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.

Mid Hants Spring gala

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by pete12000, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. dgraw

    dgraw New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kent
    Blimey, did you start the event walking down the footpath at Ropley Saturday morning with your dog, you let it off the lead as you got about level with the bench? I was the first person you went past if it was you on the left with my tripod. I did think it may have been you seeing the dog but she looked somewhat different to me for whatever reason and seeing as you seem to stay above London I didn't bother saying anything! Ah well/

    Should have some of my footage online by Wednesday, nice selection already appearing on YouTube though.
     
  2. green five

    green five Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    6,169
    Likes Received:
    1,705
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    You have some cracking shots on your site David. Excellent work.
     
  3. green five

    green five Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    6,169
    Likes Received:
    1,705
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    My Father and I attended on Friday and Saturday and enjoyed both days despite the problems. We also managed to travel behind all of the loco's (well apart from 30075 which we don't like very much!) so we reckon we got our money's worth (£10 each day as we are members). It was good that both the wheel drop shed and the superb new boiler shop were open for viewing. Very interesting. There was no doubt that 60163 and 60019 were the stars of the show. I lost count of the number of kids chanting "Tornado" or asking "Daddy where is Tornado?". And the weather was great for a change.
    When things started to go wrong I did feel sorry for the volunteers. The ones that we spoke to were as helpful as they could be and there were times on Saturday when it appeared that nobody seemed to know what was going on. We were worried that we were going to get stuck at Medstead on Saturday evening as we totally lost track of what trains were what due to the delays. Still we manged to get back to Ropley behind 5224 and when we left just after 18.00 there were still a few people waiting for the last run behind Tornado from Alresford to Alton.
     
  4. tfftfftff86

    tfftfftff86 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    964
    Likes Received:
    1
    As I didn't attend the MHR gala, I can neither support or refute any claims. I do think, though, that the poster (MHR volunteer) who described the event as "mainly an enthusiast's gala" has indirectly uncovered the root of any PR problems that may have occurred. By bringing 60163 with all the attendant publicity, the MHR turned the event into a mainly a public gala. If Joe the non-enthusiast is then faced with paying £20 a head for what he expected to be either a quick visit to show the loco to the kids, or for maximum one return trip, then many Joes are bound to have turned on their heel and departed with the word "rip-off" on their lips.
    So the MHR unwittingly created a product aimed at a different market to what they are used to, but did not create a pricing structure to suit that market.
    I'd like to contrast the Swanage Railway gala last year, where visitors had less well-known Pacifics, but also had the choice of a Rover, at £19 IIRC, or a £9 return-trip ticket. From the sheer numbers awaiting every arrival on Swanage station platform but not boarding, I guess they also offered either a platform ticket for that station and maybe Corfe Castle, or free access to the platforms with on-train ticket checks.

    Free access would definitely not be advisable for a Tornado event for H&S as well as commercial reasons, but I hope that in future the MHR will take more note of how others market and price an event, one that leaves 99% of visitors with nothing up their nose but the pleasant smell of steam.
     
  5. 46118

    46118 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,035
    Likes Received:
    187
    Well said, your first paragraph appears to sum up the problem which perhaps they got into unwittingly
     
  6. Jark91

    Jark91 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think a good idea for all gala events on any railway (not just the MHR) who chooses to issue platform tickets is to refund the price of the ticket if the ticket holder then wants to buy a ticket to travel. That way the railway gets their money, the customer gets the chance to 'preview' the railway and decide whether or not they want to travel, and more importantly they don't get ripped off. I guess not many buyers of platform tickets actually do travel but it'd be a nice option to have.
     
  7. tfftfftff86

    tfftfftff86 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    964
    Likes Received:
    1
    I actually did that once on the Bluebell, though not at a gala. In fact I went with the intention of travelling, and I calculated correctly that after a walk around Sheffield Park shed with our son, the wife's "oh, go on then" would be an odds-on bet. I don't know if the BR's ticket clerk broke the rules to change my ticket, or not, but it happened anyway, and everyone was satisfied.
     
  8. Fozzy

    Fozzy New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello all, new here to posting but not to reading some of the threads on here.

    I'm surprised at the negative comments on here surrounding the gala and I think that there is a bit of a biased opinion on here, being followed up by others who have not even attended!
    There or one or two things on here that do not appear to be correct, such as the £80 quote for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. I thought that there was a £50 family ticket? I've also seen a user called LN850 post about brake problems and that the minimum required vacuum for a locomotive is 18"Hg - it is 20"Hg on a locomotive is it not as a minimum?

    I spent 2.5 days at the MHR gala. The first half a day was spent without accessing the stations and I saw all but 5224 and 30075 working, and that included seeing Tornado several times. It is therefore possible to see Tornado without having to pay the ticket price which is some peoples complaint. Judging by the cars parked along the roads, that's exactly what many were doing.

    The other two days were spent on the MHR and yes, there were some delays but I don't agree with the posters saying that they were not informed about what was going on. I stayed late on both days and I found the platform staff, especially at Ropley, extremely pleasant and helpful. There were PA announcements on both days and I found the staff approachable!

    Another criticism has been that the timetable didn't allow for failures. Yesterday ran well until Lord Nelson was taken off its train, only about 10-15 mins delay. The timing of the trains seemed to be a pleasant gap. Had they timetabled to allow for failures, fire and other incidents, then the frequency of trains would be less and that would also have been a little boring.

    I'm interested in the operations of a railway and I found it interesting watching some of the going ons at Ropley yesterday, some of which were not timetabled. The shunt release using the 350 shunter was interesting which was done in the yard to allow the service trains to pass. There was also Lord Nelson who was taken off the train. Tornado arrive on an up service and the next appearance was 92212 in the down platform which came into the yard for a "splash'n'dash" before returning to the platform. Lord Nelson then arrived and was taken off its train and put into the yard, with 92212 taking over the train. It was a very quick and slick piece of shunting from what I could see.

    The shed staff then worked on Lord Nelson performing various tests before taking it back out on to the line and the next we saw was that it had double-headed from Alresford to Ropley before coming off. I'm assuming that it was a test run. The fitters all looked rather busy and I did hear them get asked questions about what was wrong. When they said that they didn't know, they were probably right because they were working on it. From where I was stood, I did wonder why other people were pestering them as that is what it seemed like.

    Tornado's trains were very busy but here is another thing that I found helpful. At Alresford there was a member of staff who was saying that the Tornado train would be very busy and he advised people that it was better to travel on the train before Tornado. At first that made no sense because that isn't travelling on Tornado but that's when things became clear. The train before Tornado's was not as busy and so there were seats available. Getting on that train meant that it went to Alton, which would then be the train that Tornado took for the next round trip, and it meant getting a seat! That was a really helpful bit of information! Tornado ran many more trains than the other locos and this idea of swapping at Alton meant that the same people couldn't hog Tornadoes train. I know some people don't like that idea on here but it seemed very fair to me and was explained.

    What else was good about the gala? Well, Alton had working signals! The colour lights were uncovered and trains were taking different routes in and out. OK, only a choice of two but where you normally leave Alton with the loop on your left, this time we went out through the loop and trains were passing on the correct side. All the trains were 6 coaches long which I understand is now the maximum that can be operated with the new signalling at Alton and to be able to run locomotives round.

    All in all I think it was well done and I think that rather than being criticised, well done to the staff who stayed on late to help out the customers (and kept the fires going!). I've seen quite a few comments about people wanting longer running days as well, but as I stayed to the bitter end, there were very few people about at all. Surely it is not worth running a gala into the night if there is not the demand. I can see the counter argument to that being that if it was advertised as later running, it would be better attended. I don't think so. Very few stayed for the full dose as it was.

    Platform tickets? It's a nice idea but how practical to enforce? It was busy! What is stopping people who buy a platform ticket then riding on the trains and so not paying for that privilege. That's probably why the MHR don't do platform tickets - it just can't be policed! How many customers paying the full fare would appreciate someone else getting the same access for much less? That said, if you know the MHR a little bit, there are places where they can not restrict your access. The footbridge at Medstead and Four Marks is used by the locals to cross the line which involves going on the platform.

    For those who don't feel it was worth it, then write and complain! Complaining here will have no effect because you're not talking to those who can do things about it, or explain the situation. Those on here who are responding to comments are those who help to keep the railway running, not the management or operations of the railway or event.

    To the volunteers who are on here and are defending some of the comments made, I say, "Don't bite! Rise above it!". You are still ambassadors for your railway and it is pointless reverting to what would seem like childish arguments, such as the one over marketting statistics. Tiredness etc is not an excuse and bickering on a public forum, where the reputation of the MHR volunteers is involved, could be taken in a dim light could it not? You'll never please everyone! The various failures added interest to the day for me, but not for others.
     
  9. cct man

    cct man New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,259
    Likes Received:
    49
    Occupation:
    CONSTRUCTION
    Location:
    LONDON
    Thanks Fozzy:

    I have had an E-Mail from Colin Chambers today stating that platform tickets were availably and sold at Alton and Alresford.

    I just thought that everyone should know this.

    Best regards
    Chris
     
  10. pennysteam

    pennysteam New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    60
    Occupation:
    analyst computer programmer
    Location:
    sheffield UK
    I think that was my second visit to roply, we werethere at 7am to film them coming of shed, I left for a while after 730 sih to have ggood look for locations and also to get some breakfast, we set of at 2.45am. We came for waybridge and Nelson but thinks didn't work out to well, thing I only managed one good shot of nelson over the two days. Still we enjoyed our visit.
     
  11. ady

    ady New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    140
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Post office
    Location:
    South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Thinking clearly about what happened, and after reciving a private message from Shoddy127 (who was, not surpisingly, not amused), I aplogise for my comments about 850 Lord Nelson. Complete back track.

    Although I didn't enjoy my self, that was my fault not the Mid Hants Railway (or Lord Nelson). I think all the staff where very freindley (and they did let me and the people around me on Tonando's train know what was happening when Nelson had a problom) and dispite what other people have said, I thought the fare structure was fair.

    Sorry, again...
     
  12. LN850

    LN850 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    1
    fozzy, this was on 30075 and thats what Bob Deeth said to me. So i am sure it is correct.
     
  13. Jark91

    Jark91 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    1
    Fozzy, your attitude seems to be 'anybody who offers constructive criticism is a hater and should be ignored'...

    To the volunteers who are on here and are defending some of the comments made, I say, "Don't bite! Rise above it!".

    There's nothing to rise above! The great majority of the points made over the past few pages have been entirely fair, valid points and clearly a lot of people think the weekend could've been more enjoyable if certain elements were handled differently. At the end of the day everybody just wants to enjoy themselves and see the heritage railway movement prosper and if people leave the railway unimpressed because they couldn't get on the platform at Ropley without buying a rover or because they were left for a long time without word of what was happening then it's going to reflect badly on heritage railways as a whole. Nobody is saying that everything about the gala was badly handled or unenjoyable, in fact most people have given credit where it's due, but to just dismiss fair points as you so readily have is really arrogant.
     
  14. LN850

    LN850 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    1
    Jark, i think that is the most valid point EVER MADE ON THIS FORUM. It is total sense and we would all do well to take notice and act on it.
     
  15. ady

    ady New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    140
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Post office
    Location:
    South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    well if you want to complain, why don't people write to the railway its self rather then the posting on fourm. Which something I should have done maybe...
     
  16. ralphchadkirk1

    ralphchadkirk1 New Member Account Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    As regards Vac pressure, I think it is 18''.

    I think Fozzy did make some valuable points, but I have to argue against his "tiredness is no excuse". Well, you try working an 11 hour day mate without any proper kind of break. All this for the enjoyment of people unknown.
     
  17. Groks212

    Groks212 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Messages:
    914
    Likes Received:
    534
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Posted by Jark 91

    I think a good idea for all gala events on any railway (not just the MHR) who chooses to issue platform tickets is to refund the price of the ticket if the ticket holder then wants to buy a ticket to travel. That way the railway gets their money, the customer gets the chance to 'preview' the railway and decide whether or not they want to travel, and more importantly they don't get ripped off. I guess not many buyers of platform tickets actually do travel but it'd be a nice option to have.




    I believe the GCR do that on their galas, certainly at Loughborough and Quorn yard.

    Dave B
     
  18. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    8,629
    Likes Received:
    5,878
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alderan !
    I am astounded that we have over 8 pages , most of it argument regarding the gala . Once again only the MHR can do this and I struggle to understand why. Much of what has been posted does the volunteers , supporters and the railway little credit at all and if I were the management of the railway I'd be deeply embarassed.

    For a line with the idea of being in the "Premier League" at times it's more like a school league. No other lines attract so many threads which descend into a playground fight and if it's not amongst yourselves then its having a pop at the local school (sorry railway) just over the county border in Sussex. It really is like St Trinians
     
  19. waterbucket

    waterbucket New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    38
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Conductor
    Location:
    Leicester
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Wow what a debate!!

    Myself and a mate visited the event on Sunday. We're both working members of another heritage railway, myself being a traffic manager and my friend a stationmaster. We arrived at Alton from Waterloo in time for the first train of the day, hauled by Tornado. Owing from the popularity of the engine we thought we might be in for a long wait for tickets and may end up on the second train of the day. However the queue was not as long as we feared it might be and the staff seemed very efficient and friendly in getting everyone through as quickly as possible. Along with our tickets we were given a very smart and glossy gala guide at no extra cost which we were both pretty impressed with. It was slightly disappointing not to be able to see a loco roster although useful for us that Tornado's trains were marked as we've already had our fill of this loco and had come to sample the rest of what was on offer so we knew which ones to avoid!! A disappointment was that there was no attempt made to mention that Wadebridge was no longer expected to appear as part of the gala and would be replaced by 5224. Yes I knew this was the case because of the joys of internet sites like this but my friend did not.

    One notable positive was the visible prescence of on train staff in particular TTI's and I think our tickets were checked on nearly every train. This is a department we struggle in on gala days back on our home railway so this was particularly pleasing to see. On the subject of tickets one of the first things my stationmaster friend noticed was a sign saying that no short hop tickets would be available. Well done for making this clear, nobody can argue about that. However, we both came to the conclusion that the railway may well be shooting itself in the foot here. This was something that was proposed for a gala back home earlier this year but thanks to much opposition from my colleague was successfully rebutted. Yes it means the enthusiast visitor will have to buy an all day ticket but surely most will do anyway? By not having short hop tickets our consensus was that revenue would be lost by turning away those who wanted to come along and watch the action but not ride or by families coming along unawares and not wanting to fork out ridiculous sums of money on an all day ticket to only go one station away rather than the whole line. Does not every penny count?

    Moving on and we ended up at Arlesford in the refreshment room on the station platform. The service was fantastic, food brilliant value for money for what you got and to be honest exactly what you want on a gala day. The place was really busy but the food was prepared quickly and allowed you to have some hot food but not spend half the afternoon waiting for it and missing out on all the action. As it happened it was at this point that Nelson failed so we didn't miss any of the action. Whoever cooked up the rescue plan is to be congratulated, very well thought out and probably resulted in pretty near the minimum delay possible to put it into action. Also the information given out by the staff at Arlesford was very good. It was regular, extremely informative and given in a very positive tone with frequent apologies for the problems. You didn't feel that you hadn't got a clue what was going to happen next which is a refreshing change!

    Unfortunately this was not the case later on in the afternoon when on the Pullman stock hauled by Bittern which came to a stop outside Ropley for about 15 minutes. It may not sound a long time but when you are sat on a train staring out the same window at the same view it seems it. It was a shame that no effort was made to inform the passengers about the nature of the delay when on a previous train that had been stood at the same place for about two minutes the guard had made an announcement to explain why we had stopped. Now on that stock it may not be possible to make an announcement but it doesn't take much effort to walk through and start to tell people what the problem is...word of mouth travels fast!

    By the time we left Alton services were running almost 75 minutes late. Being able to witness one of the shunts with Tornado which was obviously being done to maximise the amount of trains it hauled during the day it was clear to see that not enough time had been allowed for the relevant manoevures to take place. Please take note that this is not a criticism. From what I understand this is the first time that the new signalling system at Alton had been used in this way. Every new process takes time to get used to and become slick. At the railway where I work we re-engine freight trains in a procedure that can be carried out comfortably in 5 minutes but is usally timetabled at a minimum of 10 minutes. It has been fine tuned and improved over the years and was not half as quick when done for the first time. I'm sure this is something that the mid hants will learn from and improve in future events. The disappointment I guess is that when it became obvious time was slipping away that trains weren't simply ran round at Alton on every occasion as this would undoubtedly have helped pull the time back rather than let it build up to the extent that it did (i do appreciate that about 40-50 mins of this arose from the Nelson failure).

    On the whole we had a good day out and the mid hants showed us that it is a line with a lot of potential and with a few tweaks to the timetabling and a bit more luck on the loco failures front a good day could easily have been a great day. Looking forward to the next one!

    Phil
     
  20. chessie1

    chessie1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    103
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Hants

    ..and it's as much fun...
     

Share This Page