Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 1472, Jan 1, 2018.
Have a look at the layout, taken from Google Maps:
From 2003 to 2006 I was one of two full time C&W employees plus one part time, we had just one regular volunteer. The five MK1s that were in service were in quite fair order receiving regular repaints and reupholstering, the Danish coaches were rather tired but most were reupholstered during that time. The rather nice Belgian coaches were gradually improved. The pearl to me was the Nord coach, I spent a fair amount of time bring the interior up to a better standard, sadly it has been sold on.
We always suffered from a lack of budget and poor workshop facilities. Since I left to take up a position a position at Havenstreet I gather that things have deteriorated I am not even sure if their are any staff in the C&W and in Loco the situation may be just as dire. All a shame as the few employees gave their all and more. Perhaps Spamcan could give an update on the situation, hopefully it is better.
I looked at the real thing a few months ago, I still think it is odd to have the station building at right angles rather than fronting the platform as would be conventional.
Perhaps it was to give greater prominence on the main road? That said perhaps an L shaped building would have been better as it could've fronted the main road and the platform. I guess cost would then have been a factor.
It will be interesting to see how the NVR will use the original building given that the main entrance seems to be shared with residential properties and a commercial premises.
no longer a main road, I don't think it goes anywhere any more.
It's a loop off the main A1 with access to both north and southbound carriageways.
yes but there is better access to the southbound near the truck stop and little or no through traffic past the station. Access to the northbound is at the truck stop end too.
Indeed (it is the old Great North Road after all) - and I notice that the Turntable Cafe gets a favourable review from Google as an interesting alternative to your usual roadside stop!
The cafe is also frequented by walkers, and being broadside on I think makes it more inviting to the passer-by.
Things are a little bit better than that now luckily! I haven't been down to the sheds for a couple of months, but I believe there are 2 people still employed in c&w. They are predominantly responsible for the 7 operational mark 1s. Then a volunteer team of about 10 people have been overhauling the Danish coaches over the last few years. 3 down, 2 to go! I believe there are at least 2 employed on the loco side with a senior position being advertised.
I agree about the Nord coach however... It was a lovely coach. Sadly the monocoque construction was rusted through towards the bottom so it was deemed at the time of sale that it couldn't run again so was sold on... Wouldn't have been my personal choice for the fate of the coach...
Thanks for the update Chris good to know that things are not quite so bad as I feared, although the Loco situation could be better.
A good synopsis. It is very interesting how modes of thought and strategies change down the years, often enforced. The ELR is a typical example that started out with a Field of Dreams policy ie build a railway while affiliated groups acquire locos to run on it. The heady days of 5337, 8274, 92207, 73156, 34027, 7229, 47324, 80097 and 46428 all brought to Bury at various times supposedly forming a core fleet for the future. The first mentioned was completed at Bury, the middle group all left while the 3F is the only other yet to run.
Other owners professing loyalty have come and gone, to understandably seek more lucrative pastures in order to sustain their needs.
The Company belatedly realised a weakness, so bought 42765 and finished its overhaul, getting 10 sterling years service only to discover why they let others bear the cost in the first place - half a million quid and 10 more years to overhaul it. In the meantime variously considered acquisitions came to nought and now 34092 is proposed.
All hard lessons. Ultimately self sufficiency is the only truly viable option because groups or individuals often change outlook over time. Then you also need infrastructure, skills and leadership in support, none of which arrive quickly, cheaply or off the shelf plus a reliable revenue base that will sustain it all.
An interesting trend though I don't subscribe to the "one size fits all" solution of host railway ownership for all motive power requirements though no doubt that comment will trigger a PH alert.
My reasons are:
1. Railways have to concentrate on infrastructure as their No 1 priority - no track, bridges etc no trains. That means that there is always a risk/likelihood that
an internal loco repair funding will get "raided" to meet short term infrastructure spend needs. This is already quite evident on some lines.
2. Some railways are better off committing only to fairly fixed hire outlay which is spent in the year in which it is incurred. That prevents the "good times are just over the horizon" approach to loco overhaul budgeting.
3. Active loco owning groups bring additional support (providing everybody is heading in the same direction). Some folk prefer to support "their" loco rather than see their own support diluted in a much bigger "whole". Nothing wrong in that & this is far preferable to folk setting up new railways to find "their" project to support. The additional fundraising some loco owning groups manage can be quite a major subsidy
Wouldn't disagree, the perhaps mutual conclusion being no single element can really be dealt with in isolation.
Another crucial aspect is a hard earned reputation of competency, a particularly important factor in a highly competitive loco hire market. Absence of confidence with loco owners makes hiring locos very difficult and it does not take much to undermine a long established good name, unfortunately.
Whilst there is some truth in that statement, owning groups still have their place IMO. It all depends on individual agreements and circumstances of course but they can take a lot of pressure off loco departments by beavering away maintaining their own locos and overhauling them while the railway gets own with its own fleet.
Totally agree that often the aims of an owning group and host railway are mutually compatible to the extent that a strong bond between them exists. Often figures are common to both organisations too.
Unfortunately, human nature being what it is beliefs and values can change over time such that the owners develop their objectives in a way which the host railway might not be able to meet. My experience at ELR with a few of the original cohort of Barry rescues there encapsulated this. The owners of 5337 for example found that the income ELR could offer did not meet their needs so they were forced to seek work elsewhere despite their diehard ELR connections. I totally respected that and accept the railway played a part too, in the way it managed fleet requirements at the time. It is certainly a regret of my time that we were not able to develop compatible plans with 26B or some others too. Personalities play a part but building trust and forging alliances is a tough job, sustaining them even harder unless you are unconditionally mutually committed.
I think one factor which has not been referred to yet but sadly plays a significant role is politics. You may well have situations where loco owning group A decides they no longer wish to have their loco associated with a specific railway line, sometimes that may be because due to the actions of an individual, small group, or the whole railway, damage has been done in one form or another to their loco, or sometimes simply because they don't like a person in the hierarchy and are unwilling to attempt to get on with them. So loco owning group A moves their loco(s) away from the line. This may influence loco owning group B who also have loco(s) based on the railway to also seek another home for their locos, and loco owning groups C, D, E etc decide that, because their friends in loco owning groups A and B have moved their locos away from the railway and have nothing but bad things to say about the railway, they will not make their loco(s) available for that railway. Sometimes these decisions are made for a genuinely good reason, for example a railway may have been running or maintaining locos in a way which was dangerous to the loco's health or the volunteers running them, and sometimes it's for very petty reasons, such as a clash of personalities with management. Either way, I would imagine several loco owning groups will have black-lists of railways they will not let their locos go to, often due to bad experiences there
There is also the case that, when group A arrives at a railway with it's nice, big shiny engine, the railway decides it no longer needs group B, and it's less glamorous industrial engine. It doesn't seem to matter if that engine has been the mainstay of the line for some time. The lines always want engines that will attract more visitors. I am not saying it is the case in these cases, but if you think that the West Somerset started off running the two big industrial tanks they had, and I believe that Gloswarks first service was behind a Manning Wardle? Where are those engines now? (That's not a dig, by the way, I'm actually interested to know where those engines are now!)
"Vulcan" is now named "Thomas Burt MP" and is at the Stephenson Railway Museum. "Victor" is at Haverthwaite. The GWSR's first trains were hauled by Avonside 0-4-0ST "Cadbury No.1", which is now at Tyseley.
does this help
There is a sub-category within that though - Chinnor functions without a locomotive of its own but seemingly as an outstation of the South Devon Railway's fleet. They've got undercover facilities, obviously a track record in looking after the toys they're loaned to play with, and therefore a good (enduring) relationship. I appreciate that that doesn't give Chinnor any long term security if the SDR were to have a locomotive crisis, but there again, the fact that it has lasted for a good few years now ought to give them a chance of hiring in someone else's loco instead - a track record of borrowing and playing with valuable items without breaking them, and with the secure undercover maintenance facilities that mean they can be looked after as well as just putting miles on the clock.
ETA - this year's loanee/escapee from South Devon appears to be 5526
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