If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Extensions - a snare and a delusion?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by paulhitch, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Messages:
    2,361
    Likes Received:
    1,915
    I'm rather getting to appreciate shabby Mk1 coaches, especially since they've almost disappeared from the national network. There are also some excellently restored examples around.

    Some enthusiasts enjoy a slight air of dereliction. I first discovered the K&ESR in the 70s when they were still running Maunsell and Birdcage stock largely unrestored (except for a lick of GWR - oops sorry - K&ESR brown & cream paint); and the sidings full of rusting/rotting hulks. Very appropriate for a Col. Stephens line! I remember all this with nostalgia but I wouldn't want for a moment to turn the clock back to those precarious days.
     
  2. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    3,087
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Very comfortably early retired
    Location:
    1029
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I like Mk1's too - remember that the newest of them are 50 years old now - older than most of the people who travel in them on heritage railways. To the average passenger, they are heritage.
     
  3. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Signalman
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Perhaps there is a danger of seeing Ml1s as "samey" - but to the occasional non-enthusiast visitor, are they? Comments on quality and presentation are valid however.
     
  4. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    32,622
    Likes Received:
    16,894
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I'm certainly not the average passenger but they're heritage to me too, especially compartment stock as they invoke memories of my earliest railway journeys.
     
  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Sample the Bluebell Railway's Maunsell open third and see why MK 1s come into the "Huh" category for me.

    P.H.
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    21,779
    Likes Received:
    41,387
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    They are also about 5tons per coach lighter than an equivalent Mark 1, so you could have 7 Maunsells for the equivalent load as 6 Mark 1s...

    Tom (Descends from favourite hobbyhorse) :)
     
  7. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,151
    Likes Received:
    261
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Operations Manager for NR
    Location:
    Worcester
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Which only makes a difference when your locomotive fleet is made up of teeny-weeny 0-6-0 tank engines...;)
     
  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    32,622
    Likes Received:
    16,894
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I have and they invoke memories of trips to Sussex in 2-BIL, 2-HAL and 4-LAV electric units. I enjoy the vintage experience elsewhere too but still enjoy Mk1 travel as they bring back memories of countless rail journeys from my youth onwards.
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    21,779
    Likes Received:
    41,387
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Which are much cheaper and quicker to overhaul :)

    Interestingly, we had two service sets in operation at the weekend. One was a mixed 6 coach rake of Mark 1s / Bulleids (one of which had wheelchair capacity) with the LNWR Observation car providing nominal (but not real, IMHO - more like "enhanced third") 1st class capacity. The other had the four Mets and three four wheelers (also including wheelchair capacity).

    Notional capacity was:
    Train A 353 passengers (271 * 3rd; 70 * 1st; 12 wheelchairs)
    Train B 302 passengers (224 * third; 72 * 1st; 6 wheelchairs)

    One of those two trains weighed 204 tons, and needed the 9F (or the U boat, but the 9F was rostered)
    The other weighed 111 tons, and was easily in the capacity of a nice Edwardian 0-4-4T!

    Given the relative 10-yearly overhaul costs of a class 1 engine or a class 4+ engine; the overhaul costs of the stock; the coal and water consumption; and the nominal capacity; and (for full discolosure) the fact that one of the trains had a buffet and the other didn't, I wonder which train was more profitable?

    Tom
     
  10. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Signalman
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Tom makes a good point for vintage rakes, but playing devil's advocate...

    As Tom admits, one train has a buffet - what difference does it make?

    The family market - on a longish journey, does non-compartment stock become less appealing? There is probably an "olde worlde" appeal that will attract non-enthusiasts, but that will be countered by the inability for the kids to stretch their legs and more importantly get to a loo!

    Restoration costs. This is an odd one - whilst the respective costs of overhaul and following maintenance are probably not dissimilar, most railways have invested heavily in their corridor stock. We can look back on that as a poor decision if we want but it won't change it. So now we're at a stage where to get a high-capacity train of wooden stock running, a heritage railways is going to have to look at a significant outlay. Will/can that outlay ever be tempered and answered by the entirely convincing arguments of the savings in service? Of course, if funding can be found for the first restoration, then the whole thing becomes more and more interesting...

    I wonder if the HLF would fund the restoration of eight GW 4-wheelers for the SVR? :D
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    21,779
    Likes Received:
    41,387
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The economics are very compliated. Yes, our Mark 1 corridor set has a buffet - but how much of its sales are genuinely new income, rather than just cannibalising sales that would otherwise have been made at a station buffet? Very hard to know.

    With regard non-corridor stock, realistically, it would be very hard for a line which currently doesn't have any non-corridor bogie coaches to put a set together, because the vehicles aren't easily available. 4/6 wheelers are another proposition, and a determined line could assemble a set if they really set their mind to it: witness the concerted action in that direction by the Gwili Railway. A ballpark, finger-in-the-air figure might be £50k per vehicle.

    But the original question was actually about pre-BR corridor coaches, not non-corridors. They have all the advantages of Mark 1s, but at 5 tons per coach on average lighter, that is a significant weight saving for a line typically running 6 - 8 coach trains. 40 tons off the load on an 8 coach train isn't going to change your loco requirement from a Standard 5 to a Terrier, but it might change it from a Standard 5 tender engine to a prairie tank, with the knock-on effect both in daily coal consumption and long-term overhaul costs.

    Tom
     
  12. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Signalman
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The difficulty then would be, on a line such as the SVR for example, concerted rostering of locomotives and sets between MPD and C&W to ensure that the right loco ended up on the right train 99 times out of 100. Throw in unexpected wheel flats, a broken spring and other imponderables and the plot thickens, and pooling with all locomotives able to manage all sets becomes appealing, beyond specific services such as the 5-coach diner which can always be left in the hands of a small Prairie, say.
     
  13. Orion

    Orion New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,355
    Likes Received:
    5
    Occupation:
    Pensioner!
    Location:
    North-west London
    Are there eight GW 4-wheelers extant? If so are they available? Come to that would it be possible from existing, but unrestored coaches, to make up a rake of Dean coaches, ie four, six and eight wheel coaches of clerestory and arc roofs?

    Regards
     
  14. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,930
    Likes Received:
    919
    Occupation:
    A Thingy...
    We at the Gwili Vintage Carriage Group have two Dean-era carriages, one (ex-6-wheeler, but now on 4-wheel underframe) at the latter stage of restoration, and another rainy-day project once the former is complete. This is aside from the collection of Taff-Vale carriages we have assembled.
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    21,779
    Likes Received:
    41,387
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The Vintage Carriage Trust survey is your friend here:

    Railway Heritage Register Carriage Survey Project

    Searching for GWR coaches pre 1900 (the site doesn't allow searching by number of wheels, but I assume that is a fair proxy) gives 56 vehicles, mostly four or six wheelers, with a smattering of bogie coaches. That will include everything from the fully-restored vehicles at Didcot etc right through to a beach hut or chicken coop waiting to be rescued. As for availability - that generally requires years of patient negotiation and liaison with the owner until they are in a position to sell, followed by a frantic dash to move the vehicle before the builders move in and demolish it in situ! Then the fun part of restoration begins. So in answer to your first question, yes there are at least a lot of candidate vehicles for a GWR Victorian train.

    Underframes are a problem. The current practice is to use ex van underframes, but if the movement as a whole really got serious about restoring vehicle bodies, the there would probably be an argument for designing and certifying a "ready to run" four and six wheel underframe in various lengths.

    Tom
     
  16. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    885
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Occupation:
    UK & Ireland Heritage Railways Webmaster
    Location:
    Essex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A better measure / comparison would perhaps be how long a typical visitor would spend at a railway attraction. If you can provide a train ride or other entertainment that keeps them on your premises for at least 2 hours, then they are likely to also be purchasing refreshments even if its only a cup of tea. A 3 to 4 hour visit that includes something of interest at each end (and a nice lunch in your restaurant) would more likely be appreciated by the whole family than a shorter ride with nothing but a bunch of siding at each end. At the end of the day, a railways income is not just the train fare so investing in other infrastructure can be a better result than simply adding mileage.

    Of course if you have a nice town or other tourist attraction nearby then you would benefit from that too and if you have to extend to reach such a destination then that is probably worth the effort.

    Like it or not, heritage railways are part of the entertainment business (Yes I know railways have other sources of income too, but the majority is from visitors so....)
     
  17. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    885
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Occupation:
    UK & Ireland Heritage Railways Webmaster
    Location:
    Essex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yes the EOR has everything going for it location wise (and in many other ways too). Great transport links to our capital city and and attractive small towns at either end. Nice countryside, including Epping Forest. The trains may not be authentic for the region, but they have made a very nice job of restoring the stations (and the public will be spending just as much time at the stations as they will on the trains - which is probably true of many railways).
     
  18. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    2,161
    Occupation:
    Solicitor
    Location:
    South Wales
    AFAIK presently GWR 416 at Didcot is the only operational GW 4 wheeler in service. 216 at Gwili is now about 90% finished. Plenty of candidates for restoration, but this is either going to be an expensive, or time consuming (or both!) job. There are very few 4 wheelers on their original underframes- mostly at Didcot but a few others about- Clerestory at NRM, GWR No.8 at South Devon. An ideal "new build" underframe would be that of a BR Mk1 Horsebox as all the parts- wheels etc- are standard and there are plenty of spares about.

    The "hidden cost" of restoration is what happens to them afterwards- several railways have seen/are now seeing the need to invest in substantial sheds to protect restoration efforts- nothing more disheartening than to see several years' work undone by Mother Nature if coaches are stored outside. With older stock there might be a question about whether they should be used sparingly or become part of the "front line". Many smaller lines have relied on the same MK1's for several years and it is a problem that most are now way past their expected design lifespan with little alternative.

    Regards

    Matt
     
  19. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    3,087
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Very comfortably early retired
    Location:
    1029
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I'm a child of the 1950's and they're heritage to me in terms of many happy memories of journeys to the seaside or to relatives.

    I always loved the little plates in each compartment recording the name of the tree the veneer came from and it's country of origin. Sadly, I've never seen one of them in a Mk1 on a heritage railway.
     
  20. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Signalman
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Look closer Michael, I've seen a few on the Valley let alone elsewhere!
     

Share This Page