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New builds - how many will ever really work?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Maunsell man, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Richard66

    Richard66 New Member

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    It doesn't help their cause when you apparently have 2 members of the same group first posting one item of news and then the 2nd member posting a "no we didn't" denial ...
     
  2. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    As previously stated, the last dozen years have been a golden age of low inflation, rising share prices, cheap debt and a well-funded group of retirees, with time on their hands, who remembered the golden age of steam.
    All of that is rapidly dwindling away.
    All ready volunteer organisations are finding less and less people with the requisite skills, time and money to support their particular cause, all volunteer organisations, from the TA to oxfam. Railways are no different, the apex has been reached, and resources are in slow but steady decline. Rationalisation will just as surely set in. It would be nice to see the Buckley-Funk line reinstated, or marvel at the recreation of Lord Hasnowt's personal locomotive, but are they worth the future of the gems we currently take for granted? Would, for instance, Hengist recreated be worth a King being sold to Japan to 'pay the bills'?
    With hard times ahead, there are hard choices to be made. Dissipation of the pool available to heritage railways on a multiplicity of railway and locomotive projects will merely spread declining standards ever-more widely. How many current projects are dependant on life-support injections of cash from their supporters? For how long can that support continue? The next decade may well see a dramatic culling of unbusiness-like projects. We need to be careful about adding new projects to that cull.
     
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  3. Well said. The internet has given every frothing loon a platform to air their views, whereas before the mid-1990s most of the chaff would never have got as far as a public airing.

    The internet does have an awful problem with its overwhelming ratio of noise to signal. But, like with the papers, people tend to instinctively believe what they read and don't think twice about the likely source and its credibility.

    Case in point: Anyone heard anything of the BDLPG lately? Is it still 'fighting for preservation' up and down the internet (and in its 'chairman's' (sic) over-zealous imagination? :flypig:
     
  4. class8mikado

    class8mikado Well-Known Member

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    BDLPG? wash your mouth out with soap and water!
    (oh and do rinse well lest yo be mistaken for a frothing loon)
     
  5. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Member

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    I understand your arguments but I feel there are some cultural (in society) and physical differences in the time periods. There was an availability of spares left after steam disappeared and a lot of people who were experienced in steam power who had worked on it and had were interested and joined in. Also there was a large amount of engineering industry left, some of which could be persuaded to lend a hand or take an apprentice job on. Also then, despite being called loons you actually had more or less complete engines to take apart and repair. There is not many steam experienced fitters out there who can help, little engineering industry left and that what is left is either in foreign hands and not sympathetic or living hand to mouth.

    Most engines at Barry were complete and in relatively good condition when they went there. All the missing bits were taken off by fellow preservationists and many have found there way back into circulation. I remember most of the engines that came out of Barry in the early days were stripped, blasted and reassembled once the missing bits were recovered. Repairs for many was to rectify the damage done by the preservationists nicking bits at Barry. Compared to the major re-engineering of many complete but now worn out locos (such as 60103 / 46100) which have swallowed millions despite being complete the Barry rescues were in a different league. S15 847 at Bluebell retained its original flue tubes when it re-entered service (no I am not decrying the efforts of yesterday before anyone suggests I am). In a different league again from the major re-engineering projects is the task to start again and build from scratch. Material specs, meeting with insurers, QA, boiler design, sourcing of suitable materials and competent contractors. The bill for this from the A1ST? This is before paying for the materials, letting contracts for components, assembling a new machine from scratch and hoping all the bits fit.

    I have no doubt that a few will succeed. These I would hazard a guess will be those affiliated to existing major railway workshops or those set-up by credible professionals like A1ST and driven to success. 14 year old Engineering Directors - not a hope.

    As regards the new generation of start up lines that many said shouldn't go ahead. We will see how many are here in 20 years....
     
  6. Coboman

    Coboman New Member

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    I agree with you whole heartedly, and it amazes me that some preservation schemes actually drive volunteers way with their "this is my railway, I wont listen to you now go away" attitude.
     
  7. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Member

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    Personally, I take Spamcan81's view, and it is not up to us to judge what other people want to do with their money just because they won't plough it into the remaining ex-Barry locomotives yet to steam. Generally (and before anyone goes off on a tangent, this is merely what I sense from the situation), the ones that are left are A) not glamourous enough and B) already well-represented. As for those awaiting overhaul, I sense a bit of 'been there, done that, what's the next challenge?', which is a fairly similar problem encountered by heritage railways that have expanded as much as they can. The challenge of running maintenance is by no means as glamourous as starting from nothing.

    Saying that, why not go forth and bring something new to the table? Although I haven't supported it financially (yet), I'm pretty inspired by the Hengist project just because they were rare and regarded as Cinderella locomotives at the time. A lot of the problem there is the fact that they have no single home for assembling the parts already produced, but I'm getting the impression they may be further down the road to at least getting the frames assembled than we think. I think new-builds have been a timely injection of adrenaline into a movement at risk of resting too much on its laurels. It is good that there are some people out there who are thinking 'what next?'

    I am not saying 'to hell' with the ex-Barry locomotive, as I've put some of my hard-earned and increasingly scarce cash into 34053's restoration. However, people will still argue 'why put money into another Bulleid when there is a GWR Prairie of more use to the heritage sector sitting in a siding at railway X?' My answer is that I'm not overly enamoured with GWR locomotives due to personal preference for the Southern, and the Bulleids have proven themselves quite successful on both heritage railways and the mainline. Both the 'Merchant Navy' and 'Battle of Britain' classes are essentially mobile monuments to their respective namesakes, and one of the main reasons why I, and probably countless other enthusiasts, like the Bulleids is the fact that there is more to them than just the locomotive. Once again, it seems it is impossible to please everyone in the heritage sector, even if its your own money.
     
  8. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar New Member

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  9. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    You're moving the goalposts now by asking what will be here in 20 years time. A lot can happen in 20 years and we don't even know what the future holds but even if a loco/railway or whatever isn't operational in 20 years it does not mean that it hasn't been a success to date. I stand by my earlier statement that if the pioneers of railway preservation and those who followed in their footsteps had heeded the doom mongers 30, 40, 50 and more years ago then precious little would have been reopened and restored to working order.
    As for your statement that all the missing bits on Barry wrecks were taken off by fellow preservationists and found their way back into circulation, a bit wide of the mark I'm afraid. Whilst this may be true in some cases, much of the high value non ferrous stuff was taken by the scrap man and melted down.
     
  10. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    How many? Most I would say. If it wasn't for huge amounts of volunteer labour and donations of finances, not many heritage operations would last long. It's been the case since the Talyllyn reopened in 1951 that volunteer labour is a crucial element in the success of the heritage railway movement.
     
  11. irwellsteam

    irwellsteam New Member

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    While we're talking new builds, is there any info on either of the 2 P2 projects?
    I take it the A1 Trust's loco won't be started till the support coach vacates the works? (And of course, the results of the feasibility test)
     
  12. class8mikado

    class8mikado Well-Known Member

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    The other future factor to consider is that what if some well meaning jobsworth in the upper echelons of European elf nsafety declares that a welded patchwork quilt containing some century old bits of metal put together by 'volounteers' cannot constitute a safe pressure vessel end of story and its new boilers or nowt ... if your going to have a new boiler may as well have new everything else.
    In which case the Future mainline motive power fleet wold be entirely 'new build'. So thats an A1, A baby scot, Standard 6 (or maybe 7 under those circumstances) plus whatever else gets enough support to catch them up most likely:
    a Duchess:
    a Castle or King,
    A Merchant Navy or WC/BB.
    An A4.
    and no doubt several sets of frothing loons will want a replica Duke of Gloucester but the arguments over how much enhancement is possible whether to revert back to Walshaerts etc will split that group into 3 duke of Gloucesters...

    (And on the heritage front your choices are Standard 3 or J39).
     
  13. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Put that way makes it sound like reasonable standpoint! :)
     
  14. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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  15. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    The most likely scenario is that main line steam will disappear. Arguably it's in its heyday but as the railway system modernises more and more with electronic signalling systems its going to get harder and harder, and still more expensive, to keep going. Building replacements can't gloss over the fact that steam engines are getting more difficult to fit onto the modern railway. Add to that the fact that the rolling stock they are hauling is getting older and older and using up the residual life that was in it when withdrawn and overhauls on coaches will need to be more comprehensive and expensive. The money has to come from the passengers and fares will have to rise. There must be a limit people are able or prepared to pay.
     
  16. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin New Member

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    how about building a GER decapod ... every handy for lines with a top speed of 25mph
     
  17. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    Can I nominate my 10 year old son as Engineering Director?..
     
  18. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Member

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    But out buster - my cats got the job and Soupy the turtle is communications director!

    I can only offer your lad Finance.
     
  19. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    Finance? Based on his burning desire to spend and Christmas and Birthday money the moment it hits his hand he'd be a natural....
     
  20. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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