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Steam Dreams 2013 & 2014 Archive

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by free2grice, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Phil K

    Phil K Member

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    And Brixton. The looks from the people down below was brilliant!


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  2. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    To be fair, a lot of the reason they are striking is fair, do you want to be rescued by a 60 year old who can't run and has a back that may go at any time when carrying you out a burning building ?, hardly on a par with a call centre.
     
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  3. Drysdale

    Drysdale Guest


    Firefighters of whatever age have certain fitness standards to maintain. I see no reason why a fit and fully trained person up to this age cannot do the job.

    They have very generous pensions compared to people in the private sector and, the way their shifts are calculated, second jobs as well.
     
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  4. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    So it's fair to sack someone without proper pension/benefits because their health has let them down as a result of advancing age ?, some ailments all the fitness in the world is no damn good for, I know we have steam crews well into their 70's, but luck plays a big part in whether your still physically capable at that age, I'm sure there's plenty who'd love to still be on the regulator out there but diminishing vision put paid to that.

    It's not how much the pension is worth that's the issue, more denying it to those who's health starts to go before the higher bar now being set.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
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  5. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    So improve the pensions of people working in the private sector and enable all those retired to live the remainder of their lives with reasonable degrees of comfort and security. It is quite untrue that this is unaffordable; we simply need to make different political choices.
     
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  6. Chris_Sav

    Chris_Sav New Member

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  7. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    To illustrate what happens when you add a diesel to the consist, have a look at this (not my video) from the longest day Kent Circular. Plenty of action up front and all seems well until you get to the rear of the train. This is Kemsing, it's uphill so the diesel is at work. Does it matter? Probably not for the majority. We are where we are, I am afraid and it is something we probably now have to live with. It's steam...but not as we know/knew it.

     
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  8. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    Nearly booked on the 21st June runs a couple of weeks ago to go behind 70013. So glad we didn't now. Perhaps the SD price rise was to actually pay for using Diesels as well? Two types of fuel are now being used on their trips so the fuel bill must be more expensive?;)

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  9. Matt35027

    Matt35027 Well-Known Member

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    A carpenter that I work with who lives in Otford saw a poster for these trains in the Woodsman pub. He's what I'd call an 'ordinary' person in this scenario, he likes steam trains, but he's no enthusiast, he doesn't have too much disposable income but he'll fork out for something that's good value. He asked me about these trains, how long the journey was and how much were tickets. His response when I told him that standard class was £90 "That's a bit dear isn't it?" The price alone was enough to put him off.

    If he had booked on the lunchtime train, he would be extremely brassed off about no steam, and I'd have a hell of a time trying to persuade him that this isn't the norm and to give mainline steam another try. If he'd booked on the evening train he would still be a little bit miffed by having a diesel spoiling the steam experience, but would probably still had a nice time.

    Steam Dreams are shooting themselves in the foot in a big way by charging so much for standard class. It's an immediate turn off for the ordinary members of the public. I saw a fair few empty seats in all classes on the evening train.

    And all this is before other factors interfere and mean that the train doesn't run as initially advertised.....
     
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  10. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    The standard London - Dover return on a SE service is half that. It would be interesting to compare the fares of other steam excursions with service trains. How much is a reasonable premium for nostalgia?
     
  11. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Crewe to Scarborough on TPE is £70.70, with RTC on the Flyer £66. No premium there, admittedly others may not be as favourable.
    Euston to Carlisle, Virgin £80.50. with RTC on the CME £79 and that's steam from Carnforth and returning via S&C to Faringdon Junc.
     
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  12. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    It seems Steam Dreams no longer want to attract the ordinary members of the public. When colleagues at work have seen adverts in the local paper for SD trips they have asked me if you get a meal for the std class price. I won't repeat what they said when I told them you only get free drinks. So far only one friend has booked on a SD trip but she hasn't bothered anymore as she has said it's too expensive and she can put the £100 to something better. Lately, I totally agree with her.

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  13. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres

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    Wrong ! Individuals need to make PERSONAL choices not POLITICAL ones. During my working years I spent my money on insurance policies and investments rather than the latest gadgetry such as mobile phones; stereos; TVs; foreign holidays etc and it is these investments which now fund my life-style. I now find that I can now enjoy the same standard of living that I had during my working days and that suits me fine. Had I chosen to spend - rather than invest - I would be in a much poorer situation but because I feel my retirement is my responsibility I do not expect my first line of support to be the Welfare State. It may be a hard lesson but when one counts the monies spent on items such as alcohol and cigarettes and considers the benefit had it been invested then I'm afraid I have less sympathy for those without who are finding out that they made the wrong choices.

    As I have explained to my children - all spending / saving choices have consequences and those who failed to save for retirement by choosing to spend are now facing theirs. Whilst sympathetic to their distress in one way I fail to see why I should be made to pay for their fecklessness - hence why I do not expect the Government to pay on my behalf (through use of taxes) either.

    But that is getting political and this is supposed to be about steam trains - isn't it ?
     
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  14. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    If Enterprise were making the point that an alternative approach of increased Social Security contributions when working and the retirement dates for State Pension not being increased has not been offered by the politicians, then I would have to agree. Fred is also correct to some extent, but of course, for many, funds don't permit either. Nor were the quite fundamental changes to pensions introduced by the Coalition included in anyone's 2010 Manifesto, as far as I recall.

    The only reference to an alternative was the Conservatives calling National Insurance "a tax on jobs" and promising to halt increases in it - shortly before increasing National Insurance and now making all employers (and employees) liable to contribution to private pensions, which see money flowing out of businesses (3% of Gross Pay), pay-packets (5%) and the Treasury 2%) into the "black hole" of the City of London under "Work Place Pensions". However, you understand that a compulsory new pension system, costing much in time and expense to set up and punishable by fines if ignored, are not a tax on jobs, but increasing how much National Insurance is collected through the existing PAYE system, is.

    As far as I can see, we have started down the path to the abolition of the UK State Pension by making private pensions compulsory.

    Off topic? What is the average age and employment status of a majority of Rail tour passengers (and a large number of heritage railway passengers - and volunteers) and from what source do they fund their ticket purchases and travel costs?

    I would say that for Steam Dreams and every other heritage rail operator, this stuff matters!

    Steven
     
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  15. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    A false antithesis similar to so many found on NP but usually in "New General Chat" where if this discussion is to continue, it should be transferred.

    However, unrepentant Thatcherites such as you, Fred, might look at the devastation caused by 30 or so years of neo-liberal economic policies and consider whether not believing in society is such a good idea.
     
  16. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres

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    I believe in society - and as a Scot a supporter of welfare economics which characterises many of us irrespective of political allegiance - but I also believe in personal responsibility which appears to be one factor that I find less frequently in the modern generation or the modern political framework. At the end of the day welfare should be seen as a safety net to provide short term relief not as a right that prevails over personal responsibility.
     
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  17. Drysdale

    Drysdale Guest

    So are we saying that SD are loading the prices in the South because they think they can get away with it?
     
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  18. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    It has been interesting to read these various comments about Steam Dreams. I must have been on at least eight tours with the company, but not since moving out of the SD catchement area 2 1/2 years ago. I must say that, as someone whose favourite railway is the Southern, there is much for which we must thank Marcus Robertson. He was a real pioneer in 2000 seeking to return regular steam to classic SR routes, using Bulleid power and a set of green coaches (albeit predominantly Mark 2 stock). However, he is an astute businessman and has not been afraid to change direction on several occasions since - the purchase of 35005 specifically to haul the trains then its subsequent sale to the MHR, the change from FM Rail to West Coast to DBS and now back to West Coast and the change in the type of itinerary from a 2-3 hour out and back trip from London to the more complex and longer itineraries which we see today. The bottom line is that the company has to make money and well done to Marcus for surviving 14 years in a business which has claimed more than one or two casualties. I also particularly appreciate how he always recognised me whenever I travelled and had a quick word, even though I was not one of his most regular customers.

    But (and I guess there's bound to be a "but"!) I do feel a bit sad that he has moved on so far from the original SD concept. I remember an interview with Steam Railway when he talked of doing London-Canterbury possibly every day in the height of summer. I personally feel 2 hours out and 2-3 hours back is long enough on a train, even if you are being treated to a superb performance with plenty of fast running, a few steep climbs and some lovely scenery. London-Canterbury is ideal. Even if the Weald and the White Cliffs may not be up to the S&C for scenery, you can do it using 100% steam with few pathing problems and it's not too much of a marathon day out. Salisbury is another winner, although it's a shame that it seems so hard to get a direct path through Wimbledon. The crawl along the Windsor Lines can seem to go on for ever! Just running from London (with maybe one pickup point - Bromley South and Woking respectively) makes for lower costs and thus helps keep the fares down.

    I am no businessmen myself, but I am convinced that there is the potential for a Southern-based equivalent to the Shakespeare Express or Torbay Express, if not quite for a Southern "Jacobite". The nearest is probably RTC's Dorset Coast Express, which runs weekly for about 9 or 10 weeks, but Steam Dreams, having run about 5 trains to Weymouth in 2006, don't seem to be interested in repeat-itinerary trips any more. Also, you are more likely to have a diesel on the back than with an RTC or Vintage Trains tour. I feel a sense of loyalty to the company for reasons stated above, but even if I do move back to SR territory, as I hope to do before too long, I don't see much in the company's recent brochures to tempt me (and the threat of a diesel on the rear only adds to the turn-off factor), which is a great shame really.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
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  19. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    John

    It is all down to what sells.

    On a trip to Salisbury in December 2009 a group near me and another enthusiast in the buffet, said “who is this Graeme Bunker we get have emails from"?
    The other enthusiast and I advised them that he is on the train, and they promptly asked a steward it they could meet him, and this was arranged.
    Graeme came and spoke to them for about 10 - 15 minutes. One of the things covered was destinations

    He said at that time the most popular destinations were Bath, Canterbury and York, which they thought they should be able to fill about 4 -5 trains a year, while other destinations they could fill a couple of trains, and some destinations only every other year.If there was more demand they would run more trains. e.g. York. They originally planned 2 trains to York behind Tornado 1 in September 2009 and the other in December 2009 , but due to demand ran 4.Note : - prior to Tornado I believe most if not all of Steam Dreams trips ran diesel Northbound since the steam path offered was before 7.00an which they considered too early for their passengers.

    Paul
     
  20. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    So very true.
     

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