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Extensions - a snare and a delusion?

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

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Domeyhead - if I might be a bit mischievous in return :) Now we've extended to East Grinstead, you can sit to your heart's content at Kingscote and just enjoy it as a quiet country station with a train passing through every 75 minutes in each direction. Couldn't do that before we extended!

    And being slightly more serious, the long term objective for Kingscote is exactly that, with, for example, the Goods Yard project being designed simply to enhance the ambience of the station - in financial terms that is much less attractive than an extension (it's pure set dressing), but the objective is to try to have the station as close as possible to a 1950s passing station in feel.

    Tom
     
  2. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Staverton on the SDR is another great place to sip an ale and watch the trains go by....
     
  3. domeyhead

    domeyhead New Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation Corbs, I look forward to sampling the ale too.
    Maybe in questioning extensions as things to be ridden on, PaulHitch has identified a niche marketing opportunity to the growing Curmudgeon Industry.
    Preserved lines should recognise this untapped "Grumpy Market" and issue Curmudgeon tickets.
    Priced close to the cost of a short trainride, The Curmudgeon ticket allows the (male, middle aged, grumpy) holder to sit out of the way on a nominated quiet station away from the screaming little ones for a while without fear of molestation or bother.To pursue quiet contemplation, a good read, and perhaps a snifter or two.
    I say this as a fully paid up grumpy harumphing curmudgeon - the solitary man steadfastly sat alone on the huge terrace of empty seats, braving the grey chill on the fourth meandering day of a county championship cricket match.
     
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  4. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    That was like raising the devil wasn't it! Why do you assume because I think there should be second, even third and fourth, thoughts about extending railways, that I am anti child? Any"problems" usually arise from their parents and some children are absolutely delightful.

    Whilst I am here, let me refer to the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme in Picardie who had their Fete de la Vapeur recently. Of their six line engines at least four, maybe all six, have received new boilers. The latest restoration has had total renewal above footplate level. This sort of thing, inter alia, is absolutely vital to securing the future of heritage lines rather than extending to the Black Stump!

    One hears a justification quite frequently that the upcoming generation need "a challenge" and extensions are a means of providing this. Well the restoration of the Pinguely 0-6-0T referred to above was quite a challenge to the 25 year old who spearheaded it.

    Paul H
     
  5. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Fair play to him, I'm the same age and don't think I could take a thing like that on.
     
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  6. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I recall travelling behind it fairly shortly before withdrawal from service. It was pretty well shot by then. The man I referred to was not yet in his teens when the loco ran previously. Local newspapers and T.V. appear to have given a lot of coverage to this and rightly so.
     
  7. Steve B

    Steve B Member

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    I think that each situation needs to be considered individually. I've not commented on this so far as many of the comments seem to go around in circles, but Paul's comment raises the point that whatever a railway does, it needs to do well. If a particular railway feels the need to extend, then so be it - just be wise about it, make sure it's financed realistically, and properly planned and executed. Another railway might be better served by putting the effort and cash into improving what it's got, restoring and preserving locos, stock and infrastructure. Some can do both (such as the Bluebell it seems).

    What we can do without are the projects where there are grand ideas, but nothing is done well, and what there is ends up rotting. I can think of one such railway where this is the case, and yet there are grand schemes for expansion.

    To my mind, covered accommodation for stock, and decent workshop facilities, should have the priority. If we can't protect what we have, then what's the point of having an extra bit of track?

    Steve B
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think that it is a fallacy to judge the ability of a railway to secure its future on the number of new boilers it has had made for its locos. You only need to re-boiler when the old one is worn out and there are many boilers that have years of life left in them but with probable increasing overhaul costs. At Middleton, two locos have had new boilers this century and a third only just failed to make that grade because it had a new one in 1999. However, the last restoration and the present one aren't being re-boilered because they simply don't warrant it. Whether the next one down the line requires a new boiler or not hasn't been investigated but, if it does, it will get one. As an aside, cylinder blocks are becoming more of a problem, especially with inside cylindered locos.

    A better indication of whether a railway is securing its future might be whether it always takes the cheapest option of repairing the loco that needs the least money, time and effort spending on it. That is a line that is living on borrowed time because, one day, all its assets will be worn out. Most railways have more locos than they need operational and there is always a line of stored locos awaiting a return to service. A better indication of whether the railways future is more likely to be secure is if the loco that has been out of traffic longest is always overhauled next, regardless of cost but that is perhaps a too simple view of what can be a complex issue.
     
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  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    It's the need to ensure that the skills are kept alive to carry out major renewals that concerns me, be they foundry ones or boilershop ones. This is particularly so with large boilers. Anyone who was an apprentice boilersmith when "Evening Star" was built will be retired now. Place no orders for new large boilers and the skills to make, as opposed to patch, will atrophy. The same will apply to all other trades, like founding, for which the modern world has less and less call.

    I have just had a further look at postings on the Internet about the team who restored the Pinguely at St. Valery sur Somme. Their average age is said to be 20! The difference between this group though and the teenage individuals, who pop up on the Internet from time to time proposing to build a Webb compound or what have you, is that the Frenchmen had prior hands on experience. The leader, at the advanced age of 25, has a mechanical engineering background with SNCF.

    PH
     

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