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Severn Valley Railway Autumn Gala: 15 - 18/09/22

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by pete12000, Aug 1, 2022.

  1. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Does it actually need a big guest? I remember 2009 being highly successful without one.
     
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  2. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I know, I'm one of those volunteers.
     
  3. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Well-Known Member

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    The issue there is people being careful with their money at the moment. Without a star loco, they might not part with their cash as easily as if there was one.
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Not necessarily a big guest, but this year's line up just didn't excite me. I'm not complaining at all, different strokes for different folks and all that, and I don't need to go, but looking at SVRWiki, I'm more interested in the 2009 line-up than this one, can't particularly explain why though. I still may well have gone to do overnight running had that happened, and again, not complaining that it didn't, but fact is, it made me less likely to go. I fully accept I am but one ticket sale though. :)
     
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  5. Wyreman

    Wyreman New Member

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    A few observations from one who attended yesterday.

    * Numbers - yes there have been busier galas, though it has to be said that the absence of trains where passengers had to be refused boarding was a definite plus. Cost of living squeezing "fun spending" is surely an issue, and I don't think that's going to recede any time soon. As I've said before, yes railways' costs are increasing, but many passengers' disposable income is going the other way - I don't have an easy answer to this problem and suspect there isn't one. I also wonder whether the fact that for several weeks it was thought this would be a rail strike period had a bearing. Some potential attendees will have made alternative plans and not wanted to change back at very short notice.

    * No real "star of the show" - total speculation, but I would think that for an appreciable number, *4930* would have been the star, and knowing it wasn't going to run over the weekend may have put some less committed people off attending this time. There was no alternative to withdrawing it of course, and it did look superb on display at Bridgnorth, but it's not the same as experiencing it running. For me the star turned out to be Jessie in any case. Something different that put on a great show.

    * Catering - a very welcome improvement on last time, with the Highley cafe up and running again. A comfortable environment and a sensible range of pleasant food and drink at acceptable prices, though labelling was rather inconsistent with much too little pricing information on cakes etc, in particular - a single "from £2.50" sign is too vague. I was impressed to see the platform kiosk at Highley still going strong at almost 8pm.

    * Timetable - no complaints, and running from 8am to midnight was still a much longer day than most other galas can offer. I do understand the reasons not to run overnight services this year, and from a selfish point of view it made little difference as I never used them. It was a unique(?) draw the SVR autumn gala had though, and with the aforementioned squeeze on leisure spending something you can offer that nobody else can may become more valuable in an increasingly cut-throat market.

    * General atmosphere - excellent. I don't really need to say any more. Thank you to all concerned.
     
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  6. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I’ve tried to have a chat with my Dad, no return call so I know where he is.
    Isn’t this something taken from the Diesel Gala Patrick? I seem to recall it happening at those events in the past.
     
  7. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    My mind's a blank - sorry. I don't think it's a feature of the 2022 Autumn Diesel Bash though.
     
  8. jamesd

    jamesd Member

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    If Jessie had been on full line trains I’d have been there in a flash. As it was, the timetable and lineup didn’t excite me.
     
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  9. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    I spent two days on the SVR this weekend . Firstly and foremost a massive thank you to everyone involved in putting it all together

    The highlights for me were actually all the people that I know and bumped into on the event . Time well spent catching up

    [​IMG]Severn valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala 2022 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Severn valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala 2022 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Severn valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala 2022 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Severn valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala 2022 by Martin Creese, on Flickr
     
  10. A1X

    A1X Well-Known Member

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    Video now online

     
  11. waterbucket

    waterbucket New Member

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    On the way home now after another fantastic three days at an SVR gala! In common with several other posters I was surprised at how few people were about and in my mind the main reasons have been mentioned already. The evening trains in particular were very lightly loaded which was a real shame as the atmosphere around the railway is a real treat to experience when it gets dark.

    A few of us were discussing galas of the past over the weekend and we remembered how they used to be a bit different everyday whereas now the days all seem pretty much the same...well on paper at least. I don't think it would be too hard to mix things up a bit. Did Jessie have to be on the same diagram every day? Could it not have rotated with 43106 and 7714 for example? It might not seem much but it could have spiced things up just that little bit without having to change the timetable and thus generated a little more interest.

    The open top bus to Eardington was brilliant but seemed somewhat underused (only 4 on our trip out). The halt is a real gem in the SVRs crown being a fantastic place to watch the trains powering up the bank whilst enjoying a cup of tea and a lovely piece of cake. Whilst there were signs galore to the book sale in the coach 100 yds down the drive at Bridgnorth I didn't see any signs for the bus pickup point. Of course I may have missed them as having done the trip at the Spring gala my mates and I just headed straight to the bottom of the drive. It would be a shame if these trips didn't continue because of a lack of uptake. As well as the novelty of travelling on a vintage open-topper it's also much more reliable than the service bus!

    On the whole however it was an excellent weekend. My mates and I throughly enjoyed ourselves and will no doubt be back at the next one, if not before. The breakfast at Bewdley on Saturday was epic by the way! Thanks so much to the staff and volunteers that made it happen, as usual you all did yourselves and your railway proud!
     
  12. Adam Tandy

    Adam Tandy Member

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    My filming efforts from the SVR's gala yesterday.

     
  13. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Well-Known Member

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    For reference: as per page 26 of the ASG souvenir program the 2023 Spring Steam Gala will take place 13th-16th April (the weekend after Easter).
     
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  14. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest that a big name brings in a few non enthusiast people to galas. Much as a big Pacific is non authentic, it does bring in those who like a selfie for social media or perhaps only have a passing interest in railways.

    I would suggest this was very much an enthusiast's event this year & enjoyable for it. Hopefully avoiding the cost of bringing in a 'big namer' has helped balance the books. It was far from a wash out and when tickets are counted will probably still be an attendance many other lines would be very happy with.

    Can I please also say, the kids for a quid offer at the West Somerset Railway gala earlier this year was a masterstroke and would perhaps attract a few more families to gala events. I did feel quite young at the gala once again this year and I turn 40 next year! There were a number of families at the West Somerset event, my own included. Kids are expensive things also when it comes to food and gift shops..

    More importantly, attracting kids to a big gala event can ignite a spark and if it is done at a price a whole family can afford this may swing the vote in competing interests for diminishing disposable income..
     
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  15. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    A couple of comments / observations on those bemoaning the lack of all night running. You could still travel on a train up to midnight - far later than most railway galas. There are many reports that even these were lightly loaded however.

    I enjoy the experience of steam after dark, but have noted previously that these services can come with some additional hazards.

    At 7pm several security guards turned up at Kidderminster to monitor the evening trains, an additional cost to the railway and presumably a decision made on previous experiences of late night alcohol consumption.
     
  16. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Possibly your breakfast at Bewdley was sorted out by my father! I’ll let him know! :) (I do tend to put on a little weight when I go home!) :p
     
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  17. Jake B

    Jake B New Member

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    My filming efforts from the gala this weekend. :)
     
  18. Macko

    Macko Member

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    With all due respect, there are multiple issues on why the gala might not be as successful as we would have hoped. Lack of a main guest, no theme to the gala, bringing engines that do not appeal to the average enthusiast, the importance of appealing to enthusiasts compared to the general public, I could go on ...

    Let the dust settle and see what the numbers are like. I will give some positives, the timetable was better (but I believe could still be better), the return of Hagley was a treat, the goods running in the daytime and as always the volunteers were a pleasure to meet. I'll be back in a couple of weeks for the BR Blue gala, Gus and the crew always put on a good show.
     
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  19. Steam Valley Productions

    Steam Valley Productions New Member

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    6 shots from the Autumn gala, with the 3 visitors the main focus.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. David likes trains

    David likes trains Member

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    I was at the gala for all four days, it was enjoyable as ever. Will post some photos later, but for now will just give some thoughts. On the face of it, there was nothing 'wrong' with the gala. 10 locos in steam across the weekend and trains running late into the night - unfortunately a bit later than timetabled as it happened. But at times it seemed quieter in terms of movements on the line than I remember previous years being. You would go to Bewdley and Bridgnorth in the evening and if there wasn't a train coming or going there would be locos coming on or off shed, being disposed and all of it very atmospheric. This year I spent a fair bit of time after dark at Bridgnorth and it didn't feel the same, maybe due to the lack of all night running.

    I didn't miss being able to travel on a train all night, have done so in the past and I was never able to get any sleep on them! The overnight trains are usually associated with people using them as hotels and/or a place to have lengthy drinking sessions that inevitably lead to some behaviour that isn't desirable for fellow passengers or the railway. What is mentioned less and that I miss more though is having trains running up and down the line as the sun comes up, often accompanied by layers of mist around the valley. With good weather that is truly special. Maybe going forward the railway will decide the all night running is more trouble than its worth, particularly in these constrained times, but as said earlier in the thread it would be losing something that is unique.

    I think maybe we've been spoiled with some of the pre-2020 galas, there were some things 'missing' from this year which weren't necessarily under the railway's control. No auto trains, 1450 isn't in traffic. 813's unfortunate failure earlier this year. I heard yesterday that it was hoped 7812 would be back in time for this gala. Also the plan had been to get in 61306 which may have been a bigger draw, but it's unavailable and so the Black 5 came instead. 4930 was a big draw for me, luckily I did get to see it run on the Thursday and Friday. I know it's been done at many galas before, but I would've liked to see 2857 haul a decent length goods train one last time before the end of its ticket. Someone I spoke to yesterday said he liked the shorter goods train but that it had the wrong loco on it, should have been 7714 or one of the other tank engines which I would agree with. I don't mind 34027's current guise too much and I would say it was very tastefully presented in light of the Queen's passing, but of course it doesn't appeal to enthusiasts. 9351 no doubt is a bit marmite as well, but it has certainly grown on me.

    Having basically the same timetable everyday has positives and negatives, on the one hand if you can only make it for one day then you don't miss out on something that is only happening on one particular day. On the other hand it might put off people from attending on multiple days who would otherwise do so.

    To finish on positives, I'm glad I made the effort to go. The SVR is always worth a visit and it was nice to be back there and chat with people. The weather was great, not a drop of rain and plenty of sunshine. I thought the art exhibition at Kidderminster was very good with some high quality pieces on show.
     
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