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Project Wareham

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by David R, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    The long term demand for leisure travel (visiting steam railways, castle, seaside, cycling, hiking etc) not using cars will be there, I notice radio and TV ads from SWR promoting travel.

    If in 2023 they could promote joint "flexable" tickets with the SR, it might just work?
     
  2. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    Just as a matter of interest. Where did you obtain your "Swanning around" information from?
     
  3. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Latest issue
    https://www.srstaff.co.uk/

    Swanning Around not password controlled of course.
     
  4. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    OOOPS. Google is your friend apparently! Before somebody reminds me. Must admit I was not aware that it was public knowledge!
     
  5. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Sometimes, real world economics just suck! :(
     
  6. Sim

    Sim Member

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    Yes, Andy, everything in Swanning Around is public domain. It's a Swanage Railway Trust electronic external publication which not only appears on Swanage Railway web sites, but is also distributed to many folks email addresses outside the railway, including Gladiator.
    Don't read too much into the insurance issue, it's not the only consideration, as the press release tells. The insurance has been mentioned internally, and was used in Swanning Around to make it clear that it is not just certification, track access, training, etc.,etc., that management has to consider, when we are in a post-Covid-esque financial position. Who would take that risk?
     
  7. 80104

    80104 Member

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    By my reckoning that arithmetic understates the true position.

    The £60K is the additional premium for running on the mainline where the required cover level is much higher IIRC £155M but this may have changed.

    In 2017 SRC declared 13000 Wareham passengers on the trial service of 60 days = 217 per day rounded up.

    If the 2023 trial operates for 90 days then a passenger figure of 19,530 is a reasonable estimate.(217 X 90)

    The additional premium of £60K divided by the 19,530 passengers = £3.07 per passenger.

    This means that the Swanage <> Wareham fare has to be greater than the Swanage <> Corfe Castle / Norden fare by £3.07 just to cover the increased insurance costs (let alone any other direct costs such as diesel, station access charges, mainline access charges).

    I have previously posted about breaking down passengers into two types: new passengers who ONLY travel on SRC because it serves Wareham, existing passengers who would have travelled to / from Norden (or anywhere else on the line between Swanage and Norden) but now take the train to / from Wareham because they can. All the new passenger revenue is new revenue but the existing passenger revenue has to be apportioned between what SRC would have got if the passenger travels on the existing line between Swanage and Norden and what they now get because the passengers has travelled to / from Wareham. In other words only the difference in fare is new revenue and attributable to the Wareham service.

    Imho the additional costs of running to / from Wareham can not be covered by the additional revenues generated. The questions what will be the size of the shortfall and who is prepared to make good that shortfall?
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Quite - I was working out the best case on reasonable assumptions but without knowing passenger numbers. In practice, it would be much worse, as you show.

    Tom
     
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  9. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    A four car set with 100 passengers is loading to less than half capacity. Thus, there is scope for considerably more passengers. Whether that happens, is a different matter but the business case may be based on higher loadings.
     
  10. Happisburgh_Light

    Happisburgh_Light New Member

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    I've spent lots of time in Swanage over many years and still have many friends there, some associated with the railway, so the recent news is deeply disappointing.

    A couple of things spring to mind. Perhaps the Wareham service is becoming uninsurable? Perhaps also the 90 days was optimistic?

    You'd imagine four days a week, for 10 weeks (6 weeks school holiday plus 2 weeks either side) would give a 40-day, cheaper to insure, less risky option?
     
  11. 80104

    80104 Member

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    The agreement with the then Dorset County Council was for Year 1 Trial 60 Days, Year 2 Trial 90 Days. The concern expressed is that the extra 30 days being "off peak" would have on average lower loadings than the 60 day trial which included all of the peak season.

    As regards loads when the 60 day trial was run the two busy trains were the first down (from Wareham) and the last up (to Wareham). The two balancing legs and the two middle of the day round trips were lightly loaded.

    Swanage is very much a day trip day out hence this loading pattern.

    The conundrum is that the trial has to be run (a) because that was agreed with the then Dorset County Council and (b) to provide a real data set for analysis.

    BUT on the other hand (a) based on the loads / revenues predicted from the year 1 trial experience and (b) a greater understanding / certainty of costs there is a high probability that year 2 would run at a substantial loss.

    So can SRC go back to D(C)C and ask either for the agreement to be rescinded (or modified) or for some underwriting of the likely costs? I do not know but I fear that SRC is financially damaged if they do (run the trial) and reputationally damaged if they dont (run the trial). Either way SRC could be the real losers.

    I do not wish to be so pessimistic but when data such as the £60K additional insurance premium is made public (alongside the previously declared loss of 2017) , it really does highlight the financial challenge the Wareham service presents.

    Running the Wareham service could be a pyrrhic victory for the railway in fulfilling the promise it made so long ago in what was very much a different era to the people of the Isle of Purbeck.
     
  12. Jupiter

    Jupiter New Member

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    It may depend on what form the original “contract” was in, but absolutely it would be right, and sensible, for both parties to return for discussions to modify the terms of the contract, or agreement. Clearly we’re in a very different trading situation now.
     
  13. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Does Swannage have to provide the service themselves? Could they contract it out? If they leased the unit to an existing NR operator, the additional risk taken on by that operator would be small and represent a small increase to their premium, which may (even allowing for their overhead and profit) be cheaper.
     
  14. 80104

    80104 Member

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    An external operator could not operate it more cheaply or be prepared to take on any revenue risk.
     
  15. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Agreed. Yes we may be in a very different trading situation now but the results of the 2017 trial (C13,000 passengers and a £70K loss) were driven by the trading conditions of that time albeit influenced by the need to hire in suitable rolling stock. As I alluded to above from an SRC perspective either the losses are underwritten by DC or the operation of the service is abandoned for the forseeable future.

    If DC insists the service is run as per the 2014 agreement(but are not prepared to underwrite losses) perhaps the members of the SRT should be asked to donate C£30 each plus recoverable gift aid so that this "millstone" can be removed from around SRT / SRC.
     
  16. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    During the Year 1 Trial guess West Coast Railways own TOC insurance provided the cover required for running on the Wareham mainline?
    SWR would benefit from increased day trip lesiure use in 2023 even if SR just ran 2 Wareham to Corfe DMU shuttles a day, if advertised well (which is why I mentioned the TV ads).
    Will just having 2 trains a day reduce the insurance cost?
     
  17. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Only the insurance brokers / underwriters could answer that but yes typically lower risk means lower premiums but even if the premium was reduced by 1/3rd or a 1/2 the predicted financial outcome is not good.

    Will there be increased leisure travel in 2023 - who knows but I am pessimistic. Why? because predictions of boom staycation years have rarely been born out in reality* the irony being that 2021 because of COVID effectively preventing overseas travel was a year of high domestic demand.

    * for example the 2012 Olympics year when it was forecast that Weymouth (and most of Dorset) would be packed out because of the sailing events but it was like a ghost town.
     
  18. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Contract out to whom?
    Unless Swanage then was awarded some form of maintenance contract, no doubt with serious penalties for non supply of a suitable unit, another operator is going to have to maintain the units, train and certify crews or operate the service with some form of other stock. That would then sort of negate the grant money awarded for the DMU's.
     
  19. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Slight thread drift but my new copy of London Railway Record arrived yesterday with an image of the new footbridge at Southall.
    And the Wareham residents thought the NR proposal was too large, perhaps they would prefer something like this!
    I managed to find some images on Ian's site, bridge runs along the top of the up relief platform canopy.
    https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/article...s-new-ticket-hall-and-step-free-access-46881/
     
  20. LC2

    LC2 Member

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    If you'd used the old Southall Station entrance in the past 10 years or so, you would be more than happy with the new one.
    Run down would have been a polite way of describing it.

    Now I would like to bemoan the loss of the old footbridge that used to exist at the London end of the station (iirc it went across towards the depot).
     

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