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MNLPS/Clan Line 2018 Programme

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Where's Mazeppa?, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    Following on from various snippets glimpsed in this forum and elsewhere, we are now beginning to see a fuller picture of the efforts that MNLPS are making to ensure that Clan Line's main line appearances next year are not solely confined to an unleavened Belmond programme. The announcement of the programme, which follows similar (and best) practise to the way that A1SLT have released Tornado's more-or-less full 2018 main line programme, gives a fairly well defined plan right through next year.

    The current status of the programme is available to view at https://clan-line.org.uk/diary/

    UK Railtours are once again the partner-promoter for the newly announced outings. Good. Book with Confidence!

    Apart from the already announced King Alfred luncheon circular on 10th February, we now see a one-way trip to Minehead on 26th May with diesel return (preceding scheduled TBEX outings 3rd and 17th June), Waterloo Sunset in July (date and itinerary tbc), Wessex lunch 24th November and Sherborne Carols 20th December.

    Maybe there's more to come, but this is a good start anyway. And for those of us who need to plan commitments and expenditures fairly tightly to ensure that we get "the very best bang for our rail-tour buck", this is all massively helpful. I've never been that big on all things Southern, but maybe things can now change with the benefit of this kind of foreknowledge.
     
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  2. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Given that this year saw the passing of the President of the MNLPS, it seems probable that the society will also wish to find a way of commemorating his long term support of the society through an activity of some kind that involves Clan Line.
     
  3. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    Could a visit to Cranmore en-route to Minehead be on the cards?
     
  4. derby2

    derby2 New Member

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    Errrr......no! Unless you want to set out from London at 3 a.m., or get back at 3 a.m. Can I say that of course we've made the formal request to the WSR to visit on that day, but are awaiting final confirmation from them that it's OK. Reference to the 2018 WSR timetable will show what pathways the train will have to fit into (13.15 from BL, 17.50 from Minehead) and if you look up the path from Paddington that 60009 used on 12th August it's a pretty safe bet we will be similar.
    It's a great ride on the WSR with a destination station that is perfect for handling long charter trains and viewing engines, but an issue that has to be factored in is that to fit in amongst WSR services you have to allow an hour and three quarters to get from Taunton to Minehead. UKR is not about 06.xx starts or midnight finishes, so even if "Clan Line" wasn't staying in the west to work the first two 'Torbay Express' operations of 2018, we are of the opinion that London to Minehead and back with steam all the way makes for too long a day. I know it's been done by others, but having got to the destination you want a worthwhile amount of time there, which MNLPS and UKR believe should be around 3 hours. We'll come back from Minehead to BL with "Clan Line" then use a Class 67 back home from there.
    Reference to Big Al's comment, MNLPS have had an initial conversation with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation regarding a commemorative train. They were certainly interested, but no further news at this stage.
    Looking at the "Clan Line" programme for 2018 will show 19 trips including the Belmond Pullman operations. Yes, there may be the odd addition/amendment but we have to look at what is achievable from a support crew perspective. Every trip requires 4 days of prep/disposal time, and with, say, 10 people on duty each day that's 760 'man days' (sorry ladies)! for an all-volunteer organisation - some of whom are still in paid employment - that's a big ask. But we're not a 'closed shop' so if anybody feels they have the skills and dedication to make a useful contribution to preparation/support crew duties, please get in touch via the MNLPS website.
     
  5. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    And this, in a nutshell, and with all the insight it conveys, seems to me to perfectly illustrate what cuts out UKRT and their arms-length MNLPS/ A1SLT partnerships from the rest - all of the operational expertise that they bring to bear on the planning and specification of what's possible, blended with a genuine consideration for, and emphasis/ priority on what is going to work for the customer. Yes, I know DB-C has a big role in making all of this happen as well, but in the first instance it seems to me that it is the success of this partnership - how well they work together as specifiers, that makes all the difference to how good the proposition ultimately turns out to be to the customer on the day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  6. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    Indeed, and thanks for taking the time to explain the wider context. However, you can see where my speculation came from, considering the great man's close association with that railway during its formative years!
     
  7. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Well-Known Member

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    Omg a merchant on the WSR.... Any chance of a deltic from minehead on the return.
     
  8. IamDaniel

    IamDaniel Member

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    No. Class 67 on the return, as @derby2 said above. Besides, what connection has a Deltic got with (a) Clan Line, (b) the WSR and (c) the route?
     
  9. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Well-Known Member

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    ‘‘Twas only a dream
     
  10. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    I was hoping that there might be another lunch circular on the lines of the "Wessex Express"/"King Alfred" in the springtime or early summer. I'd love to travel behind Clan Line again after such a marvellous day in Canterbury last September and next year is both a significant birthday for me and fairly significant wedding anniversary. The "Waterloo Sunset" would be running at about the right time for the latter celebration, but assuming it will run to somewhere like Yeovil or Weymouth, I fear it would be too long a day out for my wife and I've already booked on one long trip by myself next year (The "Ebor Flyer" with Tornado)

    I'm sure I read somewhere about a series of Eastleigh-Salisbury-Yeovil shuttles planned for a weekend in early April. Has this bitten the dust?

    So I personally am disappointed by the programme as it stands and am hoping that there may be what Mr Derby2 refers to as "the odd addition/amendment", but I fully respect the philosophy undergirding the MNLPS which he has spelt out in his post above. One important reason why Clan Line turns in such stunning performances time after time is because the owning group is very careful not to bite off more than it can chew so that the a high standard is attained every time. I'd hate to see this approach compromised in any way, even if the net result is that I may not manage to enjoy a run behind this fine engine in 2018
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  11. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The schedule for last May's Cornishman gave it four hours from Taunton to Penzance and two and a half at Penzance (somewhat altered by delays on the day, but not seriously). Although the return was with a diesel, it was not the originally planned Deltic, and only about an hour faster than it would have been with steam. That made for a long day but not outrageous (except of course for the support crew, whose days are often outrageously long).

    That said, the Minehead trip still looks like an excellent one, which I am seriously considering.
     
  12. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Well-Known Member

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    Was that the one that had class 59 on return?
     
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It was: see http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/10s/170529a1.htm. The particular class of diesel was of little interest to me. What I do remember is that it had a significantly lower permitted maximum speed than a Deltic, hence the journey being not much faster than it would have been with steam. The down journey took about 7 hours, so a return from Penzance with steam would presumably have taken about the same. The actual return with the diesel took about 6.
    I have no quarrel at all with the MNLPS wanting to use Clan Line only one way and back to BL. But the comparison with the timings of The Cornishman implies that going all the way back with steam would be possible without cutting down on the time at Minehead and without a very late return; indeed an earlier return than with The Cornishman.
     
  14. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    This is probably the kind of assessment/ conclusion that would massively benefit from the input of derby2's insights, but reflecting on this comparison, a couple of things did occur to me.

    Firstly, whatever the theoretical range of 35028 between water stops, the ACE return from Exeter required two - at Frome and Didcot/ Milton Junction, so we must assume that somewhere along the line, at least one water stop would be required between Taunton and Paddington. Say 20 minutes plus any additional pathing allowance required.

    More importantly, if Theale in the up direction remains as a gauging issue (as apparently it did in September, and I haven't yet seen anything to suggest that this constraint has been removed), then resort to the Westbury-Melksham-Chippenham circumvention would add significantly to the overall timings compared with what would be possible with a gauge compliant diesel traversing the shorter B&H route. The incremental distance would be approximately 14 miles of more severely speed-restricted plain-track mileage and junctions. Plus any related pathing constraints, which we certainly encountered with September's ACE outing.

    So it may be that the Vmax of the motive power wouldn't be the factor that determined how competitive the relative times would be between steam and diesel (which is totally hypothetical anyway, as the preferred solution appears to have been adopted). Much more, it would seem, to do with route accessibility/ feasibility, pathing and logistics. If, and I do mean if, this is the case then either less time at destination, or later return, or both, would appear to have been an inevitability with steam haulage for the return leg.
     
  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I thought that Clan Line to Minehead was a combination of:
    - a sensible length day overall,
    - a decent length stopover at Minehead,
    - a positioning move for the Torbay Expresses in June (TBC)

    So a return with steam (from BL) just doesn't seem to have ever been a consideration.
     
  16. Will RL

    Will RL Member

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    You’re referencing a class 59 that has a max speed of 75mph, in the same way that Tornado was limited to 75mph on the day. Derby2 has suggested for the return from Bishops to the capital they intend to use a class 67, which was built to operate at 125mph. So combine that with coaches that are capable of 100mph(? At least 90?) and a good path without the need for water stops, I would say it would be rather a lot quicker than steam in this case.

    I know many of us wouldn’t usually argue in favour of deisel haulage in this way, but you’ve got to see the direction in which the MNLPS are coming from with regards to a shorter day and positioning the loco for TBEL season.
     
  17. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    As I said, I've no quarrel at all with the plan and I'm considering booking on it myself. The combination of the much shorter distance to Minehead than to Penzance (saving several hours), not much longer at the destination, and a much faster return should in fact make a considerably shorter day than the Penzance trip, 12 hours or less total.
     
  18. derby2

    derby2 New Member

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    Various worthwhile points being raised in recent posts, but as Derby2 is currently approaching, errrrr Derby for a few beers with former railway colleagues I will 'tune in' again over the weekend to respond in more detail.
     
  19. derby2

    derby2 New Member

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    I think most people posting on here have - accurately - covered the pros and cons of running one way or both ways with steam from London to Minehead. As a couple have pointed out, the raison d'être of the trip is to position "Clan Line" in readiness for the two 'Torbay Express' operations in June, but it is worthwhile examining what time a trip like this would get back if it was steam out & back.
    As I mentioned earlier, both MNLPS and UKR believe that having got to a chosen destination, there should be a reasonable break of around 3 hours there - occasionally a bit more. Only a small proportion of 'hard-core' steam enthusiasts want to be on the go all day covering as many miles as possible. You can get away with a very long day on a 'CME' operation from London, with maybe only 90 minutes or so in Carlisle. There really is no alternative to an early start/late finish on this itinerary, but it sells itself on a steam section over a line that a large proportion of the population are aware of. With most (not all) other itineraries it's a case of the destination being the major attraction for most customers and the route secondary, though I accept of course that for many who post on this forum that isn't necessarily the case. It just depends who you are targeting for each trip.
    Just supposing we were to come back all the way with steam, lets look at the likely scenario. It's an almost certain bet that we will copy the 60009 path of 12th August, therefore leave Paddington at 08.08, arr BL just before 13.00, fit into the 13.15 path from there and arrive Minehead circa 14.40. So that's 6 & half hours Paddn to Minehead. For the return, it's likely the path to BL will be a bit quicker, as there are no WSR services to cross, and possibly one of the water stops might be slightly shorter. Let's say with a clear run on the GWML it could be done in 6 hours - but that still gives an arrival back at Paddington at 10 minutes to midnight! Notwithstanding that the vast majority of passengers joining/alighting there would regard the streets - or public transport - of London as something they don't wish to sample at that time of a Saturday night, we're also dicing with engineering blocks that may well prevent "Clan Line" getting back to base at Stewarts Lane. Even if it can, there isn't a big 'Hornby hand' to magically make it happen in the blink of an eye, with the result that the support crew will be looking at a 'tour of duty' not far short of 24 hours! Far too long I think everyone would agree. Coming back from BL with a with a Class 67 gives the opportunity of running at up to 100 mph, and with no need of water stops we should be back in London by 22.00 or just after - having enjoyed getting on for 8 hours of "Clan Line" earlier in the day.
    Eastleigh-Salisbury-Yeovil shuttles were mentioned. Sadly, that won't be happening in Spring 2018. Many within the MNLPS were supportive, but it was felt not appropriate for MNLPS to take the financial risk of promoting such an operation whilst we still owed money to supporters who had given loans to ensure the timely completion of the overhaul. These loans will all be repaid during 2018, so it is hoped the idea will be re-visited.
    A final point of interest regarding steam tours generally. Some people have previously pointed out that it isn't the case that all the 'gricers' travel in standard class, and the 'normals' in dining. Dining virtually always sells out first, and many of those certainly do class themselves as enthusiasts. In fact John Farrow has told me that just as many in the dining section have a bit of a grumble when they're at the rear and can't hear the engine, as those in Standard when it's the other way round! Who'd be a promoter?!
     
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  20. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    Many thanks for responding in some detail - and at this late hour - to the various up-thread contributions on this topic. And just to reprise my earlier point, isn't this the great strength of the MNLPS/ UKRT relationship/ partnership that there is a consensus about what will work best for the customer. And that this consensus view gets elevated to the point where it becomes the fulcrum for the whole planning process for an excursion such as the Minehead trip.

    I like the idea that all this suggests of imagining the customer proposition first (target market - its needs and wants/ itinerary/ timings) and then doing the feasibility rather than the other way around - however much in the final analysis the two will inevitably go hand-in-hand. It seems to me to be the kind of approach that will avoid the desperation that is sometimes illustrated by UKRT's rivals - a resort to eleventh hour marketing via e-mails that offer discounts/ promotional codes etc that in the end just admit that the original product/ proposition was compromised and failed to generate the hoped-for take-up because it just wasn't worth the price or didn't offer the value to its potential customers that its promoters had originally envisaged.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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