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Cathedrals Express 6233 to Bristol 7th October

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by alastair, Oct 3, 2010.

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  1. 6:05 special

    6:05 special Well-Known Member Loco Owner

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    ............ and so was I.
     
  2. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    Great picture Matt!

    We had a great outward run with 60019 doing all the work with powerful climbs up to Haslemere and Buriton even allowing for the restrictions. The old girl did very well with the load that she had on. Perhaps a sign of a bad return run was the rain coming in just as we departed Bristol! Although we weren't right at the back we could still hear the 37 pushing hard at times whilst 60019 blew off most of the time. Upton Scudamore started off with a vigorous attack from 60019 at the bottom and then the 37 started shoving around the Dilton Marsh area as noted earlier. Even though 60019 had the extra tender we still had to stop at Botley for water on the return run despite flying through the station on the outward run. Due to the terrible running on the return leg we had to bail out at Guildford to get home at a reasonable hour to go to work today. As the train departed Guildford the 37 was furiously shoving 60019 and her train out of the station. What a racket........

    With all of the hassle this trip encountered I can't see steam running over this route very often in the future.
     
  3. Shoddy127

    Shoddy127 Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame that the tight scheduling of the Pompey Direct means less steam trips as I feel its a severely under estimated route, I for one have been mentioning that the route should be used more to certain people but how practical this will become in the future is anyone's guess.

    Regarding yesterday's run, if the 37 had not of been on the back then unfortunately I think Bittern would have struggled due to the loading and with the weather conditions having an effect on the return, who knows what may have happened. There's absolutely no point in thrashing the engine, no doubt I'm sure to the dissappoinment of the "box on the back" bashers so it starts falling apart and failing completely. Another important factor, is making sure everyone gets back on time too due to running late. The tour operator I'm sure doesn't want to get fined for delaying other companies trains.

    Once again it looks as though another thread is heading into another cat fight even with the facts clearly proving that the diesel was required to go to help, possibly even with the turning move at Bristol along with ECS moves to and from Southall. People with common sense will understand the reason's but others won't and as Ralph has said on this thread and many other people on numerous other threads......... Steam & Diesel or No Steam at all, well another vote on the hands down side I'm afraid.
     
  4. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Marcus Robertson was on this trip and he said that NR is getting far more fussy about actually enforcing fines for delays. Who can blame everyone, therefore, from going for safety net options. To be fair to Steam Dreams, they do seem to try and avoid a DL on the back if they can, but they are not in the driving seat over this. And a fact of life is that enthusiasts alone can't sustain the steam market. You only have to look at the people streaming off the train at Petersfield to see how SD filled this trip up - i.e. folk from the Havant/Petersfield area where it was marketed, plus. of course the Woking area.
     
  5. J Shuttleworth

    J Shuttleworth Member

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    Can we be clear on this - it's the operator that picks up the performance 'hits' - in this case us, WCR. No one likes to add a diesel but when it means that the timings may not be met, there is no alternative.

    It's bad luck for the 'no diesels' boys but that life; you don't see - or pay - the performance bills. They can be horrendous.

    JS
     
  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Just so but it's hard to know who draws the line if a popular trip leads, for example, to pressure for a longer train. I assume that the operators are very assertive about ensuring that the loading of the train doesn't get to the point where, for the engine on the front, a DL may sometimes be necessary for all the reasons discussed earlier. At the risk of scratching at an old sore, on the West Highlander, it's still not clear why WCR didn't say flatly that they would only take six to Oban. There was plenty of knowledge to alert folk to the risks. That's not to say that WCR and its people didn't pull out all the stops when it went pear shaped.
     
  7. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    Whoever mentioned a desire to thrash the engine? Please keep to the comments made and not to what you imagine.

    The Torbay Express is an example of a good day out for the family and for the enthusiast. The train has a sensible load. It departs and returns at a very civilised time of day and travels through a very scenic part of the west country. Although there are a few steep climbs en route there is never a need to thrash the engine .....and therefore, no need for diesel assistance at the back of the train. A perfect day out. <BJ>
     
  8. Shoddy127

    Shoddy127 Well-Known Member

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    free2grice, the "box on the back bashers" comment was mentioned due to that side of the fraternity always moaning about the diesel being there and the opinion given that they would rather see an engine thrashed rather than have the common sense/practical option.

    Also and this is where you and many others unfortunately fail, you've compared Bittern's run on Thursday to a Torbay Express but you can't.

    Bitterns run required the coaching stock and the engine to be towed to its starting point (Southall to London Victoria), then the possibility of the complete train being turned at its destination (which I can't confirm if this happened or not but it may have been the easiest option due to paths etc at Bristol) and then on arrival back at its starting point (ok this time London Waterloo rather than Victoria), having to be towed back to its Southall depot so a diesel is required, even more so with Bittern having its 2nd tender too and the extra weight it causes.

    A Torbay Express starts from its starting point (Bristol) with the coaching stock already there and the engine only having to travel a few hundred meters. On arrival at its destination (Paighton), only the engine is required to turn and then on arrival back at its starting point (Bristol), 2 possibly 3 shunting moves, again over a few hundred meters, the coaching stock is in place for storage and then the engine completes its moves by moving on shed so a diesel is obviously not required so one isn't placed onto the back.

    Two completely different trips with massively different manouvers so maybe a little more thinking of the bigger picture might just be required. I'm no way trying to upset anyone, just hoping that the "box on the back bashers" actually think a little as to why things happen, not just on this subject, but many others too.
     
  9. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    The reason I made the comparison of the Torbay Express and Bittern's trip to Bristol was to compare the journeys. The Torbay Express is a joy to travel on. From messages I have read on the forum and received by email, Bittern's railtour was certainly not a joy, even if it had been without a diesel. Quite simply, as I mentioned earlier, if you don't mind being in the 13th coach of a steam railtour with a diesel pushing you from behind, then I'm happy for you. If you prefer to experience 100% steam haulage on the main line, choose a railtour very carefully.

    I can see that this discussion is going to drag on and on. So 'Shoddy 127' please enjoy having the last word because the subject needs to come to a conclusion. (I am, and I'm sure others are, quickly becoming rather bored with it).

    I'm up at the crack of dawn today for a dayout to the GCR to ride behind Morayshire. Let's hope they don't overload the train and shove it with a ........

    <BJ>
     
  10. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    If you don't want a Diesel on the back, then a mix of tight timings and load 12/13 all the time is a bad mix, if an assistance free trip is desirable then a lighter load or slacker timings if possible would be a good idea, were not trains such as the Bristolian & Caledonian load restricted to give the Loco not too hard a time keeping up a decent average speed ?.

    I know a promoter has a tough time balancing the books but perhaps slightly higher prices and load 10/11 might be a better balance ?.
     
  11. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Just as a fag packet calculation, if you have a fully booked train with 2 dining, 3 first and 5 standard, that is about 500 passengers, and at approximate prices the income comes to around £43,200 or an average fare of £86. Now take two coaches off, 1 first and 1 standard so losing 100 passengers, but you still need the same income, result average fare is now £108.
    How many are going to be put off with that sort of increase, I know that for a standard class fare it would begin to make me think about linesiding instead.
     
  12. dp266

    dp266 Member Account Suspended

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    On most of the tours I have done this year, the number of Premier Dining Cars has been three. These passengers gladly pay a premium price for the service. All tours have been full in theses cars. First Class has also be well booked. In short the majority of the passengers who would still travel are content with higher fares.

    If you are paying for a Steam Tour, under simple trades descriptions it should be just that. Otheriwise operators should market as steam with diseasal assistance. If raisng the price and reducing the load is the answer, so be it.
     
  13. buseng

    buseng Part of the furniture

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    Any reason why 60019 had two tenders on this trip? As this tour was originally booked for 6233 until it changed a day or so before the the tour date & 6233 does not have a second tender or any other water carrier, it must of been scheduled for a single tender loco in regards of water stops etc. The diesel on the back adds to the loading issue as it is around the same as two extra coaches, so it has to compensate for its own weight. The 6233 Chester trip also had 13 coaches, but no extra tender & NO diesel on the back. So the equivalent of 3-4 less coaches.
     
  14. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    During the summer I stewarded on 9 RTC tours out of Liverpool, Manchester and Crewe. Non of these had more than about 80 diners, so two coaches or less, so some of the remaining places were usually taken by non diners. But premier or first pay for the extras normally as a special day out, it does not mean that suddenly they would be happy to have a £25+ hike in the price.
     
  15. dp266

    dp266 Member Account Suspended

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    Those of us who do rail tours are not immune from the realities of a modern world and economics. Not everyone does several tours a year. Yes, they are Joe Public who want a special day out, but the tours I have been on in premier dining this year have been full of full fare paying diners. If they feel cheated by the combination of steama and diseasal they may not return. The product must deliver on it's description or risk ultimate failure. Being at the back of a steam tour listening to the drone of the diseasal did little for my health and temper!
     
  16. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    So the argument rises again! We fully understood the reason for the Class 37 being on the back; to provide assistance to an overloaded 60019 at the beginning of the leaf fall season. This was not the first time that SD have overloaded a steam loco so that it then requires diesel assistance, we were on the other trips also having paid a fair bit of cash for a "steam hauled" railtour. We expected only a load of about 11 or 12 due to the route. It was also odd that 60019 used both tenders on what was a short run. The object of using them was defeated on the return run anyway as 60019 stopped at Botley for water as I mentioned previously.
    It didn't surprise us at all when they brought around the booking forms for future trips showing availability and all of the trips had loads of seats left. A couple of years ago they would have filled up far quicker.

    With prices continuing to go up we will be doing less steam tours. With disappointments like this we find it annoying that we paid so much to be shoved around by a diesel. We are doing a diesel only trip to York next month which is very good value for money (£44.50 from Guildford and Clapham Jct). I wonder how many on this trip would complain if the diesel had to be assisted by a steam loco?
     
  17. 782sirbrian

    782sirbrian Member

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    What I would like to know is when does a tour get cancelled due to poor bookings ? 80% full, 90% ? I dont know whats left after costs, is it thousands or a few hundred pounds for a profit. Then we would have some idea why trains seem overloaded. That extra coach is the profit ?
    Are tour operators on a knife edge with their pricings ?
    Some tours sell out some dont.
    Brian
     
  18. dp266

    dp266 Member Account Suspended

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    The tour operators are professional business people. Therefore a break even point on sales will be known. I guess the comfounder is the mix of Premier, First and Standard. complex analysis is probably made as sales come in. So a simple % of seats is a bit hard. Sometimes tour operators are close to break even and discount seats to tip the balance - hacking off those who paid full price, but at least the tour foes ahead.

    Incidentally, I have reviewed all the tour operators websites and all refer to "hauled by steam loco X" and none add a disclaimer - Diesel Assisted. Bad, Bad marketing!
     
  19. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    But they do have this to say....

    From Steam Dreams terms and conditions.
    Steam Availability

    Steam Dreams will use its best efforts to provide steam traction but this cannot be guaranteed. In the last 10 years we have had to substitute diesel engines on a few occasions, mainly due to exceptionally dry conditions creating a fire hazard. A partial refund of £10 in Standard Class, £15 in First Class and £20 in Premier Dining & Pullman Style or a credit note for double this amount to be set against a future trip will be offered if steam traction is not available.
    Diesel Assistance

    Occasionally for operational convenience or due to adverse weather, a diesel may be attached to the rear of the train. This is only used sparingly when rail conditions dictate. No refunds will be given on these occasions as steam will still be the exclusive traction for 95% of the time on these journeys.
    General Conditions

    Steam Dreams will use its best efforts to ensure that the proposed locomotives, coaching stock, route and times run as advertised but Steam Dreams reserves the right to amend or cancel any part of the tour at any time. Steam Dreams cannot accept any responsibility for the action of third parties and is solely responsible to ensure passengers get to the return destination.
    From RTC web site,
    Every effort will be made to ensure that the locomotive, rolling stock, route and timings which are hired in from third parties, will be run as advertised, but the organisers reserve the right to alter these at any time and shall not incur any liability to any person who has bought, or contacted to buy a ticket (boarding pass) or tickets, as a result of any such changes.
    On the day of the train, again, all reasonable efforts, within the control of the organisers, will be made to ensure that the train runs as planned but we cannot accept any responsibility for delays, mishaps, alterations or curtailment of the tour from situations outside its control.
    The organisers cannot accept responsibility for the options under the control of third parties and are only responsible for returning passengers to their joining stations. Your booking is taken as constituting acceptance of these conditions.

    And from PMR web site.
    Every effort is made to ensure that the locomotive, rolling stock, route and timings will run as advertised, but the organisers reserve the right to alter these at any time and shall not incur any liability to any person who has bought or contracted to buy a ticket, or tickets, as a result of any such change. On the day of the train, all reasonable efforts, within the control of the Organisers, will be made to ensure that the trains run as planned, but they cannot accept any responsibility for delays, mishaps, alterations or curtailment of the tour from situations outside their control.
     
  20. dp266

    dp266 Member Account Suspended

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    Hidden in the small print - an interesting challenge in law should a breach of trades description be challenged.

    However a fair point in steam availability. Very last minute loco failure can be a real issue for tour operators when their customers are en route of have arrived at the start point.

    At the end of the day, to sell one product - and it is the headline offer that matters in law - and to provide another is indefensible.

    Load the trains according to the ability of the loco or locos used and set the price to refelct that capacity.
     
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