily extended.
     
  9. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    That seems about right to me - the hourly passenger trains currently have a lengthy (approaching 50 minute) layover at Loughborough each hour, so it should be easily possible to run those through to Ruddington and back with just an additional diagram. Whether or not the lunchtime diner will be running as a separate set dedicated to the dining services (rather than the RKB working 'normal' trains either side of lunchtime as at present), possibly additional to the hourly pattern, I don't know. There's also the possibility of the DMU working one of the 'loco-hauled' diagrams in its entirety, particularly in the winter, which would save a set.
     
  10. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Surely the real question is not what equipment would be operationally needed for extra service, but does the demand exist for those services?

    A former colleague of mine would always stress to railways considering extensions that by running twice the length you do double many costs, but find it very difficult to double what you charge. Look at a table of cost per mile for Steam Railways and the smallest charge per mile tends to be the longer lines. You may achieve £8 for a 5 mile long line but won't be necessarily able to charge £24 for a 15 mile trip.

    The other issue as noted by the need for extra stock is that you do need to run more trains to keep the same interval service over a longer line - put simply, on a longer journey, a train set won't be back at its starting point as quickly to work its next train.

    Extra train sets require extra storage and maintenance facilities as well as extra staff. I would also suggest that the cost of operating a round trip on the combined GCR could be up to £500 even at today's prices.

    However, the GCR does have the chance to build as much business as possible whilst still two Railways to try and ensure demand is there (and there will undoubtedly be some extra demand for the new experience of the combined journey) if and when the route is combined.

    However, I think it is very clear that the financial case here is more based on freight than passenger services, which may mean a less regular service if there is not the demand to run more train sets.

    Steven
     
  11. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    At galas in particular, the latter.
     
  12. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    A good question. People will have different opinions and I'm sure there will be some interesting discussions. Personally I feel that the class 56, for example, is "too modern", though the flip side is that if there is incoming freight traffic it would be the ideal 'rescue loco' for emergencies. You have to look at it from a few different points of view and come up with a sensible compromise. The 17+ mile railway will probably have room for most people, but I do feel that it's important that there is an overall theme/era/cut-off so that we don't just become a place to accumulate and dump anything that happens to be available. To be fair to the guys at Ruddington, they do have diesels and coaches from the steam era, and have been gradually sorting out their stock - for example the IC liveried Mk.2s are going, I believe, if they haven't gone already. And those of us at the GCR(S) are in no position to complain to the GCRN about unrestored stock, we have plenty of our own (although we're working on it - several wagons and a few coaches came back into traffic this year, for example).

    I've no idea if this has been discussed, let alone decided, but it's an interesting question. The two have quite different business models - the GCRN own their railway, for example, whereas the GCR(S) lease theirs. The supporting groups have different setups too. I would imagine (pure speculation on my part though) that it will be easier to build the missing section first and run some trains, and sort out the administrative side later. But then there would have to be an agreement about how to split the income up, for example if the GCR(S) sends a loco out onto the main line would they have to pay an access fee to the GCRN for their main line connection, that sort of thing. It could all get quite complicated. Well, I daresay people more versed in the legalities than me will sort it out.
     
  13. Mike Delamar

    Mike Delamar New Member

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    thanks for he reply pmh_74

    interesting you say about 1 being owned and the other leased, I wasnt aware of that.

    one of the reasons for asking is I thought itd be a no brainer having the new loco sheds at Ruddington, as there seems to be plenty of space there alongside the exisiting shed, but if it where still 2 seperate organisations, then maybe the GCR would want to keep their shed somewhere on their side of the line? just for the land ownership sakes or maybe because the engine sheds are popular with people, they may want to keep it nearer there own shops and cafe's etc. that is, if it where to be 2 seperate companies.
    thats just pure guesswork from me.


    I agree with you about era and theme,with the railway infrastructior I think thats important, gas lamps, period signs,colours etc. and clearing of weeds and bits lying around.

    see no problem with modern liveried locos and coaches, on certain weekends, when theyre painted up in theyre shiny railfreight colours I think they look fab, just that when theyre running around shabby and unrestored it doesnt look too good,intercity coaches when faded do look pretty bad.

    I know it all takes time,money and effort,you can only run what youve got, and Id be pretty sure that the volunteers and owners of stock want their locos gleaming and the railway looking clean and tidy too.

    again it comes down to what joe public think too. if they think it looks like a scrapyard they may be put off.

    I agree with you on the point about aquiring things because they become available, then sat round in public view looking a bit shabby, sadly, all the pre br stuff has well been snapped up years ago and beggers cant be choosers with whats available.

    I think Im prattling on now so Ill stop :)

    Mike
     
  14. std tank

    std tank Member

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    The M1 would have crossed the GCR main line just east of the village of Blackwell, which is south of Tibshelf. The M1 crosses Huthwaite Lane just after it would have crossed the GC main line. One side of the GC mainline road overbridge where it passed below Huthwaite Lane still exists.
     
  15. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    But the Svr manage to run a service that would on a line that would be comparable in length and charge much less than £24 yet record the highest turnover on any of the lines, the nymr ignoring the whitby service, more passengers with less than the SVR's service levels. These are the big two and they manage it. Even the 3rd the WSR, they manage to run a longer line with lower fares and also less stock that some have suggested (6 sets) So I am not sure that your arguement stacks up.
     
  16. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Pete - the point I was making was that longer lines don't charge the same per mile as shorter lines, so increasing journey length may increase costs by a greater proportion than you can increase income from the same number of passengers. A longer lines does have some economies of scale against shorter lines, but "manage it" is about the phrase - financially and manpower wise, it isn't easy, and many of even the earliest heritage lines to be established have only just started having to tackle the really big costs - major bridge or embankment repairs.

    On the NYMR, we charge £21 for the full Pickering - Whitby service - and did find that, unusually, we were able to charge 1/3 more than Pickering to Grosmont, which is the same increase as in mileage. We also found that we needed 1/3 more stock to maintain the same interval service, plus needing more locos and actually to run more departures off peak, again to avoid increasing the time gap between trains. Although only between 1/3 and 1/5 of departures from Pickering are through to Whitby, over 40% of passengers buy a ticket including travel to or from Whitby.

    These are factors that any railway looking at an extension needs to consider - and on the Moors, we had the advantage that we didn't have to build the extension - it was already there and we "pay as we go"!

    Steven
     
  17. Ianb47306

    Ianb47306 New Member

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    A most helpful reply, thank you. A quick look on google maps at that location shows the trackbed of the GCR for a short distance in either direction until it is lost again due to redevelopment. Google street view also shows the bridge you mention. I think I'll have to do some more exploring when I get chance.
     
  18. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    Regarding the merger of the two companies, I don't see a problem with that. Not sure who owns GCR(N), but AFAIK the major shareholders in the GCR are Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council with the balance held by members. You appoint an independent trustee to value the two businesses (say it's 70% GCR, 30% GCR(N)), then assign the shares in the new company proportionally to those holding shares in the previous company.

    The fact that half of the line is on a very long term lease and the other is owned should be neither here nor there.
     
  19. Joe Petroni

    Joe Petroni New Member

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    Having seen some of the local press, I was left a bit confused as to what was actually being announced.

    To try and find out a bit more I went to the GCR website. Surprisingly there is no mention whatsoever of the scheme. From a link on the site I went to the GCRN website, again nothing.

    Buried in the links section of the GCR site is a link to the Bridging the Gap Website. This was last updated 5th August!
    What surprises me is having gone to all the trouble of getting all the press attention they did, why they wouldn’t want to follow it up on their respective websites.

    It almost gives the impression that the two railways don’t actually want to be joined!
     
  20. Pesmo

    Pesmo New Member

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    Joe, people have made that point before. They should be shouting it from the rooftops
     

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