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RTC Coast to Coast 5/7/14

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by neildimmer, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, 'bashing' any organisation is always risky - inadvisable even - unless you are confident that you have to hand every piece of critical information that is relevant. My guess is that the people who would usually know are the TOCs - so in this case, WCR - and the silence from them on the matter that is getting everyone agitated speaks much louder than words.
     
  2. J Shuttleworth

    J Shuttleworth Well-Known Member

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    My responsibility is to inform our customer, in this case, RTC, which I did, as soon as the problem became apparent. However, I will explain briefly:

    Although this initally would probably have been a (straightforward) Liverpool - Manchester - Scarboro', following early engineering checks, which showed the Chat Moss line blocked for on-going electrification, the only route available was as advertised, ie. via Runcorn and the Mid-Cheshire - not in itself entirely unattractive. Timings were made available, some 10 days ago, and, as unforeseen consequence of the Tour de France 'extras', (which have bidding priority), together with limited platform availability at Lime St, what may be described as a 'sub-optimal' path was offered, subject to gauge restrictions being confirmed/received.

    However, when gauging notice was received, at the beginning of this week, it showed 'prohibits' at Runcorn, which effectively scuppered the job, there & then, as despite best efforts, in conjunction with the planners, to look for alternatives, no other workable route was available. The train has been re-dated to August, when there won't be any Tour de Frances and Chat Moss will be open, although it will still run via Mid-Cheshire.

    It is indeed unfortunate that a number of trains have been cancelled/altered recently - hence the usual NP hue & cry, sadly, often from those least equiped to criticise. However, despite these protestations, the territory hasn't changed much, in terms of process, even from BR days. A promoter thinks of an idea and tries to sell it, hoping, in the intervening period, those charged with planning it, will turn it into some semblance of reality. That the majority do work, 46 years after the end of steam, is no mean feat, not least because of the explosion of route varieties requested and the ever-increasing pressure for more trains on the network from the TOCs.

    I'll leave it with you all, as to the wisdom of consulting m'learned friends.....

    JS
     
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  3. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Thanks again for you input James, maybe, just maybe, those least equipped to criticise will begin to get the picture.
    In my view repeatedly slagging off NR will get us nowhere, except perhaps to make enemies.
     
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  4. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    The problem here, and the reason for a significant amount of resentment against NR, is not that they sometimes (often?) inform a TOC that trip T can't run as proposed and advertised by the promoter, but WHEN they say it. Some issues, such as the unavailability of planned loco L necessitating substitution of loco X, or the risk of lineside fires, can arise just before the trip or even on the day. But aspects such as whether locomotive L is in gauge for route R, and whether that route will be open as normal or not, should be knowable months ahead.

    It's reasonable for the various promoters' terms & conditions to say that they can't guarantee that trips will run as advertised, or at all, because there are sometimes circumstances beyond their control. But when NR seem to throw a spanner into the works only days before a trip, forcing the promoter to choose between running something far different from what has been advertised or cancelling, they should have some responsibility either to come up with a very convincing story or to compensate those who are adversely affected, notably passengers who have booked non-changeable connecting trains and/or hotels.
     
  5. Desert Songster

    Desert Songster New Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    James S's timely posting a few up from here has prompted a number of measured, balanced and in my view, correct observations about the current situation. The past 24 hours or so have just brought together a number of factors - loco availability, gauging, information provided by the tour operators - that have been individual hiccups for quite a long time but when they all happen at once it really does make everyone come across as a pretty amateur bunch. Interestingly it's WCR that comes out best as the beleaguered TOC just trying to make something out of a tricky situation.

    You would have thought that there must be a better way of doing things but I've no idea what it might be. If we forget the aside about a tour operator setting out a proposal, possibly even advertising it and then getting the TOC to try and make sense of it, many issues do seem to track back (sorry about pun) to Network Rail and the 'won't work' element comes far too late in the day to rescue things. Surely that is wrong?

    I just can't believe that NR is blind to all this and the impact that their decisions have on others but we never get any sense of what they feel about it. I'm sure there are folk at NR who care.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
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  7. alastair

    alastair Member

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    Agreed,indeed you would think it would be in NR's own interest to sort out the present chaotic situation which must involve them in time-consuming and complex re-working of schedules which is ultimately a waste of time when the trip has to be cancelled. Is it just that charters and steam are just too minor an issue for anyone at NR to be that bothered about,or are they just hoping that the charter TOC's will just give up in despair as this situation continues? As you say,WCR does come out of this well,and after all,as charters are almost their sole business,no-one has more to lose than them from the current mess.
     
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  8. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    As an enthusiast,and member of the public, I understand that things do not usually go right, but the main concern is that things like this will drive passengers away and its one thing that will destroy mainline steam trips in time if it is not corrected to stop this happening.
    Public is the people who keep tour operators,locos running ect, and without them this will be kept to heritage lines, but really something needs to addressed with, as am sure a few letters to MPs relating to this matter may get some answers, perhaps getting support off a certain Mr Portillo in this.
     
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  9. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    My comment was aimed at those who know they are not qualified, and since I did not mention any names, if the cap fits etc...
    FYI, in the past I also worked on a support crew, and now am a regular steward who therefore gets to talk to many passengers during the course of each tour, and also to the West Coast and DRS crews, so know what goes on there, oh and yes sometimes paying passenger as well.
     
  10. Desert Songster

    Desert Songster New Member

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    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
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  11. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Better equipped to critise means just that, I do not know who might be and who might not be, but there are those who without knowing the way things work, seem to assume that they know better than those actually involved in the charter business in one form or another.
     
  12. neildimmer

    neildimmer Member

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    Approximate times have changed on RTC WEBSITE hopfully actual timings somewhere similar when they are announced

    Liverpool Lime Street 06:35 22:08
    Runcorn 07:16 21:40
    Northwich 07:45 20:59
    Altrincham 08:13 20:24
    Stockport 08:34 20:02
    York 12:03 17:28
    Scarborough 12:57 16:05
     
  13. Mike Delamar

    Mike Delamar New Member

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    Better times, although its still advertised as 60009.
     
  14. neildimmer

    neildimmer Member

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  15. neildimmer

    neildimmer Member

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  16. Mike Delamar

    Mike Delamar New Member

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    We've cancelled and got a refund.
     
  17. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    This is going to get worse for operators, as people are inconvenienced by cancellations and changes to the trip, as I once said people have not the flexibility to keep changing days off at work.
    I was booked on trips only to be told its cancelled, so better to keep my money that take days off at work for it to be cancelled again.
     
  18. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    What other options do the operators have?
     
  19. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    Ralph all am trying to say is that these tours need people to go on them, but if they keep changing dates ect then people will eventually stop going on them.
    Perhaps could be an idea if this is going to happen to change to certain months where it would be still in season but the chances of it cancelled are slim.
    But from a personal note, I see that these tours need people on them to run, but when people pay out a lot of money, take a day off work to go on them, then the kids get excited, only for it to be cancelled, then it may be that mainline steam will one day stop.
    I understand that operators have no control over the weather, but surely something can be agreed with Network rail over planned repairs,gauging of lines ect.
     
  20. neildimmer

    neildimmer Member

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    according to info seen on other groups gauging problem with track under a footbridge at Mosley, track has moved slightly in one direction causing limited clearance, only locos allowed Jubilee/Black 5
    if FBU & steam ban end in time maybe a Black 5/Jubilee double header could do the honors with the Coast to Coast on the 13th Sep
     

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