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MHR Autumn Steam Gala 2014.

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by green five, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Member

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    Size isnt everything. Just because a railway A has xx miles doesnt mean its bigger than railway B.
    I visited GWSR on saturday 5th July.
    2 x 6 coaches rakes out and the DMU. With the amount of people travelling 2 x 3 or 4 would have been suffice.

    Only one way to figure out how "big" a railway is and that is to look at the passenger numbers.
    Just because a railway has X,Y and Z or has a big hill doesnt mean its in the "Premier League".
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    which is why I listed a number of measures, including passenger number, which the MHR does better on than us. Passenger numbers isn't the only way to measure though, income is another, I listed GWSR's approx. but don't know the MHR so can't compare - although I wonder how many paid staff the MHR have? I have some figures comparing the bluebell's total spent on salaries compared to ours and I was amazed. I'd be interested to see that as apart from passenger numbers I'd say we're pretty similar lines in terms of distance, amount of rolling stock (and heritage of it - all MK 1 :() number of stations etc.
     
  3. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    One big plus the MHR has over the GWSR is having a main line connection. A handy way to bring in visiting locos for gala. Not for getting bring main line loco's in to use our wheel drop and workshop space which all goes towards extra revenue for the railway.
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's definitely a big plus, hadn't thought about the income from doing wheel drops, suppose I should have realised what with 70000 being there! Apart from passenger numbers as we've looked at, the other crucial measurement as I've said is a couple of figures to do with money.
     
  5. siquelme

    siquelme Well-Known Member

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    Both railways have there strong points and weak points. In terms of size I would say they are about the same, both have a good number of locos, rolling stock and infrastructure. Just look at how much money the MHR has plowed into its new all singing all dancing signaling system and how well the Broadway appeal is going.

    Passenger numbers can be misleading for example how many people use the GWSR as a park and ride system for the Cheltenham cup do they count as visitors?
     
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  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's a thought, as the trains aren't actually operated by us, we just supply them (we get a good amount of money from the operator of course) so don't know if they'd be counted.
     
  7. siquelme

    siquelme Well-Known Member

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    In the most important comparison figure between the two railways is we both have 1 Merchant Navy ;-)
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    True, as you say, most important, but this time next year ours will be operating. The last time I heard, it is now no longer hoped to be ready some time in 2015, it is expected to be ready sometime in the first half of 2015 :eek: Unfortunately we aren't allowed to paint any coaches green for the occasion, although we do have one as yet unrestored in green, perhaps could be put just behind for effect?
     
  9. siquelme

    siquelme Well-Known Member

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    That sounds promising, I guess she will have to visit us soon to get the chance to play with some green coaches ;-)
     
  10. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Ah, longer. Yes that is correct. In the interests of accuracy only, at the risk of a "my Dad is bigger than yours" moment....many of our trains are 6. Hopefully in the future we will be able to run 7 again. We normally operate two sets. Most weekends we operate two during the day and two during the evening, requiring a total or 3 1/2 sets total (complicated...best not to ask). Most galas use four sets of coaches. We currently have 6 steam locos in operation (albeit one of them is Thomas), a 7th will arrive in Feb, and there might be 9 by the end of the year. Our passenger numbers are bigger I think, and the turnover is approximately double.
     
  11. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Resident of Nat Pres

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    Still a money earner though?......

    Intriguing about running 7 coach trains in the future.......
     
  12. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    Must be extending the run round loop at Alton.
     
  13. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I imagine Thomas only comes out on Thomas days though, much like with us, only difference is you have one sitting in the shed, ours comes in for hire. So during normal running days both railways run approximately the same number of coaches at one time. During galas you manage to make up an extra set although I suspect the numbers go down to about 4/5, meaning our 3 rakes of 6 are roughly equal. You have bigger passenger numbers and turnover, what about profit? Ours would have been bigger but there was significant unexpected outlay this year. Either way, I didn't start this to see which railway was biggest, only as to whether the MHR needed two big steam events a year. If they both make a profit, visitors are satisfied and there are enough volunteers to stage both, then great, but perhaps not sustainable?
     
  14. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Resident of Nat Pres

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    Surely the other loops would also need extending?...... major headache for Bynam & Co.............
     
  15. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Resident of Nat Pres

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    Did you not read my post #451 above?.......... Thomas goes out on hire from us to other Rlys......... thus earning its keep.........
     
  16. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Ah, you didn't say that though, just that it makes money. In which case, I imagine that must be pretty lucrative knowing what Thomas events are like, and also of course cheaper to put on your own.
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm not sure profit is an especially useful metric either, given that most preserved railways aim to reinvest any surplus into development of the railway, rather than return a significant profit. A better measure of success (but difficult to genuinely measure the true performance) is whether, year on year, the railway keeps trading and keeps abreast of maintenance (rolling stock and infrastructure).

    In other words, if a railway successfully trades year after year, and in general the moquette is not becoming more faded, the paint isn't peeling, there are always sufficient locos and carriages to run the service, and the p/way remains in good condition, then that is a better measure of success than how long the trains are or how many passengers are carried - or even how much the (slightly notional) annual profit is!

    Tom
     
  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I see what you mean Tom, and I know that most heritage railway "profits" aren't really viewed as such, but I'd guess it would be turnover minus all the maintenance costs of coaches, locos, infrastructure etc. so it would be partly useful, showing how much money the railway generates that is in ecess of what it needs to stay afloat ech year, and thus can be spent on special projects, like an extension... :)
     
  19. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Resident of Nat Pres

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    I knew you'd "bite"........... :)

    Maybe, your line hires in our Thomas, though I know not......... at the end of the day, survival is the name of the game, and how you generate income streams is mostly down to what the local market will stomach........ gala's for us nutters are all well & good, but at the end of the day, its the family market that sustains our beloved railways, if we all relied solely on the enthusiast then I doubt any of us would exist/or do the things we do today........
     
  20. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Thomas is one of the most intensively used locos. Goes to all manner of places such as the GWSR. Rarely to be seen in Ropley except for our events and annual maintenance.

    Not sure why you imagine our train lengths go down for galas, it can be the case, but not always. We have fairly consistently between 22 and 24 carriages available for service with 4 that are normally used for dining services (but not exclusively). Over the next few years this will probably rise to 26 to 28 as the Bulleid coaches and the CKs come into service, mind you that's probably 4 years before we get to the "end point".

    Do we need two big steam events per year? Odd way to phrase the question and certainly not what I thought you were getting at with your earlier posts. We are quite happy with the returns that they make currently, though this could of course change, and if it did we wouldn't hold them since they are not held for own entertainment. If we held neither we would want to find a way to generate the surplus they make a different way, but we could survive without either. Our mainline connection is a big advantage, and the cost of the autumn gala was much higher as a result of the need to use road transport more extensively. If we had to rely on the roads maybe we would not run two galas.

    Whether galas are sustainable is not the way I would put it. I don't see galas as being a thing to preserve in their own right. To me they are primarily to generate a profit for the railway by providing entertainment for the paying public (enthusiasts) and in that way contribute to the continuation of the railway. They may have a secondary function of providing enjoyment for the members and volunteers. If the question is about how much longer the "mega-gala" will continue then I have some thoughts. Historically most railways got into the gala game by running everything they had at the end of a season. Then they started getting the odd visitor in, and in a kind of "arms race" the galas got bigger and bigger. There are several factors that suggest that this trend will decline and that the days of the mega-gala may indeed be numbered.
    - expense and risk of road transport
    - difficulties in pathing rail transport
    - number of competing galas (rare it is that there is no "clash")
    - declining pool of enthusiasts (there is an assumption here which I have no evidence to support as yet, which is.....the majority of those who go to galas are the older generation who were trainspotters back in the day. This group are 55 + and I would guess that the "bell curve" means that most are 60 to 70. That means we should expect the visitor numbers to begin to drift downwards over the next 10 years. As we get to this point though there will be a point where the number of galas will start to reduce as railways receive a lower return for the effort, and with those lower returns may come an unwillingness to risk lots of cash on lots of visitors.)

    So if the question about sustainability is about the mega-gala, then I would say that we are probably at the top of the market. From here on we can expect fewer and smaller galas as a general rule. Yes there will still be some outlying events that are huge, but their number is likely to fewer. This is not specific to the MHR, rather my thoughts on the market as a whole. As I say though I can't fully substantiate the hypothesis....yet.
     

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