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RTC 2022

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by 1020 Shireman, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. Steamage

    Steamage Part of the furniture

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    If that's the case, then ... perhaps. However, the extra cost of arranging an alternative loco at such short notice, especially if it has to come from Carnforth tomorrow, may be as much as, if not more than, the saving of running diesel vs. steam.

    Many tours are marginal on profitability in present circumstances. Perhaps we shouldn't begrudge RTC and/or WCRC a small windfall? It might help offset the loss from other tours where refunds are required... We're not talking about oil company-sized profits here ;-)
     
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  2. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    With absolutely no accurate knowledge or information can I mention the elephant in the room?

    I am prepared to bet that most tour operators - RTC, UKRT etc - are in a 'hand to mouth' situation with reduced bookings on many trips post COVID especially with escalated prices. (Did nobody nothing that, for example the CME has jumped from around £75 not long ago to £115?) It's possible that 'all in one' set-ups like LSL/Saphos and Vintage are better placed but again, even they may be struggling especially Vintage that doesn't have someone in the background with a cheque book.

    My guess is that the decision by the RTC was not taken lightly but probably will kick the finances along a bit. And in this case at least there is a proper steam leg at the destination.

    And then there will be people like me who scaled back considerably on the trips I book for reasons rehearsed ad nauseam already. Others have different concerns but it's all money that operators are not getting.

    So don't bite the hand that feeds you.
     
  3. banana patch

    banana patch New Member

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    Agreed and I'm booked on trip Saturday but mostly for West Somerset which is hopefully still steam .As for extra loco saw D.C.E.this morning top and tailed with 47s so no problem with locos Saturday
     
  4. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    every year we get this , fire risk, show pony or total diesel . Every year the same moans , same arguments , i want to cancel at the last minute but i can't . loco owners are steaming fees down. 45596 for example must have lost around £50k of workings

    the tours running keep people in work , tens of thousands of pounds with catering probably paid for , track access charges paid . Small companies cannot afford to cancel trips at the last minute . Do that too often and you won't have any tours to travel on full stop. I know its a pain but some sympathy given the temperatures this week
     
  5. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Couldn’t have put that better Martin
     
  6. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    Yes Al. It’s been going downhill for years and will continue to do so. I still haven’t had a main line steam trip this year for various reasons but mainly because the choice of pure steam is now so limited. Ok so I am in the minority but soon I won’t bother at all. That means the end of my column but I have other interests which involve far less hassle.
     
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  7. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The last few posts are all fair. I did say in #176 that there's no right answer. But still, if I had booked a seat on this trip, even a small refund would make me more positively disposed towards RTC and more likely to book again.

    I agree that a fixed "closed" season wouldn't make sense in Britain because our weather is so unpredictable, but I'm not sure I'd call that "lucky". Although there is always a possibility of not getting the expected loco, for one reason or another, the risk is greater in the summer. Depending how much that bothers us, we can be selective about which trips we take a chance on.

    I've only had three railtours so far this year, and one of those was diesel hauled by intention (though with a steam ride on the Bure Valley). My next one would have been one of Tornado's Aberdonians in August, which have been cancelled, and my next one after that is diesel again.
     
  8. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Part of the furniture Friend

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    Bit ironic. Had some rain overnight with possibilities of thunderstorms in South Wales and the West Country today. Doesn't look like going back to wall to wall sunshine with temperatures above normal for a couple of weeks. But who really knows what the weather will do. Bit more hope the Duchy on the 30th will be proper steam.
     
  9. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    But there are ways to offer value to customers that may benefit the operator - a voucher for a discount off a future booking, for example, might help assuage customers' feelings without costing hard cash, especially if it is timebound and can (for the operator) pull bookings forward. The question, though, comes back to booking T&Cs (recent weather and NR decisions would certainly seem pretty compelling special circumstances) and the actual overall customer reaction to these decisions - what response to make will ultimately be a commercial decision for the tour promoter.
     
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  10. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    We've had about 4 hours of decent rain in Hertfordshire over the last couple of days, but you wouldn't know it. The flower beds in the back garden are a bit damp in places, but the lawn is still yellow. The ground is so dry the lawn has dropped by a couple of inches in places! It's going to need a lot of rain over the next couple of weeks, but there's virtually nothing forecast in the next couple of weeks, and with temperatures in the mid-20s. I'd be very surprised to see any mainline steam in the next month.
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Less than that here in Grantham - and my wife is getting worried about the impact on the apple trees.
     
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  12. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    None at all here in Locks Heath but radar shows rain approaching. Just 2 mm so far in July after a dry Spring and June.
     
  13. iancawthorne

    iancawthorne Well-Known Member

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    There looks to be a not significant, but reasonable amount of rain in the forecast over the next five days for Cumbria, so mainline steam in the Northern Fells may stand an outside chance of a return this Summer.

    I don't think it's been as dry for a prolonged period like elsewhere in the country up here. The lawn is still green and it can't have been more than a fortnight ago we were having heavy downpours for days.
     
  14. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    I think up north things look more promising, but at the moment I have written off both the DCE and the Swanage Belle in September for steam as I see little in the way of significant rain down south to allow steam to operate anytime soon. Very surprised that the email that @1020 Shireman posted yesterday which seemed to imply there were areas within NR that were happy for steam to operate even this weekend.
    Not only are the tour companies between a rock and a hard place but so are we. No tours mean no income so very quickly no tour companies (unless you have someone with very deep pockets). We all know you can not suddenly say for example, that the Kent tour will turn into steam from say Crewe to somewhere, because now it is too late to get it all organised. Maybe something like a couple of CME's can be added if things open up in a wetter north as it is in the WTT so the paths are there, but it is a weekend trip and a lot of the southern ones are in the week.
    Could be a difficult few weeks ahead.
     
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  15. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I wonder if a business model which seems to rely on July and August as peak months is robust. I'd have said April, May, June and September are the best bet months for main line steam.

    Reopen the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith! The north-west of England is in the best shape this year.
     
  16. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Doesn't that depend on who your customers are, and when they're prone to buy tickets?
     
  17. Steamage

    Steamage Part of the furniture

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    I think tour companies are reducing their dependence on the school summer holiday period. In the 2000s & 2010s I holidayed in the north-west in July/Aug several times and videoed or rode on mainline steam tours 5 days or more out of 9 or 10. I don't think there's a week in July or August this year with that much choice, even if everything planned were able to go ahead unchanged. Many of the target passengers have no particular reason to travel during school hols and quite likely prefer to avoid them - accommodation and everything else is more expensive.
     
  18. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    It strikes me that July and August are the months to promote seaside trips - Scarborough, Bournemouth, Llandudno etc that should have a family appeal.

    What doesn't happen, and people will correct me if I am wrong, is that operators do not sell tables as a family package - equivalent to say two adults plus two children - and set a price that is lower than the total of the individual rates.

    Of course that is a business decision as filling a train at adult prices generates more income than with a mix of adult and child prices. But if you look at other attractions there is always a discount for a family group.

    Just a thought but it's not my business! :)
     
  19. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    It must be a very laborious journey aboard the diesel hauled 'West Somerset Steam Express' this morning. The train departed Reading at 08:14 and later departed Newbury at 09:48.

    It's obviously not the fault of the operator but I make that 94 mins to cover 17 miles. <BJ>
     
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  20. Alexbrown123

    Alexbrown123 New Member

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    The diesel was doing the same speed for the steam which was 60mph but topped up 91mph at one point after Newbury now over 30 mins early after bypassing frome
     

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