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SVR General Discussion

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

  1. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Part of the furniture

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    I see that the Saturday of the Open House weekend is now a RMT strike day. We'll have to see how that affects attendance.
     
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  2. D1039

    D1039 Guest

    This is at odds with the £84k surplus being publicly forecast in Branch Lines late last year. A staff presentation last week showed a £0.1m surplus for 2022, presumably subject to audit.

    I think your friend may have mistaken the figure, or it may have been lost in translation. There was also an illustrative slide showing as a starting point a £1.5m gap in 2023 *were the SVR to repeat in 2023 exactly what it had budgeted to do in 2022*. Perhaps it was that? The changes the SVR are making are to avoid such a 2023 outcome.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2023
  3. D7076

    D7076 Well-Known Member

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    Well the country seems full of doom and gloom merchants but if today at Bucks Rly Centre (overflow car park in use by 1100) and Didcot is anything to go by ,more railways should have tried to tap into the Feb half term market ..even if engineering work means not full line trips .
    Both places full of families …
     
  4. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    That is very much a matter of opinion. Equally if can mean some places made enough money last season to permit of major track upgrades without having to worry about getting in every last penny. As has been observed 2022,was a good year for some.
     
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  5. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Email Gus, Your never wrong, tell him and the board how their cocking up.
    I’m sure they’ll appreciate your input.
     
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  6. D1039

    D1039 Guest

    Interestingly over on FB two managers of other heritage railways commented: "It can be quite wasteful starting up, running for a week and then closing. So the costs might far outweigh the odd high footfall day"; and "You can generate a few quid if the weather gods are on your side but completely bomb if they are not. The costs of start up and maintenance disturbances make feb half term marginal at best"

    Today is glorious. Two days ago here we had cloud at 50 feet (I was walking in it!) and drizzle all day and night. 'Internet says' just three years in 15 has this date been sunny here. I would like them to have done so, but I'm not going to second guess those railways that haven't, especially as the costs of opening have increased so much.
     
  7. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Well-Known Member

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    You also have some railways (admittedly the SVR is not one of these) where they may only have a single steam locomotive available for traffic. This may well require winter maintenance - do you reduce/forgo the maintenance to allow you to run services, or forgo the services to allow you to carry out maintenance? And if you decide to reduce the amount of maintenance you do, publish steam trains in half term, but then the maintenance being done overruns and the steam loco is no longer available, you're left without an operable steam locomotive and therefore one of the main draws to families, but you've already publicised that you're running the services, so you have to run them with a less desirable diesel. (Exactly what has happened to the Battlefield Line and overrunning maintenance on 7822 Foxcote Manor, who was due to run the February half term services)
     
  8. 80104

    80104 Member

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    I bet if most heritage railways went back over their records they would find the number of good average poor days over the february half term is relatively constant.
     
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  9. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I understand the where your coming from regarding costs Patrick but I’m here on a lovely sunny afternoon wondering why if air braking trials can be arranged at relatively short notice for a certain B1 why couldn’t there be a short set working between say Kidderminster and Bewdley?

    I do apologise for if I seem to be putting the boot in regarding the SVR at the moment, but I just find that there seems to be lots of reasons not to do things at the moment, yet with a little bit of creative thinking, things could be done to sort things out regarding finances.
     
  10. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    Its easy to get into a negative downward spiral but a lot more difficult to reverse it.
     
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  11. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I doubt that there's one size fits all. It may depend on the distinction between revenue/cash on the one hand and surplus/profit on the other. For some it used to make sense to generate revenue to help defray the traditional winter cash outflow. However if cash balances are strong then it's wiser to concentrate on generating a surplus from operating and delay reopening till that can be achieved. The higher costs rise the greater the advantage of not opening too soon.
    One of the perverse effects of Covid recovery grants is that some railways have incurred substantial losses last season but are cushioned by abnormally high cash balances. However, living off windfall cash reserves is a short term strategy that may be difficult to repeat next winter. It gives them a short breathing space to get their financial house in order. The SVR appear to be taking tough action now so they can cope with next winter's cost pressures.
     
  12. Dead Sheep

    Dead Sheep Member

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    The K&ESR have experienced a successful half term week too with plenty of punters buying tickets and filling seats. There has been outside of the box thinking to attract families with store tellers travelling on the train, a collaboration with a local nature group talking to passengers about wildlife on the journey and 'kids for a quid'. They are typically targeting core passengers with new ideas and added attractions. A lot of this is down to the railway's reinvigorated spirit and new leadership.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2023
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  13. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    A little bit of PMA wouldn’t go amiss though John, I very much appreciate that certain ideas and the activities that involve them can’t just happen overnight but there are some easy wins to be/or could be had.
    I really don’t want to come across as being too critical because I know some lovely, lovely people who give their time up at the Valley and they don’t get the appreciation they deserve.
    But when I see appeals asking if I can put my hand in my pocket (yet again) I do genuinely wonder if it’s worth it?
     
  14. steam_mad

    steam_mad Member

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    Today was the last day of half term running at the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway; this was only the second season we've run at this time of year, last year being the first. Results last year weren't fantastic and there was significant debate about whether to try again this year, we eventually settled that we would give it another attempt but also try a 'Kids Go Free' offer.

    Numbers in 2023 week ended up almost 250% up on 2022, with train fare income up 170%. Several trains were full with no additional capacity despite extending the train length to the maximum permitted for regular operation on our line due to platform lengths at Manuel. Secondary spend in the Museum & Gift Shop were up considerably too. As 95% of our passengers booked in advance where we have compulsory booking questions, we know that 55% of visitors were making their first trip to the railway, so it was new customers attracted by the offer who will hopefully have had a great time and come back or recommend us to friends/family!
     
  15. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Much as my Dad wants Kiddy to sign a decent striker, I think he’d quite happily chip in to get Mr Coombes through the door at Comberton House.
     
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  16. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    As I think I’ve made clear I decided it wasn’t worth it. The management has unfortunately lost touch with a large chunk of the membership and it’s not the happy place I once knew
     
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  17. lostlogin

    lostlogin Member

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    The bigger the organisation, the harder/more expensive it must be to open up for week. If I was an operating volunteer I would probably find the SVR more appealing that the KWVR as 0ne is about 16 miles the other about 5 and the SVR has far more crossing points, signal boxes so has far potential variety in operations.

    But the KWVR is probably far easier to staff and run as whilst they have similar number of stations the SVR has, I think, 7 operating signal boxes and 3 loops to pass passenger trains the other I think just one. The SVR has catering facilities to staff at Bridgnorth, Highley, Bewdley and Kidderminster, some with shops and pubs. I am not sure of the number for the KWVR but I think it is only 1 or 2. You can run a 2 hourly service with one loco on the KWVR but would need 2 for the SVR. Similarly 2 locos and train sets on the KWVR gives you an hourly services and I expect that the paying punter would be looking to pay a fairly similar fare for each.

    It must be far easier to open up the KWVR for a week if you are not having to staff a load of catering facilities and worry about the associated staff costs

    When times are hard and funds are short I think I would much prefer to be managing the KWVR than the SVR
     
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  18. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    There’s nothing to stop the Valley opening for part of its length to balance cost with return
     
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  19. lostlogin

    lostlogin Member

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    Agreed, but you are then "selling" to the public a lesser product which may not be as appealing and which they will want a significant discount in respect of the fair. Would I pay 2/3rds of the normal fair for half the trip or just decide that I might as well wait until later in the year.

    My point was that in current the current climate, if you want to take a punt on opening the n the smaller and simpler your operation the less risk in choosing to do so.
     
  20. zigzag

    zigzag New Member

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    Not specifically related to half term opening but this is what I will be doing with the SVR this year, giving the reduced timetable offering a miss until, perhaps, it increases later in the year, as I see it as a lesser product that doesnt fulfil my needs. I will attend the galas as usual but will miss a few days out on a normal weekend where I could have a decent day out, perhaps with a riverside walk & a pint or two, as the timetable for 2023 doesnt offer that. Its not that Im short of money (although Im increasingly looking for value), and the current SVR offering doesnt fulfil my needs or value perception. Instead I will visit other lines such as WSR, GWSR, DFR, WLLR some of which I havent visited for many years, are all on the radar. I fear the SVR reduced timetables could become a self fulfilling downward spiral.
     

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