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Saphos Trains 2018

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by gwr4090, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Quite possibly they may have decided to "lock" the toplights in the Mk1 's so they align with the rest of the stock. No knowledge, just a guess on my part, but I think the Spa Valley may have had to do that when they extended to Eridge beside the NR track. Not sure it is a long time since I visited now.
     
  2. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    And, just too bad if you are a hungry vegan train timer with a penchant for distressed jeans, I guess !! Even if you are prepared to give up on the possibility that a half-way decent soundtrack might somehow penetrate the interior of the "coffin" if you happen to be back in Coach J.

    The one thing that I'm slightly unclear about is that I'm reading the T's & C's, I'm reading Para 1 (vi) and it says "Special seating requests are welcome and we will endeavour, where possible, to meet the requirements specified". So has the "polite but firm" style of customer relations that proclaims the "single booking = aisle seat" policy for seat allocations been hurriedly withdrawn today? Or have I missed another clause buried somewhere else in the T's & C's that reaffirms this policy?
    Or is the anecdote that Big Al has given us today really an insight into what their best "endeavours" are likely to be for special seating requests?

    Taken all round, I'm not sure - not fully convinced - about whether FutureSteamWorld Saphos-style is a place where I would really want to be for my main line steam "fix". Not yet, anyway. My current feeling is that the incentive of half price fares are of zero interest to me if what they involve means a sterile journey experience that might be difficult to time and would probably be devoid of acoustics. Especially in a year when the main line tour programmes for A1SLT and MNLPS just seem to get better and better.

    But at the back of my mind, I'm thinking about the significant LSL arsenal of 8P power that Saphos may be able to draw on in the years to come as the overhaul programme gets progressively fulfilled. So as we progress through 2018, I shall be digesting with great interest the feedback of those who do choose to sample the Saphos experience. Despite the foregoing comments, I do hope that it all succeeds for Saphos - and I hope that in doing so, a slightly stubborn personal resistance to the constraints that Saphos presents will soften as it proves its true worth as a main line steam operator.
     
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  3. Groks212

    Groks212 Member

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    The "single booking = aisle seat" condition appears in the actual tour description which states : "Reserved seating is arranged around a table of four with bookings for two persons seated side by side with one window and one aisle seat whilst bookings for one person are allocated an aisle seat"

    Strangely it only says that in the Standard class description so maybe you can ask for a window seat in First and Premier dining.

    Dave B
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  4. alastair

    alastair Well-Known Member

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    This doesnt make any sense in standard really, as who is going to sit in the window seat (next to the single person in the aisle seat) other than another single person? Therefore, surely at least 50% of single person bookings will get a window seat, assuming that the train is fully booked? Seems very odd that Saphos did'nt think of that before writing that statement.
     
  5. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Will be interesting to see how it works in reality. From my experience as an RTC steward, bookings of a party of 3 are very much in the minority. I would say 2's, 1's, 4's and 3's is the order in standard, although higher propensity to 4's in First and Dining. So will the aisles be given to early single bookers and late bookers get a window to balance out the 2's? Or will they adopt the airline money making tactic of paying a premium for a perceived better (i.e. window) seat?
     
  6. D1059

    D1059 Member

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    Not if they seat a 'couple' opposite each other in the 2 window seats
     
  7. alastair

    alastair Well-Known Member

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    Well yes, but they also state that couples will be allocated 2 seats side by side aisle and window.

    So unless there are a lot of parties of 3(probably not that many) a substantial proportion of single bookings will be given a window seat?
     
  8. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    But wasn't Big Al's original point that ringing up and asking for a window seat forward facing on the LHS of the train was something you could do with UKRT but not with Saphos?

    My prediction is that this first year is a learning curve. They will discover what matters, what doesn't to various segments of the market. I suggest when they phone up for the cc details we all ask for a window seat. It's called feedback. To be honest this years offer is pretty basic in marketing terms, just three prices for everything, a real table d'hote offer. Expect something a bit more saphosticated next year when we are at full price. Otherwise........
     
  9. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    That was my point. Obviously RHS/LHS/Milepost is not something that an operator can help with as the way that the stock is formed depends on what it last did so getting a milepost seat is still a lottery. And if you are unlucky on an 'out and back' trip when the train reverses (fairer on everyone from the point of view of being near the action) then you just have to grin and bear it or negotiate with a fellow passenger. And believe it or not, counter to what might seem to be the case on here, folk on steam charters are really rather pleasant folk and happy to help with individual requests if they can.

    As for Saphos, the person I spoke to was simply doing what he was briefed to say. In practice, operators try hard. UKRT is the best at this followed by Steam Dreams and then the RTC. That said, all three want to please; they just do it in different ways and if Saphos gets a bit 'sniffy' then they will quickly get feedback. Let's just give them space and thank them for their launch offer.
     
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  10. Cal.N

    Cal.N New Member

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    Of all people, I assume Mr Hosking knows what he is doing in this area.

    Each loco is the sole asset of its own limited company (like this for Bittern https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06804177) with Mr Hosking being the full owner of the company. For example, LSL (TOC) will have a contract with 46100's company to provide traction for tours. This will also make the process of locos going to galas easier, with a heritage railway paying 'Locomotive 45231 Ltd' to provide the loco, not the main LSL company. I imaging this is how it was done when 46100 covered 46233's tours late last year.
     
  11. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Part of the furniture Friend

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    To add to the intrigue, a friend of mine tried to book a standard class seat on both the Welsh Marches Trains. He was told they were both sold out in standard so he asked about First Class. The chap on the phone said he'd ring him back but he thought they were sold out too. He did phone back almost immediately and offered him the last seat in First Class on the 16th June but it was in a compartment. He asked twice to make sure he'd heard correctly and it was confirmed. So one of the Firsts will have opening toplights.
     
  12. 60017

    60017 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Anyone had a phone call/email asking for payment yet?
     
  13. Waterbuck

    Waterbuck Member

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    not yet !
     
  14. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    No, and my 28 days is now up as I booked on 31 December.
     
  15. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not being a regular traveler are any of the other operators using 1st class compartment stock on the mainline? In light of the general public's general unhappiness of sharing space with strangers, I cannot see compartment stock being that popular beyond the enthusiast fraternity, doesn't it also reduce the amount of window space available?
     
  16. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    I still haven't, either. I trust someone's keeping tabs on bookings somewhere!
     
  17. SteveKesterton

    SteveKesterton New Member

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    I emailed them at the end of last week as it was getting close to 28 days after I had made my booking and the trip I booked for was showing as full.

    Got a reply saying that my seats were confirmed and that they would be in touch shortly for payment.

    HTH.
     
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  18. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    Vintage trains have one and I used to book it twice a year for our group on their summer and winter trips, though they now sell these as premier dining for four. Great for private parties, not so much if there all strangers with single seat bookings.
     
  19. andalfi1

    andalfi1 Well-Known Member

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    Money taken on Tuesday of this week.
     
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  20. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, phone call received the other day and I have now paid.

    Spoke to a different person about the payment who reminded me that they had a note against the booking about the (window) seat request. This time I was told that they would see what they could do but couldn't guarantee anything. That's all you can ask for really. Time will tell.
     
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