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Sunset Steam Express. Selected Tuesdays, July/August 2022 (Windsor trips cancelled)

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Paul.Uni, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    But is the cup half full or half empty?
     
  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Hope you're not knocking enthusiasts as many enthusiasts are active at the sharp end of railway preservation and/or are the ones who answer the call to fund various projects. Would I prefer to see a steam loco hauling aircon stock as opposed to being plinthed? Yes. Would I prefer to see a steam loco hauling period stock as opposed to aircon stuff? An even bigger yes. In the case of the Windsors I suspect it's a "needs must" situation but it's hardly the steam age experience that the operators are keen to market.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2022
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  3. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    I think that most of us are fully aware that the dramatic expansion of main line steam in the last 20 years has been possible only by broadening its appeal and looking to fill trains with non-enthusiasts. Obviously, this means that certain issues which may put us off from travelling (e.g. air conditioned stock and in some cases, a diesel on the back) will not be so problematical for the majority of those who travel on these trains nowadays, particularly in premier dining.

    Although these threads must contain literally thousands of posts from forum members who have been upset about "coffins" or "boxes on the back", the fact is, there is still plenty of opportunity to enjoy unassisted steam in steam-era carriages, especially repeat-itinerary trains such as the Jacobite, RTC 's trips over the S&C and - when the generator car is working, it's not leaf fall season and if you've got lots of money - Clan Line's regular jaunts with the Pullmans. Sometimes, as enthusiasts we can be understandably frustrated if a train which initially catches our fancy turns out not to be worth travelling on for reasons stated above but in reality, we have much for which to be thankful. If one is prepared to be patient and selective, there is usually something that will tick all our individual boxes, whatever they may be.
     
  4. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Although longer term if this is what SD have to use on their tours it will be interesting to see if there is an impact.
    Non enthusiasts seem quite happy with a diesel on the back, but many seem to comment on the difference and comfort (at least in the First Class stock) of the Mk1's. It does seem to be an important part of the experience of their day out to many.
     
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  5. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    And in premier dining I can see some who would actually prefer to have their food without debris from the locomotive all over the plate and table...
     
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  6. bleeder4

    bleeder4 Member

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    I'm sure all of us have been on trips where we've found ourselves seated at a table with people who don't want the window open because it will bring soot in, or complain that the toilets are too small, or that the loco is so loud they can't talk to each other. It's happened to me several times. For those people, travelling in sealed Mk 3s would be ideal. We enthusiasts are the minority on these trips, we have to adapt to modern trends. I've accepted the changes and have happily been on many trips with Mk 3s and tailgunners.
     
  7. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’ve done premier dining a few times in Mk.1 stock and there’s a simple fix to the problem of smuts on your food, its called “keep the windows shut”. Works perfectly well in my experience.
     
  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Interesting. Never been on a trip with people complaining about the noise of the loco being too loud.
     
  9. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    Will the old Steam Dreams MK2’s now be used with RTC and other WCRC operations?
     
  10. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, but my point was that even complete non-enthusiasts may feel a mk3's feel to be at odds with what is surely marketed as nostalgia/historic? Perhaps enough won't/don't care, but I see less point in travelling in a sealed coach when it is likely to be quite hard to tell for sure what the motive power is (especially in summer with far less visible exhaust).
     
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  11. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Well-Known Member

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    As they call them in the US - grits!
     
  12. 6026 King John

    6026 King John Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid there isn't if you live in the South. Only the RTC's Cotswold Venturer and hopefully Royal Duchy trips now feature unassisted steam with authentic steam era stock. You can forget Steam Dreams or Saphos, and many of RTC's trips will have a diesel on the back - even Clan Line's forthcoming trip to Exeter looks like it's going to have one. For me diesels on the rear are not a complete show-stopper but Mk3 stock certainly is.
     
  13. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    The Aberdonian trains in the summer are definitely unassisted as is all steam in Scotland out with the GB tour and the Edinburgh Flyer tours.
     
  14. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    Having been on loads of SRPS tours there have been at least some occasions were I have explained the goings on to the people sat at the table opposite. I’ve always felt as an enthusiast in the minority.
     
  15. JonathanH

    JonathanH New Member

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    5237 went to Fort William this week so seems so.

    As for tonight's trip, the standard class coach is at the front, after the support coach and half-brake. A bit slow motion for a Mark 3 ride but three coaches back you can still hear the engine work at times (although the air conditioning is also audible).
     
  16. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    You need to remember that this is 2022 not 1962. The modern much reduced railway doesn’t have the flexible layouts of old. If we excluded all trains where a second locomotive is needed for shunting at the destination there would be a much reduced choice. Bahamas didn’t need a second loco at Worcester so it didn’t have one.
    Just be thankful that we have what we have and no matter where you live you can travel for your steam fix, the natives in the north are quite friendly.
     
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  17. TheModster

    TheModster Member

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    A screengrab from my footage of the train at Woking this evening:
    [​IMG]
     

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  18. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, sadly the dual motive power and modern rolling stock arrangement, as seen on the Sunset Express, may becoming increasingly the norm for quite a lot of main line charters.

    The good news is that the heritage railway sector can still provide your steam fix whilst the main line can be left to operators who will doubtless try to make the best of what is possible in future. But I think we know that what is not possible is to fill a main line train priced on only about six or seven revenue earning vehicles plus all the other operational and catering rolling stock that a steam locomotive could manage on its own.

    What saddens me is the way that nearly all operators have tried to slip these necessary changes 'under the wire' in the hope that nobody will notice.

    But as @Johnb says, this is the art of the possible in 2022. I just hope that there is still a market out there for this version of main line steam operations.
     
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  19. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    Plus the West Somerset Express
     
  20. 6026 King John

    6026 King John Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean but I'm not talking about 1962 - I wasn't even born then. I did quite a few main line steam tours between about 2002 and 2018 (about 6-10 per year) and 90% of those had no diesel presence. Things have changed a lot in just the last few years and I'm just thankful that I was able to enjoy so many great mainline trips when I could.
     
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