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.

Isle Of Man Steam Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by David Bigcheeseplant, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,392
    Likes Received:
    4,019
    Location:
    i.o.m
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I honestly don't know. An individual can make a 'Petition for a redress of grievance' at the annual Tynwald ceremony on July 5th.
    Ray.
     
  2. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    1,239
    Having responded to that consultation myself (for whatever it may be worth!), I'm inclined to agree. As with HS2, it seems that the politicians have already closed their minds to any arguments in favour of the railways - despite the fact that, in both cases, there are actually very strong economic arguments to be made. It would be interesting to collate statistics from hotels about occupancy during the recent transport festival - I'll bet it must have given them a significant fillip.

    Why on earth are politicians so anti-rail? Is it just because they don't use trains themselves, and see them as unnecessary? Is it prejudice against railway enthusiasts (who, in the HS2 debate, are invariably dismissed as 'trainspotters'?) Does the malign influence of the Tufton Street oil lobbyists extend to the Isle of Man? I don't want to descend into the realm of conspiracy theories but, when politicians are so determined to act in defiance of all reason, one can't help but feel that there must be something deeper going on than just saving (supposedly) a little bitnof money.

    Sent from my SM-A125F using Tapatalk
     
  3. acorb

    acorb Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    2,675
    Likes Received:
    3,613
    Location:
    Powys
    Some observations, it was my first visit to the Isle of Man this year and the railways blew me away, they are completely unique - the idea that such a historic and precious artifact could be closed and turned into a cycle track is shocking, but not necessarily surprising. Unfortunately governments deal in spreadsheets and basic profit / loss - rarely do they extend to less tangible benefits. Closure of part of the Manx Electric Railway will not encourage me to visit the island again as it sends out the message that the heritage isn't respected, I wonder if that has been costed?
    Of all the towns we visited, Ramsey was the least touristy and seemed less 'well off', this option will take the town off the map completely. Has that been costed? Guess they are thinking of the tram as a way to funnel tourist traffic from cruise ships and straight up Snaefell.
    During the festival week every tram was well filled, but whether this reflects the rest of the year I don't know. Are any less drastic options on the table such as singling / mothballing some of the double track or operating the full length seasonally? Lifting and converting to cycle path seems a very drastic option - but it was done to the horse tram which now stops in the middle of nowhere, so they have form.
    This is a very sad state of affairs and I feel for the very passionate people we met who look after the railways on the island.
     
  4. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    1,239
    I look at it this way. The Island's authorities are willing to spend a substantial sum of money on staging the TT, even though that only lasts for two weeks each year. Even if the Transport Festival only fills the hotels and cafes for one week each year, surely that must go a long way to justifying the investment in the railways?

    Which raises the question again: what's really driving this decision? Is it economics...or is it prejudice? Motorsports are recognised as a "mainstream" hobby, so the Manx government is willing to roll out the red carpet for motorsports fans. Railway enthusiasts - well, we're just "trainspotters", aren't we? Just a handful of eccentrics. We don't matter. Despite the fact that we pay our money just like everybody else - and, if the politicians bothered to take a look at any hotel in Douglas during transport festival week, they'd realise that we can fill up the rooms just as effectively as anyone else. :Sour:
     
  5. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    8,403
    Likes Received:
    5,444
    Yesterday I came across the Green Signals series of podcasts. In this one the Director of Rail at Transport Scotland explains that, when he was at the Strategic Rail Authority, the case for re-opening the Borders Railway was correctly rejected according to the economic criteria that they were required to take into consideration; but that after he moved to Transport Scotland a wider set of criteria were applied, which justified the re-opening.
     
    ragl and MuzTrem like this.
  6. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    936
    Likes Received:
    357
    Occupation:
    Restoration of heritage items, mainly in timber.
    Location:
    Haltwhistle
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    There are many visitors at times other than the Transport Festival(s) or during the TT fortnight, they will need somewhere to sleep, eat and be entertained ... and I think quite a lot of them will want to travel by rail [whether the motive power is a horse, steam locomotive or electricity].
    Witness what happens when a cruise liner parks up in Douglas Bay !
     
    MuzTrem, andrewshimmin and marshall5 like this.
  7. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,088
    Likes Received:
    6,726
    Is part of the problem the correlation between visitors and expenditure? I mean it is really easy to equate TT expenditure with visitors because it is a discrete event. The railways undoubtedly draw visitors directly, but are also an important component part of the attraction of the island for visitors. Much harder to equate visitors with the expenditure though, and tempting to think that if the railways were partially or entirely closed the visitors would still come. Which they would, but likely in steadily and slowly decreasing numbers which will be equally difficult to attribute to the closure of the railways. So if you are a politician and (I don’t know if this is the case or not) struggling to balance the budget, then closing the railway looks like an easy win, and if it turns out to be the wrong decision it will be a long time before anyone notices, so no blame either.
     
    andrewshimmin and MellishR like this.
  8. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,392
    Likes Received:
    4,019
    Location:
    i.o.m
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Whilst many of the tour companies (Great Rail, Railtrail, Inside Track, Ffestiniog Travel) which regularly bring groups to the Island do so primarily for the heritage railways there are many other non-railway orientated groups and individuals for whom a ride on one or more of the railways is an important part of their experience. The Island's heritage railways are one of its few USP's and any significant reduction is likely to cause potential visitors to question whether the not inconsiderable cost of getting here is justified. Whilst no-one can disagree that our Heritage Railways require a very large annual subvention from Treasury the figures quoted for annual tourist 'spend' by railway orientated visitors is several times that. IMO that is a good return on the Gov's 'investment'.
    Today's "IOM Today" carries a further article on the long overdue Systra report https://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/doi-tells-systra-to-adjust-rail-report-657714 There is a lot in there which should cause us to be concerned.
    Ray.
     
    MuzTrem, andrewshimmin and kscanes like this.
  9. Mike Buttell

    Mike Buttell Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    751
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Isle of Man
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Away from the concern for a moment, No 13 Kissack took the Brunch Train this morning. 5 dining carriages, well filled.
    IMG_0066.jpeg IMG_0065.jpeg
     
  10. Sheffield

    Sheffield New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    105
    "Provide additional narrative around track renewal". Sounds like they intend to play the usual card when wanting to close a railway. "The track needs replacing at huge cost"
     
    andrewshimmin and lynbarn like this.
  11. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,392
    Likes Received:
    4,019
    Location:
    i.o.m
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
  12. Romsey

    Romsey Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired SPM
    Location:
    Close to Spike Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    If you have never been to the Isle of Man, the transport festival last year was brilliant.
    The organisation of all the events was superb, even when things went slightly wrong on a motorman experience trip....
    (Two rare crossovers used with no fuss or managerial conferences!)
    It was my fifth visit to the Island since 1975 and I was still finding different photo locations, unusual rolling stock and different places to explore.
    A couple of earlier pictures added just to show unusual lineside shots on the steam Railway.
    The beer is good, as is the local cider if you can find it.

    Cheers, Neil
     

    Attached Files:

    marshall5, Bluenosejohn and mdewell like this.
  13. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,313
    Likes Received:
    8,102
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
  14. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    936
    Likes Received:
    357
    Occupation:
    Restoration of heritage items, mainly in timber.
    Location:
    Haltwhistle
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I've just scanned that summary ...

    £1 of "subvention" produces £2.88 of visitor spend into the Manx economy !

    Some interesting recommendations.
     
    MuzTrem, andrewshimmin and 3ABescot like this.
  15. 3ABescot

    3ABescot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2019
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It comes over to me as impressive and encouragingly positive.
    My only visit was in the 1970s when things were at a very low ebb after the reaction to Lord Ailsa's heroic efforts: steam Ballasalla to Port Erin, MER only to Laxey. But visitor numbers seemed high and enthusiastic. Douglas Station was a car park and the attendant I spoke to was a railway employee. He was very upset and pessimistic, thankfully it was turned around.
     
    lynbarn and andrewshimmin like this.
  16. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    26,313
    Likes Received:
    25,076
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Yes - and an interesting test for Manx ministers about how they assess that value for money case, bearing in mind that if they spend £1m of public money on subvention, the £2.9m visitor spend is a private gain spread across the island's businesses.

    However, if the rumours of rework being requested are correct, then the report is unlikely to have gone down well in some places.
     
  17. acorb

    acorb Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    2,675
    Likes Received:
    3,613
    Location:
    Powys
    If the Manx Government were looking for a report to justify closures, this isn't it.
    It is a very good document though to justify the value of heritage railways to local economies however!
    A very interesting and informative read that has clearly been well put together. Some good advice too on digital marketing (my experience of the website is that it was appalling last year) and common sense being applied (why close infrastructure that has not long been upgraded!?!).
    Also spells out that short term wins could lead to adverse long term consequences.
    Well done Systra for not bowing to political pressures, if ministers do now proceed with cuts it will be against the recommendations of the report they commissioned. I'd suggest this is a good day for the island's railways.
     
    MuzTrem, oldmrheath, GHWood and 15 others like this.
  18. Chrisw77

    Chrisw77 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2021
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    15
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Merseyside
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Any news on G H Wood, is she due to return soon?
     
  19. Mike Buttell

    Mike Buttell Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    751
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Isle of Man
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A couple of things.
    It’s just the “recommendations” that have been released, the full report is to follow.
    GH Wood is probably a couple of seasons away. Hutchinson is the next one to be returned to traffic with all the components now back on island
     
    andrewshimmin likes this.
  20. bantamd14

    bantamd14 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    91
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Stafford
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    With Hutchinson serviceable soon, followed by GH Wood a couple of years away and also the potential of Mannin about the same time, I know it is great to have many serviceable locos available for us enthusiasts, but does it make good commercial sense?

    Caledonia must be due for her 10 year boiler exam in the next couple of years, so I doubt she will be overhauled as soon as her ticket expires. I have always been unlucky not to see and travel behind her, I was gutted last year when she was failed with broken springs after her jolly to Knockaloe.

    Are any BP locos coming out of ticket soon?

    There is also the great unknown of Thornhill, we are not obviously privvy to Mr Edwards plans for his loco (and why should we?), but it would be interesting to eventually find out his intentions for the use of Thornhill. Time will tell.
     
    lynbarn and Chrisw77 like this.

Share This Page