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Heritage Railways near death experience, back from the brink

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Robin Coombes, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I suspect a more insidious problem with coronavirus might be a tendency for people to avoid crowded areas where possible, so fewer trips out to cinemas, heritage railways, shopping etc.

    If there was some sort of 'lockdown' then there may have to be compensation arrangements but not if we all just stay at home
     
  2. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    As a member / fairly regular visitor i used to bemoan the relative short length of the line, but life pressures now mean I'm quite happy to get a visit in that doesnt even traverse the whole line - If i wanted more time the rover tickets allow as many (pints) trips up and down as you can fit in. Keighley ( Good for a Curry, and now has a really spacious Cafe / Bar) is a good starting point for a visit to Haworth which is what a lot of people have in mind to visit and is accessible by rail. Oxenhope has the storage sheds and is a nice ride out for the sake of a train ride (not much else there). The gradients and the stops mean that the five miles does take some doing. - probably equal to about 7 miles on the Flat
     
  3. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    The coronavirus issue is (with any luck) liable to be a short term one. Whether or not it becomes sufficiently endemic to affect any line's longer term viability is just somethimg we can hope isn't going to be a factor.
     
  4. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    We seemed to have drifted (nothing unusual there ) from the OPs original request for a list of those railways that have come back from the brink to a discussion about the ideal length of a preserved line and various points in between.

    As others have suggested, I think the answer to the Ops original question is "it would be easier to list those that haven't" but it also requires a definition of how close to the brink a railway has to be to feature on the list. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see , unfortunately, a few more to be near the brink, in the foreseeable future, but I'm not opening a book on which ones those will be.
     
  5. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    Not forgetting the Vintage Carriages Trust museum at Ingrow. . .
     
  6. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    ...before the kids get bored was my thinking!
     
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  7. Robin

    Robin Member

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    Anyone remember the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak? It wasn't a 'lockdown', but Government publicity initially encouraged people to stay away and a lot of folk did just that. Only after some time when action had been taken to stem the problem did their advice change to "Visit countryside attractions, but don't stray onto farmland". At the Severn Valley it wasn't a near death experience money-wise, but coming on the back of the 2000 boiler crisis it certainly made for a hard couple of years.
     
  8. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    If it does, we're all going to have much bigger problems to worry about.

    Noel
     
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  9. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    .... or not, as the case may be!

    Whatever the outcome, there's no a single particle in me which won't continue as part of this universe, for so long as that lasts.

    Right .... that's the metaphysical sorted. Back to the matter in hand .....
     
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  10. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    I would suggest another line which has not been in a on the brink position. Is Tanfield. Which at 3 miles is shorter than many. Scenic run along the causey gorge, passing the worlds oldest railway bridge and on the route of one if the oldest railways made by Act of parliament (1725). It is solely industrial (by choice) and uses a range of vintage coaches (no mark 1s etc). Dont believe it has ever been in a poor financial position.
     
  11. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    Isfield, The Lavender Line has not been mentioned.
     
  12. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Yes I was going to highlight the Teifi Valley.

    It’s a nice line in a great part of the world but a little remote. It made steady progress then suffered a decline on several fronts including loss of volunteer enthusiasm and numbers. This was compounded by some poor decisions made by a management team operating out of its depth, and unchecked by a sleeping membership. With the railway on its knees a con-artist business man then took advantage and nearly finished the line off.

    Thankfully the railway survived and it is recovering. It still has some issues, e.g. the former Company Secretary (who tried to prevent the railway’s collapse) has been poorly treated imoh (read the Teifi thread).

    A remarkable tale, and a warning of what happens when power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of people ill equipped to deal with heritage railway challenges.
     
  13. Drop_Shunt

    Drop_Shunt New Member

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    Point of order. The MLST never paid more than £1,100 per month in interest to the BRB. There was a proposed increase in 1975 to more than £3,100 per month (based on higher material prices and increased interest rates since the original interest payments had been calculated) but this was successfully fought off by Lord Lanesborough.

    Ultimately the MLST/GCR were “let off” a large amount (in excess of £25,000 in 1976) of interest payments which they still owed to BR when they completed the purchase of the line.
     
  14. Pesmo

    Pesmo New Member

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    Like the Swanage and K&WVR you could also make the case for the North Norfolk being structurally nearly perfect. Seaside location, nice countryside, not too long, attractions at either end of the line and importantly a single intermediate pretty country station where trains can cross that is walking distance from two large camp sites. It also has a mainline link and a strong carriage and wagon team. These are most of the ingredients for a successful heritage railway. When writing a thesis examining near death heritage railway experience it would be important to define the basics of how it might be avoided given the experience of others.
     

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