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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. PILLBOX MAN

    PILLBOX MAN New Member

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    Re Bluebell vintage coaches I believe they are being used less and less these days.
     
  2. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Yeh and...….
     
  3. Nick C

    Nick C Member

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    The only chance for a new K class isn't dead - there's plenty of opportunity. All you need to do is to gather together a team to build it, raise a million quid or so, and devote a decade or two of your life to it...

    I'm sure the Atlantic team would have loved to do a K, and many of us would love to see one, but they've realised that it's beyond the capabilities of what they can do in the time they believe they can devote - plus as discussed above, a non-superheated loco is more suited to a 25mph heritage line.

    Personally the one I'd really love to see is a replica Adams Radial (I'm led to believe that the original is pretty much too far gone to return to steam, needing new frames, boiler and firebox), but I fully understand it's unlikely to ever happen, as it'd be too small for most services.

    The thing that I still can't believe is that no-one has announced a 4mm model K...
     
  4. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Howzat..
     

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  5. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    The only possible aspect I could conceivably disagree with concerning any C2x newbuild proposal would be if those hideous double domes (not one of Lawson Billinton's more aesthetic ideas) were to be a feature. Other than that, I couldn't imagine a better or more appropriate candidate for return from undeserved extinction .... and that's not discounting my own preference for a 'K'.

    Quite happy with the 'E' tho' ..... one shouldn't be overly territorial in these matters! :)
     
  6. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Or even Smaller.
     

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  7. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Define vintage when these day's a mk1 1 is getting on for 60 years old, and as any C&W fitter will tell you, they often are just as fragile as a vintage coach that has benifited from a "new" ( ex pmv ) underframe, and had what is by todays standards a rebuild with often a lot of new material replacing old, where as that MK1, will have been patched, welded, patched again, until its only the welds holding everything together, and most Mk overhauls now are as through as any vintage 4 wheeler rebuild . and to the passengers, most wouldn't know the difference between an Good Mk1, that's still got the wooden panelling, and been through a good quality overhaul, and an Maunsel or Bulleid TSO .
     
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  8. Mike Birch

    Mike Birch New Member

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    Can I recommend the regular C&W updates on the North Norfolk Railway thread for an in depth view of the work required to keep their vintage Mk1s going - a quite astonishing amount of work is required.
     
  9. ady

    ady New Member

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    Yes well... there is a phrase shut up or put up.

    I'm sure a 34 year miserable c##t that I am, whose only rail experience so far is eight years as a TTI at Swanage with no engineering or fund raising experience (running a post office isn't much help with that experience) means I far and away no position to start or manage such a undertaking. Hell thinking about it even I won the lottery I doubt that led me building a K, cause I wouldn't know where to start...

    So I better shut up about it...

    If they decided to do 488, I might been still annoyed but at least happy the Adams was being worked on...

    Well if there are plans missing that is highly doubt full. That might be why the concern that teased a load of in game shots of a K class for Train Simulator 2020 back in 2018 later cancelled which hacked me off no end...
     
  10. glen77

    glen77 New Member

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    Apart from every weekend the railway is open, throughout summer and other holidays??
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Where to start?

    I think with heritage railways, everyone has a kind of "golden age", from which (inevitably) things have declined. But quite frequently, I believe that golden age never existed, but is instead an amalgam of things all of which happened, but never all together. On the Bluebell, that means small engines (and lots of them), vintage carriages, but also running all through the year, generally perceived as a bucolic sleepy branchline that nonetheless made money and maintained it's rolling stock and infrastructure etc etc. We've done all those things in 60 years, but never all together.

    For example, looking at old photos, the 1960s looked pretty special - Stepney and Bluebell, two vintage carriages, soon to be joined by the Adams tank, Birch Grove and the Mets. But bear in mind that in 1960, the oldest engine in traffic was 85 years old (Stepney) and the youngest (Bluebell) was 50; the carriages were SECR or Maunsell, so about 30 - 40 years old. Today, our oldest available loco is 125 years old (and racking up a colossal annual mileage); even the newest - 80151 - is 63 years old, in other words rather older than "Bluebell" was in 1960. The youngest carriages in use, the Mark 1s, are all over 60 years old and to a design that is nearly 70 years old - essentially double the age that 6575 was in 1960.

    What about the 1970s? Well, there was very little capability through the 1960s to restore locos or carriages, so a lot of locos and carriages were bought, used, and set aside. Much like happened through the 1990s and 2000s on many railways with Mark 1s. Workshop capability came a bit later. Indeed, at one point in the 1970s, the loco situation was not much more than the USA tank and the Dukedog loco running with the C class tender - the so-called "C Dog".

    By the 1980s, things looked up on the loco front, and in 1982 - the high point - 14 home fleet locos all ran in the year, a record. But the Mets were no more, nor some of the birdcage SE&CR carriages: quite likely if you visited, the regular train would be the Kings Cross Mark 1 Suburbans, or a four coach Bulleid set, with "vintage" being pretty well restricted to the two "hundred seaters" and the LNWR Obo. Annual loco mileage was about 15,000 per year (spread across a dozen or more locos!); I don't know the timetable but at that level the number of days in operation must have been less than now, even allowing for the shorter line.

    From the early 1990s, the line extended north - 1992 to West Hoathly, 1994 to Kingscote, resulting in a very rapid increase in annual mileage; the loco mileage had reached 45,000 by the early 2000s. A lot of vintage carriages came into traffic through that period, including a developing Pullman train; the Mets (first two, then three, then four); Maunsell etc. The first Victorian four wheeler was not until about 2004; that train has grown in the last decade to four vehicles. At the same time though, the loco fleet has shrunk back to a revolving core of about 8 home fleet locos that have run for the last decade or more. (The thinness of the loco fleet has been disguised by having hired in locos for most years from about 2006 - 2015; for the last five years we haven't hired in external motive power - which is a better situation, but puts even more stress on the loco fleet).

    In some ways, the period round about 2005 - 2010 represented a peak in operational intensity: operations on every weekend of the year (how many weekends though didn't make enough money to cover the service?), numerous vintage carriages and locos. But that didn't leave time to look at the infrastructure: skip forward ten years to 2020 and we will have relaid 1/2 mile of track from the ground up this winter alone - how many lines can say that?

    The point being - there has never been a time when we have had lots of locos, lots of vintage carriages, operated right through the year, had the workshop capacity to do major loco and carriage rebuilds and maintained the infrastructure all simultaneously. We have done all of those at various times, but never all together. So people's view of when the "golden age" was tends to be coloured by which of those they consider to be important. If you happen to have a magical memory of riding up the line in the 1970s in a vintage SE&CR bogie coach, maybe you forget that the only available motive power happened to have mismatched loco and tender. If your golden age was being able to enjoy a two train service with plenty of empty compartments on a crisp winter's day in January, maybe you can ignore the fact that the track could only be maintained in piecemeal fashion between the services.

    Tom
     
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    The Bluebell MK1's are quite something though.

    The only thing they lack is the graffiti in the toilet - Please do not flush etc Except in Wokingham
     
  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Had a jolly nice trip from HK to SP in the Maunsell set (couldn't afford to stuff my face in the Wealden Rambler .... dammit!), a couple of weeks back. Wish the steam heating had been working tho'!
     
  14. Nick C

    Nick C Member

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    I disagree. If the early preservationists had thought the same, we'd have never had anything, and our hobby wouldn't exist. I doubt all the people on the Atlantic team came in with loads of engineering experience, and there's always something for people without experience, whether it's arranging fundraising, hunting through archives for those elusive drawings or photos, or even just keeping the website and newsletter up to date (something many projects are quite poor at). My experience is also that, as longs as you're willing to learn and get your hands dirty, there's always someone willing to teach you.
     
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  15. Wenlock

    Wenlock Member Friend

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    Well put.

    Many, if not most, staff and volunteers now working in restoration and maintenance workshops of heritage railways are too young to have been engineers at the end of steam. Some will have had an engineering background, but had to learn the railway way. Many will have initially mucked in as 'fitter's mates', and progressed slowly as they gained knowledge and skills in the same way as a paid apprentice would have done. There are senior fitters and boilersmiths now who have only ever had training within heritage railways, many of the paid staff will have learned their skills as volunteers before gaining employment in their chosen field.
     
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  16. 60044

    60044 Member

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    Isn't the point of heritage railways create at least some of those experiences? At the moment most can only recreate from the 50s on. Pre-BR Non-corridor stock and compartment stock were the norm for most lines, though and are rare now. If we're trying to recreate the earlier experience railways should be encouraging their carriage restorers to restore more for occasional use. I find it hard to believe that they couldn't market them as an added attraction, so there would be commercial bemnefit too
     
  17. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Or everyday use for that matter This is done.
     
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  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It's only the same logic that means the IoW runs Austerities and Ivatts quite often rather than just the Terriers and the O2 though surely? (He says with some trepidation...)
     
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  19. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    And runs no item of passenger stock newer than 1924 as you know perfectly well. Tanfield and Foxfield are beginning to do better than certain long established lines also
     
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  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Yes, I know very well. I accept it would be churlish to point out that's because you have no choice, but I feel the comparison between using carriages of different ages on the Bluebell and locos of different age on the IoW is fair.
     
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