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SVR General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by threelinkdave, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    20221107_112224.jpg Citation p.16 of."The memories and writings of a London Railwayman" ed Alan A. Jackson (1993) Railway and Canal Historical Society
     
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  2. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    If the GWR had been still in existence and still operating panniers in the 1990s, what sort of paint might have been used?
     
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  3. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    I don't think it's a dig. I think Mr Ballard really meant it. For some enthusiasts, a black 21C127 will be a draw but I suspect only a small minority.

    Furthermore, I didn't intend my post as implying I was going off in a sulk. While enthusiasts do not provide the bulk of income for heritage railways, we are not totally insignificant in our contribution. I haven't been to the SVR for some time and was looking forward to a visit. Being a great fan of the SR, I would have tried to schedule my trip to coincide with 34027 being in service, but my attitude is now essentially, "well, I'll just have to wait a couple of years. There are plenty of other lines to enjoy in the meanwhile."

    The other factor is that the 1940s were an awful time for railwaymen. My grandfather was a driver at Ashford shed and had to face the risk of attack by German aircraft, not to mention sometimes having to work very long shifts if relief crews were unable to take over. Even when the war was over, the railways were in a pretty bad state for several years. When you add to this the drab liveries, rationing and compulsory ID cards, it is a decade best forgotten and certainly not to be glamorised.
     
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  4. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Nostalgia is a funny thing with the mind having to ability to filter out the bad bits. We all remember the two weeks holiday it’s unbroken sunshine but not the ones where it rained for a fortnight. The so called good old days for many involved no inside toilet a damp draughty house and long hours of work but almost everyone who lived like that will tell you they were happy back then.
     
  5. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me that a bit of fun is fine. However, if we do not at least try to be authentic and to draw attention to the ways in which we cannot be authentic, then we do not perform as a museum. If we do not perform as a museum - on the days when we are not being something else to reach out to the families or whatever - then what the heck are we? How do we demonstrate the benefits desired by, for example, the Arts Council?
     
  6. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Touche!

    But the presentation of the locomotive was 1940s/50s - and the finish detracted from that because it was so out of kilter.
     
  7. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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  8. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, history is written by the survivors who want to write it, which gives a very definite slant on things.
     
  9. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    I think we are preserved railways. We do not conserve, and we aren't a museum. The movement can give a feel of what railways were like, and understand a lot more about the workings of railways that a museum can't (a stuffed and mounted rocket can tell us much less about how it was to be worked, what it's limitations were etc).

    Probably the closest discipline is experimental archaeology (where they to build stuff based on current understanding to see how it worked).
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    According to Cæsar, "All Gaul is divided into three parts" ..... and the term genocide wasn't coined until six years after the invention of Scrabble, which clearly demonstrates the advantage of getting your own version of events out first.
     
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  11. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I would classify a heritage railway as a working museum
     
  12. John2

    John2 New Member

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    The 21st heritage railway is primarily a tourist attraction which attempts to be as authentic as possible given the financial and regulatory reality and visitor expectations. As competition from other tourist attractions increases, railway costs increase but passenger numbers don’t and volunteer numbers decrease more and more commercialisation will occur.
     
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  13. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    What is the core of the benefit to society and the users of the railway?
     
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  14. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That may be true, but at what point is the boundary crossed between fulfilling the charitable purposes that underpin the majority of preserved railways, and becoming a tax efficient tourist attraction?
     
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  15. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that heritage railways either are or are destined to be tourist attractions other than in the same sense as a National Trust property. Or other stately home type visitor attraction.

    Yes there are a couple of exceptions to this such as many of the miniature railways, and the Paignton line.

    Note, that the only commercial operation with a gauge wider than 2ft is the P and D. Does anyone see that changing?

    That being the case, and it also being the case that public money is required to continue to exist, I think benefit to society has to become a really strong focus. That means perhaps more concern for history and accurate interpretation doesn't it?
     
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  16. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    Are preserved railways tourist attractions, yes, because that's where the income comes from, they are not transport operators in the strictest sense, even though they do run to published timetables, are they living museums, ?, because they use and demonstrate that use of artefacts no longer seen in day-to-day use of railways as they once were, but saying that museums don't tend to rebuild their artifacts and incorporate new materials in them, So what are preserved railways i think that its very hard to actually sum it up, except that it gives an InSite into past history, that only working museums can, places such as beamish, or bliss hill, where you actually do get to relive how village life was, So much has changed, when you think, many of us can remember our own childhood memories, when steam railways were not history, and village life was how bliss hill shows, for many of us your only talking 50- 60 years.
     
  17. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I think that aircraft museums use a lot of new materials if they want to operate the aircraft they display. The preservation of skill is as important as that of equipment.

    Heritage railways have a lot to offer. They need to be ratherore conscious about what they offer though
     
  18. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    All public museums are to a greater or lesser extent tourist attractions. Why else would they open their doors. I really don't see the dichotomy.

    There is clearly a sliding scale of the difference between purely popular entertainment and an attempt to enlighten/explain etc. (Which is one of the reasons I dislike "authenticity" as interpreted by many, as by omission of the unpleasantness as it gives a misleading impression of how nice the times were).

    I think what a railway gives is the "feel" of what a steam-operated railway was like in terms of sound/smell/look. The technical benefit of seeing how the things were put together and how they did or did not work.
     
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  19. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    To me, it's about what is cart and what horse. I have no problems with a preserved railway being a tourist attraction, just as I have no problem with Belton House down the road from me being a tourist attraction.

    But the question that then follows is whether the primary purpose of the place is to attract tourists, or to exhibit some part of the past. If the primary purpose is historical, then questions of history ultimately have to take precedence. If the primary purpose is tourism, then those historical questions can come second.

    That still leaves a very wide space for consideration of questions of interpretation, amongst which are questions of authenticity.
     
  20. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    In my opinion, heritage railways should be more akin to Beamish Living Museum than Alton Towers. Both seem to attract large numbers of visitors, but only one can be described as educational.

    Andy
     

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