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STEAM Swindon Reorganisation

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jimc, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Azrall

    Azrall New Member

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    I've had communication from them recently, albeit in email format.

    what is it you're specifically after?
     
  2. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    I love STEAM, and it gives me something to do whilst my dearest shops around in the outlet village. It was even better when she worked at the Helis.

    That said, STEAM feels very...stagnant? No that feels way more harsh. Let's go with stationary. It feels very stationary. As good as it is, and as captivating as many of the exhibits are, I'd like to see something moving, even if it were just a miniature railway. It's very difficult within the confines of the space available to STEAM, but it's just my opinion.
     
  3. big.stu

    big.stu Well-Known Member

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    On some occasions when I have visited with my son, there has been a short miniature railway (5" gauge?) offering rides running alongside Caerphilly Castle.

    (Actually, having found photo of kids and father-in-law on it, looks more like 7.25" to me.)
    IMG_4678.jpg
     
  4. For many years the reason given that Deltic and Caerphilly Castle couldn't be extracted from the Science Museum was a wall would have to be knocked down to get them out. It happened in time, so don't give up hope... :)
     
  5. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    My problem with Steam is that it could and should have been so much more, for instance the layout is cramped yet next door is another 4 roads that should in my view have been incorporated into the building, the display areas should have all been accesable of the transverser, not just 2, the rail side of the displays could have been done in a way that moving stuff in and out and changing the displays was better, york managed it, there was a plan for a running line, yet no provision made for accessing any of the display roads from it, it was on the other side of the site, the layout looks to have been an after through, it looks like the budget ran out half way through, i lived in Swindon when the site was being developed and hoped for something really special, yet the result was not in my view worthy of the history of the GWR, a restoration workshop, that had no access to the rest of the museum, how do you care for the exhibits if you cant touch them up in the workshop? personally i came away very disappointed if i am honest , i would close it and put everything there , that is Part of the NRM on loan to the GWS at Didcot ,because that is what the steam museum are in competition with .
     
  6. GeoffS75

    GeoffS75 New Member

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    STEAM I actually quite like and not just because it allows me to escape shopping! Whilst there are things that could be tweaked I consider it to give a good overview on many aspects of the GWR along with many artifacts and the context they would've been used in. In places it is a bit tired now maybe but on the whole it does the job and it does catch the imagination of the younger generation.

    Locomotion on the other hand I thought to be a peculiar setup but that is one for another thread.
     
  7. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    no, don't do that, they'd paint it all black.....
     
  8. big.stu

    big.stu Well-Known Member

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    I actually like STEAM as well, as although for me there hasn't been much to keep me amused after the first couple of visits, my son will quite happily spend all day there going back and forth between the signalling and driving simulations, and hence we (and his grandparents) have season tickets and go back regularly...

    Are there many other places with signalling simulations where you can pull real levers yourself? I know Bressingham intend to do this with the box on their site. Josh used to love pulling the levers on the Sheringham East box, but since it was moved off the platform it is now out of bounds, so NNR has less appeal for him these days. Colne Valley have a simple setup allowing you to operate a ground frame attached to various signals etc. but without the simulation stuff.
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Been a little while since I last visited, but Romsey Signal Box has a full box of levers that can be pulled under instruction to simulate the passage of a train through the station. When I last went, as I recall you could also go to the locking room and see the locking in action as the levers were pulled above.

    http://www.romseysignalbox.org.uk/

    Tom
     
  10. Pannier Man

    Pannier Man New Member

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    Sorry I've stimulated a page of "good & bad" points about steam.
    Don't get me wrong, Steam is a very well presented Museum of the GWR. It's well laid out, with accessible exhibits that in many other places you won't get as close to, or even on to.
    If I want live moving steam, then I go to a preserved railway or centre.

    My issue was I wanted to carry out a comparison of the bushes behind the centre driving wheel coupling rods on 6000 (which is original and unrestored), with 6023 which has had the thrust face machined.
    There is a head curator and two assistant curators, all females. None responded to the phone messages I left.
    Turning up at Steam to see what I could arrange, the front of house staff were brilliant. Luckily I managed to thrust a camera through the wire barrier and get a shot down the back of the coupling rod of what I needed.
    However, while trying to arrange this, the front of house staff phoned up to the curator to try and explain what I wanted and even offered to let me talk it through with the curator on the phone.
    She wouldn't even talk to me. The assistant curators, who were "busy" building a display stand, I did eventually meet.
    It all then became very difficult with, It's not our engine its the NRM's, there may be asbestos issues, you'd need a method statement, we'd have to get a firm in to take down the fence, etc, when all I needed was to crawl along the side of the wheels with a torch for a look.
    The attitude was more negative than "lets see how we can get around this and help". I guess if 6000 was still in York and not between raised platforms at Steam, it wouldn't have been a problem.
    My point is, they run a museum with static exhibits which are displayed as such. If you wish to carry out any research or comparisons which involves getting even slightly hands on,... Steam is not the place.
    Best go somewhere else. Unfortunately for me, 6000 is now at Steam.
    I will be going back again later this summer with my grand children, who still find the real hissing and whistling thing a bit intimidating, as Steam is the best place for their ages.
     
  11. Azrall

    Azrall New Member

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    I've attended a few times and my only issue with STEAM is that they built the museum around the locos and missed a huge opportunity to allow more visiting engines in. Ok, it's nice to get to have a look at Caerphilly Castle up close and look underneath her, but where does she go from there? She's stuffed on a plinth forever unless they knock a wall down to get her out! The same with the Dean Goods. However I was told by the curator that if I could get her out, I could keep her.....Challenge accepted.
     
  12. Ben Vintage-Trains

    Ben Vintage-Trains Member

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    You should have visited the last Tyseley Open Weekend when we had both KGV and Truro on display during their transit from York to STEAM.
     
  13. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    What's that got to do with the price of fish?

    Simon
     
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  14. Pannier Man

    Pannier Man New Member

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    Nothing,.... (Didn't wanna say it but) they unfortunately didn't seem to understand what I was trying to say from an engineering point of view which is probably hence the refusal to talk over the phone and the stone wall of indecision.
    (Ouch, now I'm gonna get some poo thrown at me!)
    Yes Ben, should have come up to you in hind sight.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  15. steve45110

    steve45110 New Member

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    About 15 years ago at a guess, I wrote to STEAM suggesting a 12 coach platform be built alongside the museum, on a loop off the main line. This would be used for excursions, without having to use Swindon sta. and then bussing or walking everyone to the site. I also suggested a series of regular daily or weekend only trips between there and Didcot, using Didcot locos, on a joint ticket covering both places. Turning on the turntables at both places.

    Even a Brunel Express, from Pad to Bristol, stopping at Steam, on the way to Bristol for SS Gt Britain and Clifton Bridge. Linking all these places to their mutual benefit. There was a response but, the usual British one of it'll cost (well duh) and resources are scarce etc etc. Oblivious to any potential in all that.
    Ah well, I've done my bit.
     
  16. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    Maybe they just had better or more important things to do than talk to you?

    Simon
     
  17. Stoove

    Stoove New Member

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    I would have thought that engaging with the public is exactly what museum staff should do. No public: no museum.
     
  18. baldric

    baldric New Member

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    The person youi gore may be a waste of time to talk to, may be your biggest benefactor or have history to impart to you, always worth finding out.
     
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  19. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    You have to remember that Steam is not part of the NRM or Science Museum, its ran by Swindon Borough Council , look at the mechanics institute , its going to fall down before anything gets done, Swindon council most likely are not that concerned over Steam,except that it pays its way, the curator is an council employee, not a specialist . As i posted earlier, its a wasted opportunity the building was gifted by Tarmac,and was an empty shell,then they let designers loose who in my view wasted what was an golden opportunity the Turntable is in the car park , or was, by the pattern store, why wasn't it moved to a site with in the museum? because there was no plan to facilitate any live steam , the running line was a temporary measure, for one season, i dont think SBC had an overview of the whole site except where the designers outlet was concerned which is owned by Tarmac, i lived in Rodbourne Rd so know the area very well i can even remember the NRM on Tour, now had they done something similar with the 4 roads next to Steam, built a brick structure to resemble a running shed accessed off the transverser enough to fit in 6 engines that would have freed up space with in the museum its self, i think there was once a plan to have a spur off the loop to allow rail access at this point in the original plans
     
  20. steve45110

    steve45110 New Member

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    ' i think there was once a plan to have a spur off the loop to allow rail access at this point in the original plans'
    Just as I suggested above. It can still be done, if they have they will which, by the sound of it Swindon Council don't.
     

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