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North Yorkshire Moors Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by The Black Hat, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    It's an important observation, but a limited one if the conclusion that follows is that trains need to run full to be justified. As the reaction to sky high walk up fares on the national network shows, it's easy to acquire a reputation for inflexibility and over-charging which, once gained, takes an age to disappear.

    On the current timetable structure, previous days out with the family would simply be unviable - the risk that I might be willing to take of being forced to wait an hour or more after arriving at the station walk is one that others would not contemplate.
     
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  2. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    It may be instructive that both the lines mentioned are relatively long with limited potential for substantial incremental passenger traffic originating at intermediate stations. If the operator prioritises capacity for the "hop on hop off" market then unless standing is accepted there are bound to be seats carrying fresh air for at least part of the journey. The longer the line the greater the lost revenue compared to the cost of running the service. When coal was £130 or so a ton and red diesel relatively cheap that may have been a price worth paying. With coal now being quoted at £600/700 a ton and diesel at sky high prices getting the optimum balance between cost and revenue becomes vital. The new normal is running the trains you can fill for the end to end journey not trying to fill the trains you can run.
     
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  3. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It's not that long ago that Paul Lewin posted a pie chart which showed that fuel costs were a mere 3% of the FR's annual expenditure so, even with todays coal costs, fuel is a relatively small overall cost. Not sure what the relative figures are for the NYMR, though.
    The question of running empty or nearly empty ones is an interesting one. Where the passenger journey is simply out and back on the same train the argument holds water. However, where the traffic flow is out in the morning and back in the afternoon, as is the case on some railways, some services will inevitably run nearly empty unless you have several trains running from A to B in the morning then waiting at B before returning to A in the afternoon, which is poor deployment of resources. NYMR, WSR and TDSR are three railways that fit that scenario. There will be others.
     
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  4. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Aah.....! Wouldn't life be so much easier if only passengers would travel when we wanted them to and not just when they want to:(. They are quite an inconsiderate lot really:)

    Peter
     
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  5. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Fair comment, but rather an eggs in one basket approach to the market.


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  6. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    Coal £700/ton? Really?
     
  7. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    It isn't just a case of avoiding running empty trains, though, is it? If, in the case of the NYMR, it is assumed that the core demand is to Whitby in the mornings and back in the afternoons, with just one train catering for those who don't want to go to Whitby, that almost automatically assumes that the secondary spend outlets are going to lose much of their customers and become unviable for most of the day. For a railway that apparently depends on its employment record to encourage grant awarding bodies to carry on supporting it that must present a dilemma - carry on operating at a loss or close the facilities and lose the jobs. The views of members and supporters have to be factored in, too - most individuals contribute on the grounds that they are supporting the upkeep of the railway rather than providing a job creation scheme for the local population. There's a risk that cutting back train services and focusing on becoming a tourist business will cost support, both physical and financial.
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    This is not just coal. This is M&S coal ...

    Tom
     
  9. Steamie Boxes

    Steamie Boxes Member

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    Does anyone know what locos are in service today, hoping to have a trip later on
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I remember on the Bluebell, pre-Covid, coal was about 5-6% of the annual costs, and I seem to recall seeing that it was actually very similar on a number of other comparable railways.

    There's also a figure floating round in Bluebell circles which, if correct, suggests that electricity is actually comparable to coal costs. I'm not sure why it is so high, but presumably workshops are high users of electricity, plus large numbers of buildings with lights one etc. I wonder how much power the signalling infrastructure - which is highly electrified in nature - uses?

    There will probably also come a time when there is an upward pressure on salaries for paid staff - I think it is already being felt in catering, where there is a national shortage of suitable staff.

    It's easy to focus on coal costs, because they are very visible. Everyone can immediately make the connection between the expensive lorry arriving in the yard and the toiling fireman literally shovelling that commodity onto a fire. But the risk is that most costs on a railway are fixed, so shrinking your way out of them is not necessarily sound finance, beyond the short term. The risk in cutting services is that if it dissuades even a few percent of travellers, you just end up with less income to cover costs which are basically fixed; and that the reduction coal bill has actually had a very small impact on the railway's overall costs.

    Tom
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed. My will has NYMR in a set of tail end Charlie legacies, once important people like the family are dealt with. Take it too far down a road I’m uncomfortable with, and that may change in favour of other organisations.


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  12. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    This is spot on. One thing I would add, coal can be seen as a “speculative” cost eg you throw it in the fire, if the train is full then you make a good return, if you run an empty train then it is literally money up the chimney for no gain. As the FR video noted recently, “if we run empty trains, more fool us…”

    regards

    Matt
     
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  13. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    And accepting the truth of that, speculation can allow more income at relatively low marginal cost.
     
  14. D7076

    D7076 Well-Known Member

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    I thought the NYMR machine was trying to trying to brainwash their potential passengers into thinking that way .Whitby is ok for x hours whether it’s pouring down or 90 degrees ,no need for any other length of stay .
     
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  15. D7076

    D7076 Well-Known Member

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    Time to close Levisham ,Newtondale ,Goathland and Grosmont stations then .Just brainwash all customers into going to Whitby for three hours ..
     
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  16. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    It's not a case of brainwashing. The vast majority of our passengers want to go to Whitby. We can extol the delights of our intermediate stations, and their local attractions, but we must provide what our customers are willing to pay for, not what we think they ought to want.
     
  17. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    But if you are not an enthusiast what is the attraction of those places other than Goathland really to anyone other than walkers? Grosmont may have a couple of pubs and the shed as a general interest for a while, but not really a destination to the general public.
    It is say the same as Harmans Cross here in Swanage, except that serves a number of camp and caravan sites and hence in peak times generates a lot of traffic.
    I have stayed in the pub at Levisham, but one could hardly call it convenient for the railway, or the railway convenient for the village.
     
  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    It’s walkers that are precisely who I’m concerned are being squeezed out.


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  19. Musket The Dog

    Musket The Dog New Member

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    The NYMR is possibly one of the best positioned railways to take advantage of walkers, but realistically is the overlap of the walker/heritage railway passenger Venn diagram large enough to justify altering any timetable to serve them specifically? It's cynical, but is the business case there to encourage people to take up seats from the popular starting points only making part of a journey in one direction?
     
  20. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Must admit I have never been that regularly and not for a few years now, but whilst there were walkers numbers were not that high during my visits. I have avoided school holidays, but I suspect walking may not be too high on many children's holiday list.
    Of course not just a NYMR issue, there has been many a debate on the WSR thread about intermediate stations, which of course are needed if you want to be able to pass trains without leaving all your passengers sitting in a loop most of the time (railtours excluded of course:)). Even Horsted Keynes which is a lovely station is a hike from the village it serves.
    I do not think anyone would suggest closing what is there on any HR line, but would if you were reopening a line now in 2022 bother restoring stations arguably in the middle of nowhere. It is a conundrum as finances become ever tighter and volunteers fewer.
     

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