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Defunct preserved railways

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Robkitchuk, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    True but if you take the published figure for income from travel and divided it by the published number of visitors and then compare that with the cost of a return ticket it will show if the visitor numbers is plausible.
     
  2. Sym33

    Sym33 New Member

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    That would be a really good pointer in the right direction, especially for lines in the "just starting out" or "struggling" categories.
    It's much less likely to work well in comparing the bigger railways due to coach parties and schools travelling at discounted rates, large numbers of members/shareholders travelling at discounted rates, lines long enough to make travelling part-way a real option, charter trains and so on as each big heritage railway will have a different mix
     
  3. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I agree it has its limitations, it's only designed to test the plausibility of the number. If railfares/reported numbers gives a figure of say £1 when the return fare is say £13, something is amiss. If it gives a figure of £10 then visitor numbers are plausible.
     
  4. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what this proves. At the top of the list is Strathspey, with approaching double the figures of the NYMR and Bluebell- really?- and towards the bottom is Mangapps, whose 93 "followers" I find even more surprising, as the railway has no official presence on "social media". I'd be interested to know just what those 93 are following!
     
  5. Sym33

    Sym33 New Member

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    Heaven forbid that heritage railways should ever do this, but there are organisations in India and China known in the trade as "click factories" which undertake to dramatically increase the number of facebook likes for your page in a single day. Absolutely useless as a means of increasing your business, great for bragging rights. Often used by political parties and campaign groups to make themselves appear more credible.
    Possibly the Strathspey's high rating, though, is due to people who want to know what is going on there but have little prospect of actually visiting the line other than very occasionally, whereas the Severn Valley, with less than half the number of likes, has a couple of million people within a 30 mile radius who can visit easily if they wish.
     
  6. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    We should never forget that we are aiming to do what the people who ran railways in the past as their "day job" considered was uneconomic - running steam hauled trains on lines closed due to not being viable! (Flaman is an honourable exception, having built his own!)

    Hence, no-one should be surprised that we need ancillary "trading" income and, let's not forget, fund raising in its many, many forms to ensure our lines have a future. At the risk of being a stuck record (again!), I suspect many lines have yet to start tackling the massive costs of keeping their basic infrastructure going long term and sadly, this is a factor that could make a thread with this title much longer in a decade or twos time.

    We shouldn't be hung up about using ancillary profits and fund raising to meet expenditure - I have often heard that some type of repair or other "should be covered by the train fares", but the point is BR couldn't make it - so why should we? Of course our biggest "secret weapon" is is the level of volunteer input reducing the wage bill - but I recently made the point, if all repairs "should be covered from the fares", aren't we cheating to not having to cover "all the manpower from the fares"? I am not saying that we should (and I have seen one line where the fares don't cover the total wage-bill), but it shows the argument doesn't stand that other recurring costs can't be covered by ancillary income on fund raising.

    Steven
     
  7. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Also the money they get for rent for the liner scrapyards from private owned stock, as with one line I went on last summer this most likely was one of their biggest earner.
     
  8. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that siding rental is a significant earner for any heritage railway. Usual the linear scrap yard is not a revenue generator at all, especially at the railways that have extensive facilities of that type.
     
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  9. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I think we should be worrying about maintaining what we have. It constantly worries me that it is easier to raise money for capital projects than for maintenance, and there is a temptation we all have to keep adding to the buildings, rolling stock and locomotives. We must beware of creating a monster we cant sustain. who will paint all the signal boxes, station privies and running in boards? The concern about infrastructure is real, but more acute with some lines than others. If your line is on a chalk base, and most bridges are Victorian brick then the problem is smaller than if you are one sandstone or clay and the bridges are plate-girder. It is surely desirable that so far as possible the cost of providing the service operated is covered by its revenue? If you have to fundraise to run the basic service that cant be a sustainable position.
     
  10. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    How many of that list are members, not passengers. ?
     
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Coming back to the Longmoor Military Railway or the Liss Forest Railway as it was to be, it really does illustrate that all you need is someone influential to put a stop to it and you are done.

    I recall that the Liss Forest Residents Association was a powerful force and with links into high places. Were it to have come to pass then there would have been an interchange at Liss plus a NR connection with a run up to Longmoor or wherever it could be negotiated with the MoD that a station could be put near to the old Longmoor Down station. Yes the dual A3 was on the books but an existing bridge could have helped with that. A sad outcome but inevitable it seems.
     
  12. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that you are on to something there, in that a large proportion of these "likes" are probably the result of conversations between members and supporters, rather than paying visitors or passengers and is in no way a guide to financial health or viability.

    In the case of Mangapps, apart from the puzzling issue of how a railway which is not a member of Facebook nevertheless gets "likes", the railway has no members, so there is no-one to have a conversation with!
     
  13. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    The mangapps one was strange - their official page flashes up 93 likes, but when clicked on heads to Mangapps Manor page, so i took that as the figure. Yep those are the official figures for each railways official page - i was surprised by Strathspey being top.
     
  14. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    I wasnt trying to prove a railways financial health or viability through this, just thought it was an interesting comparison. If you type in Mangapps and complete a main search it shows their old page with 93 likes before the merger.
     
  15. Hurricane

    Hurricane Member

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    The railway that surprises me on that list is the Swanage, you would think being a primarily tourist line it would be further up the list!
     
  16. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    Just taken the 'like' figure so can be a mix of members, passengers and interested parties.
     
  17. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    To be honest, I think these figures are a distraction and prove nothing.
     
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  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Also depends on how long the page has been in existence. Perhaps a better measure would be number of visits to a railway's main website?
     
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  19. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    They arent trying to prove anything - that was not the intention, they are just to for people to look at. Not as a number of people have suggested trying to prove any point.
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I still think the best measure would be long-term financial stability! Having a good online presence may help with gaining passengers and answering queries, but it is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

    (And re. web stats: if you think comparing passenger numbers is a sport open to variations in what exactly is being counted, just try comparing web stats ...)

    Tom
     
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