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.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by GWR4707, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,765
    Likes Received:
    2,166
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I haven't been to Ravenglass since there were still COVID restrictions in place, so I can't absolutely confirm where you can buy guidebooks, etc., but they are normally on sale.
    The R&ER is quite remote but sustained by tourists, being in a tourist area. So naturally what's prominent is aimed at that market.
    In terms of development, there are new carriages, the main stations have been refurbished recently, three of the main locos have been rebuilt lately, there's a relatively new rebuild of a historic loco associated with the line, the museum has expanded and goes from strength to strength, a length of the line was washed out in a landslip only a couple of seasons ago and rebuilt, and not long before the workshop was burned down and had to be replaced (one engine was almost destroyed), meanwhile the camping coaches were restored, etc.
    So it's been a busy few years with lots happening. Right now like lots of railways it's a struggle to keep running, with escalating costs, fewer volunteers, more price sensitive visitors, etc.
    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "development" - certainly no extensions are planned, no new locos are under construction, no major station rebuilds underway. I'm not sure what you're looking for?
    The Ratty continues to delight young and old steaming up into the Cumbrian fells through delightful scenery on historic trains (even the newest locos are nearly/over a half century old).
    These days in preservation keeping going is not standing still!

    Sent from my Pixel 7 using Tapatalk
     
  2. jon5051

    jon5051 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Bucks
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I must say I had a similar experience last year. I had prebooked a ticket, and added the guidebook option. Upon arrival at Ravenglass I presented my booking - the lady on the counter knew nothing about guidebooks and eventually managed to find someone who could find, in his own words, “the last one we have” stashed away upstairs somewhere! I found it a bit odd to have the option on the website and then have people who knew nothing about it - maybe a sign that many people don’t want a guidebook though.

    I did enjoy my visit though, despite dismal weather!
     
    Wilmslow1957 likes this.
  3. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    3,597
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I broadly agree with the posts that have followed my last one, but the overall impression is that of a project that has more or less reached maturity and stasis, to the point where it is more or less self supporting - does it need enthusiast support any longer? Has it reached a similar state to the Torbay & Dartmouth? As for development plans - well if there aren't any why not say somewhere the the ongoing aim is to keep the line just as it is?

    As for guide books and the like, I still have, and periodically enjoy re-reading, the soft-cover publications featuring the photos taken by Mary C. Fair and recollections of various people from down the years - I'm surprised that these, or updated versions, aren't still available - cheap to produce and I'd have thought that they'd sell well.
     
  4. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    26,311
    Likes Received:
    25,067
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I’ve not visited Ravenglass in far too long, so my comments aren’t borne of recent experience. However, I’m not sure that a “complete” railway need ever lose the need for enthusiast support. I can think of others that are also complete (Romney, Keighley, & Tywyn all come to mind) which are still demonstrably enthusiast centred despite being “complete”. If anything, I’d suggest criticisms of the Torbay and Dartmouth and some others are that they’ve lost too much in becoming business oriented.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    andrewshimmin likes this.
  5. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,640
    Likes Received:
    1,935
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    This thread just shows some of the fickle nature of railway enthusiasts and their occasional visits to heritage railways.

    Why must a railway have to extend to maintain its interest? Why would a heritage railway that has already reached its viable operating length suddenly lose all enthusiast interest?

    If the railway continues to preserve and operate a good collection of rolling stock and provides volunteering opportunities for dozens of people, what more does it really need to do?
     
  6. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    3,597
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Calm down, and please don't over-interpret what I have posted! I didn't say anything about extending (although there were plans for a branch line to Muncaster Castle many years ago - and I believe that the first iteration of the "Northern Rock" design was to serve that) and I don't believe that it would be sensible or viable. There are, however, other possible developments - battery electric or additional diesel-hybrid locos? - that might be possible. Virtually all tourist attractions need to keep developing, if only in the shape of their associated "sideshows" if they are to remain fresh and attractive to the non-enthusiast public, and also to retain the interest of their enthusiast supporters. To my mind, stagnation is the real enemy but it is hard to see how a well-rounded and complete attraction can avoid that. If it can, then there may be valuable lessons to be learned by other, similar, organisations.
     
  7. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,765
    Likes Received:
    2,166
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Investigations are underway on alternative traction to replace or supplement the diesel fleet.

    I suspect few people want hard copy guidebooks now but I'm surprised that they aren't available - on my visits there have always been a range of leaflets and booklets including Walks from the Ratty.

    Volunteering is still very important to the Ratty, with close to 2000 days of volunteering effort in the 2022-3 season (according to the June 2023 R&ER magazine), especially guards but also drivers, pway, stations, engineering, museum, etc. It was more before COVID but is going back up.

    There is more than ever to see and do at Ravenglass in particular, the museum is going from strength to strength.

    If there are other (feasible!) developments which you think would add interest I'm sure we'd be happy to here them.

    Sent from my Pixel 7 using Tapatalk
     
  8. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    3,597
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I really don't see why its up to me to specify what developments I would like to see! What I'm interested in is what the railway and its management have in mind. For guidebooks, possibly many people nowadays would look on their phone for that sort of info but there's little or nothing on the website, so its not a viable alternative as it stands.
     
  9. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,640
    Likes Received:
    1,935
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    To get a decent hard-copy printed for a reasonable price which visitors would pay, they'd need to print thousands, and it's hard to justify this cost when so few visitors actually want them.

    As for an online version, why don't you suggest it to the railway directly?
     
    Chris86, Paul42 and andrewshimmin like this.
  10. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,765
    Likes Received:
    2,166
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Yes that was my guess. So if the old ones have all gone, it might not be worth getting new ones.
    Mind you, other railways do it. I saw them at the WLLR a couple of weeks ago.
    But it wasn't my suggestion, I was trying to help the person who'd raised it originally.
    I'm an RERPS member and think the railways an absolute gem as it is
    But I will mention it.

    Sent from my Pixel 7 using Tapatalk
     
    Goldie likes this.
  11. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    935
    Likes Received:
    357
    Occupation:
    Restoration of heritage items, mainly in timber.
    Location:
    Haltwhistle
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I'm overdue a visit to L'aal Ratty ...

    I had a little something [in 3ft gauge] to do with the Museum re-birth, so I would like to see how that's developing now it's been open for a while.

    I wonder what the ratty's "new for this year / next year" will be ?
    Apart from the new carriages project, that is.
    As always, adequate finance is always a barrier ...
    Playing catch-up with covid-deferred work, perhaps ?

    The RERPS will have their own plans & potential developments to think about ...
    including future work on "Douglas Ferreira"
     
  12. 47406

    47406 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    86
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Operations Manager
    Location:
    County Durham
    Dare we ask if 2024 might see the railway return to the normal operations of 2019? Or is is now set in concrete that you will only be allowed a single round trip and then have to leave like 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023..................

    The day rovers are sadly missed as it is not a viable place to visit for a single trip.

    Here's hoping!

    A former regular visitor 2007-2019 (4 times a year - each being 0900-1800, with at least 3 round trips, plus plenty spend on food & drink)
     
  13. Steamie Boxes

    Steamie Boxes Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2017
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    637
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Enginner at NYMR
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As the last couple years I do believe, but could be wrong
     
  14. 47406

    47406 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    86
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Operations Manager
    Location:
    County Durham
    Sadly not folks, the railway confirms that for 2024 it will be as 2020, round trips only, seats must be booked for each journey.

    So that will remain on the do not visit list.
     
    bantamd14 and Ben Jenden like this.
  15. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2019
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    704
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Croydon
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I agree. Can't stand the Covid-style operations
     
    47406 and bantamd14 like this.
  16. bantamd14

    bantamd14 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    91
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Stafford
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I suppose if they can fill the trains that way then fair enough, but like above, it is not for me either.
    It is not my way of enjoying a heritage railway and a long journey is involved to get there.
    Another year, perhaps?
     
    MattA likes this.
  17. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2015
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    500
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Agree - but of course we enthusiasts are not core business, are we? Reminds me of last time I visited the Leighton Buzzard - it was a Gala, and even for that every train had to be paid for separately (there was no day rover option, and although a second trip was discounted, it still seemed a bit mean), which hardly encourages a long visit, with all the associated add-ons of extra shop and cafe spend.
    I am sure that both organisations know their own customer-base, though.....
    James
     
    MattA likes this.
  18. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    3,693
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Occupation:
    Print Estimator/ Repository of Useless Informatio.
    Location:
    Bingley W.Yorks.
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Should be possible to book separate 1 way outward and return journeys, even at a premium , unless their booking software just cant handle that...
     
    47406 likes this.
  19. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    8,095
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Leighton Buzzard is more down to capacity than anything else I believe. They've only got two sets of stock and one passing loop, so they're limited in how many passengers they can carry. Still not ideal though for galas.
     
    MattA likes this.
  20. meeee

    meeee Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Messages:
    868
    Likes Received:
    1,343
    Last time I went I couldn't believe the amount of admin and staff involved in just selling tickets and getting people on to trains. There were more people with clipboards than there were passengers. I'm of the view that you should make it easy for people to buy your product not difficult. I'm surprised there isn't an effort to reintroduce traffic from Fisherground at the very least.
     
    47406 likes this.

Share This Page