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Bog Standard?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by paulhitch, May 2, 2013.

  1. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Several years ago Ian Allan ran a campaign to improve the standard of sanitation at heritage railways. Some people tended to mock this. Quite wrongly!

    Sanitary facilities are something which, like all tourist attractions, heritage railways have to provide. They are expensive to construct, require maintenance and are prone to bizarre patterns of vandalism. One can be sure that a place with bad sanitation will be marked down mentally and the operators will never get to hear of gripes although, if the facilities are especially good, you may get the odd compliment. On one memorable occasion a £20 note was pushed into the donation box with the comment that the owner was always stopping to use the facilities and they cost money to keep up. Nice to know there are some people with this kind of mentality about!

    Now how about a present day "could do better" if not a "name and shame" campaign. With apologies to Jamessquared my nomination to get things started would be the Bluebell Railway's Sheffield Park. Yes there are worse about but the Bluebell has been around for a long time now and it is a job that needs to be attended to. Perhaps it is, in conjunction with the canopy extension.
    PH
     
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I assume you are referring to the gents' loo on Platform 1 . Worth remembering that the original ladies loo is in the waiting room and is rather more salubrious (so I am led to believe). There are also much more modern loos, (gents, ladies and with baby change facilities), in the Bessemer Arms on Platform 1 and in the new buildings complex on Platform 2.

    It's an interesting question, but I suspect we may just end up going back to the same debate as always about money and preservation standards. In the main, we (the movement in general, not the Bluebell specifically) are trying to run an attraction that could see anywhere between a few hundred and low thousands of visitors per day, using infrastructure (specifically in this case, the built environment) designed for a passenger flow of probably no more than a handful. While I can appreciate cleanliness and proper facilities (and baby change is an essential, IMHO, given the audience we as a sector market to) we also have to pay due regard to our heritage. It is surprising how many people enter the Platform 5 loo at HK (which is very close to original appearance) and remark favourably on that fact! So to come back to SP, I think the balance is broadly right; the original facilities in their original locations give something of the ambience of the original station, but there are more modern facilities on both platforms for those that want them.

    Tom
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Perhaps, where 'original' toilets are retained as part of the ambience(?) of the station and other, more salubrious facilities are available, a discreet notice explaining all this could be provided? People then have a choice.
     
  4. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Lady Lucinda Lambton might disagree(!) but I don't think C19th sanitary facilities really ought to be relied on. Steve's suggestion is a good one if "authenticity" in sanitary matters is going to be pursued with more rigour than other aspects of any railway's "offer" to the public.

    What really annoys me is lines that provide goodish new facilities and don't maintain them all that well.

    PH
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    To be fair, we are not relying in C19 facilities - we have modern ones as well on both platforms. And with regard cleanliness, that is down to the pride the station staff have in their station, not the age of the facilities!

    My pet hate: portaloos. Impossible to make them a pleasant experience and useless if you have small children.

    Tom
     
  6. Orion

    Orion New Member

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    The only line that I visit that has poor loos is the KWVR, which usually stink! I have never had a problem with the BB loos 19th or 20th century. The only railway I visit which has portaloos is the LBR but they are always spotless, they even impressed my ex-wife.
    Regards
     
  7. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    Turning the original question around, I think Weybourne station has one of the best heritage railway loos I've had the pleasure(?) of experiencing, I think it has even won an award.

    Call me strange, but I loved the open air and rough quality of the (clearly "original") gents urinals at Oxenhope, which had real charm in their own way in my opinion! I was dismayed to see at last weekend's diesel gala that they seemed to have bricked over the front of them which reduced the character a bit.
     
  8. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    It's a fair point. as a male, going for a pee I don't really care much what the standard of the loo is. If I want to do a poo, I'd prefer it to be cleaner, but when you've got to go you've got to go. My wife however, and the kids when we had them and were looking after them which was a nightmare of organisation when they were small, would be a different manner. Women sit down to go for a pee. would you believe it?
     
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  9. Pesmo

    Pesmo New Member

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    Weybourne on the NNR is an example of how ancient toilets can be refreshed with authentitic copies of the original tiles and porcelain, it looks very victorian but going by the framed invoices posted on the wall most of it was supplied not that long ago by no less than Crapper & Co. of Stratford-on-Avon.

    I do hope that the ancient Gents at Quorn on the Great Central gets a similar makeover at some point as that is starting to look a bit rough and in need of some TLC.

    You would think that there would be a grant for saving ancient facilities. I miss the old fashioned urinals with the little Bee or the target to aim at when doing my business.
     

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