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Bluebell 2009 "Modernisation"

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by davycrocket, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. porous pot

    porous pot New Member

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    An awful lot happens in 13 years...
     
  2. hassell_a

    hassell_a New Member

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    Saving the SVR crews early starts doesn't come into this - there are still plenty of them - trust me on that! The diesel diagram on the 5 train service is more intended on only needing to have 5 steam locos (4 in use, 1 spare) on these dates which still allows engines to be out of traffic for maintenance. Otherwise, you reach the stage with a servicable fleet the size of the SVR's that you can't carry out running repairs, etc on the fleet because they are all in use, which will catch up with you in the end....

    In fact it states on timetable that on the 5 train service, there may one diagram worked by a diesel, but often 5 steam engines are turned out - e.g. Easter Sunday and Monday next month are booked for steam engines on all 5 diagrams, as is the Mayday bank holiday weekend

    Anyway the SVR has had diesel shunters since at least the early 1970's and the class 52's arrived as long ago as 1977, so it's hardly 'anti-diesel'

    Anyway back to the Bluebell....
     
  3. Axe

    Axe New Member

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    The current method of running service trains is simple and straight forward from both an operational and a staffing point of view. Why anyone should want to change something that works well and has done so for getting on 50 years is frankly beyond believe!

    Chris
     
  4. tamper

    tamper New Member

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    I do wonder sometimes whether some people on this thread ever bother to read previous posts or even to put their brain in gear before posting their own remarks.

    Now let's get a few things straight.

    ALL the below has been posted before and you would know this IF you bothered to read the posts.

    No STEAM loco was available for hire for the period required to remove the spoil at Imberhorne.
    73136 was brought in to the BB to reduce the work load on the Bluebell's steam locos.
    Perseverance is NOT a fixture at the BB and will be off and away circa 4th April.
    There is not, nor has there EVER been, any suggestion of running a PUBLIC service on the BB with 136, or any other diesel for that matter.
    Whilst 136 was ALREADY at the BB a one off 3 hour private charter was run that raised sufficient funds to cover the 10 week hire cost and ALLthe fuel used over the 10 week period.
    What a sensible thing to do in these hard financial times.

    And now for my opinion.

    If you think that repainting and/or modifying a Bluebell steam loco will raise large amounts of cash then I suggest you join as a member, dig DEEP into your pocket and buy the paint/cast the new chimney/whatever and then get down to SP in your overalls and do the work YOURSELF. You are fully entitled to your opinion but NOT at someone else's COST or WORKLOAD.

    Finaly.
    Those anti diesel moaners on here should be very glad that the owners of PERSEVERANCE were prepared to remove it from the main line and send it to the Bluebell with the consequent loss of income that this has entailed. If you don't want to see a diesel at the BB again then start a fund to hire a steamer with a large initial donation.

    I will close now with just the happy thought that the anti diesel brigade had better not be at the BB this Saturday PM when a PRIVATE charter with a PRIVATE diesel loco and a PRIVATE coach will travel over the full line to the delight of those taking part.
     
  5. stepney60

    stepney60 New Member

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    Might I be as brave as to ask which diesel and coach this is?

    And will Tom be guarding it in order to further make himself a target for the baying mob (of perhaps 5 or 6)?
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    This wouldn't work on so many levels...

    Firstly, the spare crew - they are there for a purpose: so that they can cover an absence if one of the other rostered crews doesn't turn up, which does occur occasionally. They aren't just there to drink tea...

    Secondly, the first train back to SP (the 15:55 from KC) - which, incidentally, is normally the bigger engine, not that it makes any difference - arrives around 16:35. By time you have run round, taken water, propelled the stock back into the siding and done any shunts the running foreman wants rearranging dead engines, it is often well past 17:00 before you even start disposal - so no possibility of the crew being ready for a 17:00 departure with a DEMU. Disposal is at least another thirty minutes, sometimes more, so it would be between 17:30 and 18:00 before you are ready to book off. Incidentally, there isn't much difference in disposal time between big and small engines; certainly not enough to be significant. And rushing the job so as to cover another turn doesn't sound like a good idea when you are dealing with relatively fragile machines...

    Bear in mind as well that booking on time in the steam heat season for that train is 06:30 and you are up to 11 to 11.5 hours on duty, not much below the maximum of 12 hours. Running a fourth round trip - whether steam or diesel - would be impossible inside the hours, so you'd be looking instead at a change of crews in the middle of the day, negating the point of the suggestion of the steam crew covering the last diesel turn.

    Finally, just because you are a steam crew doesn't mean you are passed out as a diesel driver. So for the suggested roster to work, you'd have to ensure you only rostered a crew who were qualified on both steam and diesel, making the roster clerk's job considerably more complex.

    Then of course is the fact that by 17:30 you're basically pretty knackered (having been on duty for 11 hours remember!) and want nothing much more than a wash and a cup of tea / pint. After three trips, the last thing I'd want to do would be do a fourth trip on a diesel...

    I don't know how the timetable is going to work when we get to EG. But one thing I am clear about is that having an early / late DEMU turn doesn't make rostering or operation any easier, regardless of any concerns about our image. With all our engines and most working carriages stored at SP, 11 miles is really a bit long to be worked without a depot at both ends of the line, but unfortunately that's the situation we have. Line like the SVR and WSR that can stable engines at both ends have a considerable operational advantage in that respect.

    Tom
     
  7. Axe

    Axe New Member

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    I whole heartily agree with Tom's ["Jamessquared"] reasoning. There would also be difficulties for the Guard. We cannot just walk away from a train at the end of a duty or when a train is removed from service, the train has to be berthed and made secure. Similarly before allowing any train to enter public service, several checks have to be made. It all takes time.

    Too many armchair enthusiasts appear to believe that operating a heritage railway is as easy as operating a model railway. It isn't!

    Chris
     
  8. cct man

    cct man New Member

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    For once Chris I wholeheartedly agree with you, well said.

    Regards
    Chris
     
  9. stepney60

    stepney60 New Member

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    I'm not saying it is at all, indeed far from it. the point I was making was outlining a way in which the current system could be made to work if needed from my experience of working there. That was all. You might take issue with it, and fair enough, but don't just come back with insiduous claptrap such as the above quote.
     
  10. cct man

    cct man New Member

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    Now now Chris Ward, stop having a strop.

    Regards
    CW.
     
  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Many thanks for a very erudite explanation.
     
  12. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    iirc 32473 was paid for by photographers and some of the work of repainting was done by those involved in the fund raising and subsequent operation of the charters . There were something like 8-9 days on the Bluebell generating a substantial five figure sum , a "new" loco for the branch line weekend and a tremendous amount of goodwill

    Thing is have you noticed how only Jon Bowers ploughs a lonely furrow at the Bluebell on charters , sadly those in charge have put the charges up to a level far beyond what the market can realistically carry and many of us feel that we can no longer promote and operate viable events at the Bluebell

    Also a proposition was put to the line to do the repaint of 9017 at the Bluebell and run charters there . For whatever reason it didn't happen , the engine is now at Llan and 9 days sold out . in the nicest sense it's unlikely that the repaint will generate much beyond steaming fees for the Bluebell

    Feel free to ignore those of us who are perceived arm chair critics , but each of us plays our part in railway preservation and it may well be your railway to do as you wish with but I and many others have a choice as to where we take our business and money , an ever more precious commodity in these times . The Bluebell is in momentous times , you will stand or fall by your decisions , I just hope i don't have to say i told you so
     
  13. David

    David New Member

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    Brilliant post Martin. My Dad and I were two of the enthusiasts who paid money towards the E4 and also helped rub down/clean-up the loco in preperation of the repaint. Also where would the charter scene be without the excellent Jon Bowers on the Bluebell as every other charter group is now staying well away from our railway as a result of the extortionate fees the board have enforced. Just think potentially this Autumn we could stage charters with 34059, 9017, whatever the visiting loco will be for Giants and Jon has mentioned recently 80151 with a P/W train . However just how many of those are now likely to take place with such high fees being introduced?
     
  14. stepney60

    stepney60 New Member

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    Not a strop by any means, merely pointing out that I felt the comment was uncalled for. That's hardly an unreasonable measure, or is it now?
     
  15. tom92240

    tom92240 New Member

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    Tom will be guarding it, so far haven't had any trouble with the baying mob! \:D/
     
  16. stepney60

    stepney60 New Member

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    They probably couldn't shout loud enough to be heard over the sound of silence
     
  17. davycrocket

    davycrocket New Member

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    There's another one on Sat 4 April!
     
  18. Columbine

    Columbine New Member

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    The best railway in the country is going down the pan. It's all very sad.
     
  19. stepney60

    stepney60 New Member

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    It's not staying forever! Blimey, some people really need to get over it.
     
  20. Columbine

    Columbine New Member

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    I really do think that 'Stepney60' should be careful about his apparently deliberate attempts to offend the members who wish to preserve the Bluebelll Railway as an all-steam railway. If events take the turn that I think they are about to I for one will be limiting my visits to the railway to the spring and autumn steam galas and the railway will lose the c£300 of revenue it gets from me each year. I wouldn't be at all surprised if other members take their cash to other railways too. The Bluebell Railway could lose an awful lot of revenue if it destroys the unique atmosphere of the railway in this foolish venture into diesels.

    The diesel community really must understand that they are a minority amongst the preserved railway family not the majority. It is also true that most of the railway's customers, and all other railways for that matter, is the general public. These people want and expect steam engines. The don't equate preserved railways with diesels; they can see those anytime they like just by standing on their local railway station. They want steam and if they don't get steam then they will spend their disposable income elsewhere. This 'elsewhere' might not be another railway but it will be somewhere where their expectations are not disappointed.

    I am also concerned that 'Minky' has written above that a volunteer named 'Tom' is going to be the guard on the next diesel charter. Now this 'Tom', as described, seems to have a threatening, possibly bullying, demeanour and he is a passenger guard volunteer on the railway. Is it really wise of the Bluebell to have a person with such a demeanour in a customer facing position?

    There is more. Not long ago Richard Salmon wrote on the Bluebell web-site that the last diesel charter was going to be the only one and so everything was OK. Now Richard has a nice nature that everyone who has ever met him knows and so this seemed to be re-assuring. This latest news shows that Richard's statement simply wasn't true. Now I have no doubt at all that Richard wrote this piece in good faith and that he was given the information that led to the statement and he took it in good faith. But it wasn't true, not at all.

    Just how long are the diesel freaks on the Bluebell going to be allowed to lie and deceive and bully in their efforts to change the Bluebell? The AGM could be interesting.

    Regards
     

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