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70013 & 30777 ECML lineside fires 02/09/11.

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by sunstream, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. thickmike

    thickmike Member

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    Frank, don't let some of the undeniable truths of what you post be obscured by the way you post it. I agree with you totally that the Steam industry needs to up its game because, whether there is open access or not, we are viewed by many in NR and the TOC's as a proverbial pain. Incidents like last week could easily become the first nail in the coffin (if they haven't already on the ECML). I agree with your ideas - make it easy for me to agree with you then we can move forward and build a team and a concensus.

    Kind regards,

    Mike
     
  2. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Frank you are so right!

    The late Bernard Staite would never countenance windows you cant see out of, dirty toilets and no information being passed to the passengers.

    All these are now neglected by tour operators.

    If a Locomotive Owner or group were unable to provide a reliable Locomotive or support Crew then they were let know that there would be no more work for them until the situation was rectified.

    Locomotives still undergoing overhaul were not allocated work until they had passed their loaded test runs.

    Loads had to be within the locomotives capacity.

    There had to be a pool of locomotives available at both ends of a run so that in the event of a failure there was another Steam Loco. available.

    All tours and routes had to be arranged that in the event of a problem on the charter there was minimal risk of shutting down a major route.

    This is what we need now, a BJS for the 21st. Century who can co-ordinate the shambles that currently passes for the Steam Railtour Industry. And before anyone asks, yes I did have the privilege of Knowing and working with Bernard. Not always the easiest man to get along with but you could never fault his commitments or standards.
     
  3. 6026 King John

    6026 King John Well-Known Member

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    Nice idea but can't see how it can be achieved in practice. Are you really suggesting that there should always be a loco in steam and ready to go at the other end just in case? Surely this would impact severely on the cost of the tour even if it is possible.

    What I would say is at least there should be some provision for breakdowns. A couple of recent incidents shows this is not happening:

    1) Tangmere stalled on Filton Bank working a Poole-Cardiff train. It was just by chance that a West Coast diesel was nearby having worked a leg of the Paddington-Shrewsbury train. Had that not been the case what would have happened?

    2) When Duke of Gloucester failed on the return Torbay Express the driver had to take a taxi from Tiverton to Bristol to collect a diesel loco to assist thereby causing a 3 hour delay and a very late finish to the tour. Just lucky that the train was in a loop and not blocking the main line.
     
  4. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    The issue of Thunderbird diesels is one that seriously needs addressing, there simply isn't spare diesels sitting around the country anymore and if you need a vacuum example..forget it. Having a diesel at each of the hubs mentioned would go some way to address this and perhaps where there is a possible performance risk (south devon banks or a long distance from such a hub e.g SW Wales) a diesel shadowing the train. Quite often though this already happens if the diesel is to haul the return leg or needs to perform shunting duties, so long as it isn't dead on the train increasing the risk! I was once on a failed steam tour at Taunton, nearest suitable diesel? Eastleigh.. and this was a decade ago so this isn't a new issue and it still needs sorting! Having a Thunderbird diesel at these hubs could be financially beneficial for West Coast as it isn't just steam locos that fail!
     
  5. Alberta 45562

    Alberta 45562 Part of the furniture

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    The problem there is that,especially in summer I very much doubt WCRC (currently) have spare diesels that can sit around doing nothing.
     
  6. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    I think to describe the current industry as a shambles is a bit strong, it has to be doing something right to sell so many tickets this summer and not all the customers can be new! It has it's issues yes, but nothing that can't be fixed.
    Alberta you make a good point about spare diesels, however very often the stock is brought down from Carnforth/Southall and needs taking back after the tour. Presumably this loco(s) will therefore be in the area at the correct time? If we are talking about providing semi permanent steam depots around the country it also makes sense to allocate a diesel loco to each as well as steam surely? No doubt someone with greater knowledge than me can correct me if i'm wrong!
     
  7. hatherton hall

    hatherton hall Well-Known Member

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    Now then, just slow down and take a deep breath here. To suggest that the mainlin steam movement is a "shambles" is a gross exageration of the facts. When you consider the extraordinary number of exta steam trains compared to those in he Bernad Staite era, then of course there are going to be more mishaps. But as a percentage of the number of steam trains run in 2011, we are in no way worse off compared to all those years ago.

    Yes, dirty windows and toilets are avoidable and operators should brush up their act (pardon the pun) and that just needs a greater effort by those concerned.

    Compared to many other countries in the world, we are a small nation. And yet we provide more mainline steam services than any other country in the world by a distance. We should be proud of that and acknowledge the wonderful effort being undertken by the likes of Steam Dreams and the Railway Touring Company to run so many tours, which, unlike ten years ago when they were running half empty, are now brlliantly supported by Jo Public.

    People like Graeme Bunker are the new Bernard Staite in this day and age. Just look at the Steam Dreams programme and you will realise the mighty task he and his team have to pull it all off. Magnificent.

    So let's ditched words like"shambles" and accept and be very proud that the UK mainline steam movement is the best in the World!

    Nick
     
  8. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest



    Sorry, but words such as head and sand are all that spring to mind here!
     
  9. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Do you think for one minute that the various tour operators who've been messed around by NR have not made complaints? I doubt very much they've just sat there and taken it on the chin. The problem is there is no alternative to NR so they can't exactly go to another infrastructure provider in an attempt to get a better deal.
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Part of the furniture Account Suspended

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    But Network Rail is only British Rail - or part of it - so far as reality goes - owned by and reporting to Government no matter how our politicians try to disguise it.

    So if NR won't respond to upward pressure, nip round the back and hit 'em from above!
     
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    This is well illustrated by common sense and a concession to the enthusiasts on the return ACE. Britannia, now on its own with 11, definitely needed help over the Devon banks and to keep the diesel on the back (rather than bring it to the front as pilot at Plymouth, which NR could have insisted on) was really helpful. The day was foul. Ray Churchill was brilliant in controlling the slips, the DL helped only when asked from the footplate and we had a barnstorming run eastwards, keeping time.

    What concerns me as a general point is that you cannot always guarantee that all parties approach planning, operation and any problems with a consistent and cooperative approach. That's why a set of standards are needed. If they exist then I'm afraid they aren't all that apparent in practice.
     
  12. alastair

    alastair Well-Known Member

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    Oakfield.I have read Hatherton's post twice and I find it difficult to disagree with anything he says. So what exactly is it that he says that you don't agree with. i.e what point are you trying to make?
     
  13. *8A*

    *8A* New Member

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    WCR did this with the Cambrians, leaving a Cl33 at Mach to cover for steam (which it had to do on the odd occasion) and assist with the move back to Carnforth at season end.
     
  14. Alberta 45562

    Alberta 45562 Part of the furniture

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    +1 Fully agree.
     
  15. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    We have a great product, that is well patronised and when it works well brings enjoyment to a great many people including us enthusiasts. What we are almost trying to stop here is steam becoming a victim of it's own success in that the industry is biting off more than it can chew and we become over ambitous and mistakes happen. Expansion is great so long as the systems are in place to support it to enable it to grow successfully. I don't call that a disaster, I call that a time when reflection and a re-evaluation of working practices is needed.
     
  16. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    In the light of what has happened this year, tt will be interesting to see what the 2012 main line programme will look like.
     
  17. DUKE71000

    DUKE71000 Member

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    I would certainly not say that the mainline steam movement is a shambles, but there are areas which could and should be improved for the long term stability and growth of this market. Several of the points made would certainly help provide better planning which in turn would mean the passengers getting what they paid for. Comments regarding the 'normal' passengers not minding if the loco or route changes is incorrect. With the current amount of tours not running as advertised there will come a point, if not already, when several just don’t bother. I have travelled on 13 tours this year of which only 3 have run as originally advertised. There is always going to last minute problems which can affect a tour running as advertised, but the majority has not had that problem at all.
     
  18. hatherton hall

    hatherton hall Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Mark and "Alistair" for your kind acceptance of the message I was trying to convey. As a kid in the 60's I never dreamt of being able to see steam on the mainline after 1968. But just look at what we have now. It is truly remarkable and I will not accept anyone person on this forum suggesting it is a "shambles".

    Steam is here and here to stay. I may not be around in 20 years time but I tell you what, STEAM WILL BE and by the way I am not burying my head in the sands!

    At Woking on Sunday waiting for the ACE Dave Hewson who is now retired but a WCR driver for steam said to me that the highlight of his railway career was racing through Woking on Sunday with Tangmere and the Brit (he was on the Brit) storming through his "home" station with whistles blasting from his loco and Tangmere. When he left Nine Elms in 1967 his future was without steam and he has to pinch himself to now be back on the mainline in 2011;

    He is a wonderful man with a true passion for the steam locomotives he thought he had left behind. Drivers Ray Churchill, Ray Poole and many many more are the really true testament to the magic of steam.

    Long may it continue.

    Nick
     
  19. hatherton hall

    hatherton hall Well-Known Member

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    By the way, it was on Tuesday at Woking waiting for the down DCE that Dave and I had a chat about the down ACE on the previous Suinday!!
     
  20. Steve from GWR

    Steve from GWR Well-Known Member

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    Frank, I think you're missing a point here.

    That point is not the validity of your message, or otherwise.

    It's just that you've posted it a hundred and odd times on here already. And more elsewhere. Another post about train reliability or RTC? Frank will soon be here with the same old stuff again. And congratulating himself on his unique insights once again. Anywhere else, it'd be called spam. Thanks, I already know where to buy my Viagra should I need it - please stop repeating yourself. And I already know Frank wants an industry forum covering advance planning, routes, timings, gauging issues, etc yadda yadda yadda - please stop repeating yourself.

    That's maybe why the word "rant" is used.
     

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