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SVR General Discussion

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

  1. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Images from a most enjoyable Saturday on the SVR . More chatting if truth were told than photography and catching up with so many from lineside photographers to the Railways GM was a real pleasure


    [​IMG]SVR Autumn Gala 2021 day 3 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]SVR Autumn Gala 2021 day 3 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]SVR Autumn Gala 2021 day 3 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]SVR Autumn Gala 2021 day 3 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]SVR Autumn Gala 2021 day 3 by Martin Creese, on Flickr

    [​IMG]SVR Autumn Gala 2021 day 3 by Martin Creese, on Flickr
     
  2. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    One from me at Highley yesterday ...without any inappropriate lights switched on! Busy enough I think. 20210918_132200.jpg
     
  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The 5BEL Trust have put a lot of work into achieving the correct ambience with LED lighting. Admittedly that's internal lighting, but gives the lie to any notion it's simply not possible.
     
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  4. Steam Valley Productions

    Steam Valley Productions New Member

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    [​IMG]

    YouTube Video featuring 4953 Pitchford Hall & Pannier Tank 9466




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The flipside is corporate comms that tell stakeholders that they are listening and then ignores them anyway. BS 'listening exercises' are the worst. The main aim of corporate comms seems to be to make people go away. While I don't advocate the 'drunk texting' approach to communications employed in Somerset I am not sure if corporate management speak is really a good look for a heritage railway?

    In the end the proof is in the pudding and there are two ways of measuring that - does the policy change (grievance one), do the communications improve (grievance two).

    Agree entirely. I think you look at what is being complained about and whether it has the potential to snowball. If someone who never complains then complains then I'd sit up and take notice, but conversely, I also wouldn't just dismiss someone who complains often as a serial complainer because they can often be a useful canary in the mine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
  6. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    They could do photo charters at stations if they don't want people on the lineside. There's been fantastic photos of 2857 at Arley on the Goods etc.
     
  7. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    They are no longer interested in enthusiasts, it’s not their core market as the statement said. It’s what happens when you put someone in charge who knows nothing about the heritage railway business or the passion and determination of the original enthusiasts who gave her the railway she now runs.
    All we can do is make our thoughts known and cancel our membership as I have done after 52 years.
     
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  8. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    No, it didn't. It mentioned neither enthusiasts nor core market. The rationale was, whether one agrees with it or not, risk versus low reward. See item in https://www.svrlive.com/blmar21

    For a business supposedly not interested in enthusiasts as a core market, it's just had a four-day enthusiast event. It has enthusiasts' specials on Sunday. It has another four-day enthusiasts' event starting next week.

    Employing only those from within the heritage railway business hasn't always been a guarantee of good business sense, temperament or judgement. The previous GM came from outside the heritage railway business too. Both though came from the heritage sector.

    I would, gently, suggest the original enthusiasts who gave us the railway had legacy infrastructure and plant that was 55 years younger. They had a bigger, younger pool of qualified volunteer labour and specialist suppliers. They didn't face the ORR, the same levels of H&S, a pandemic, loco overhauls at £1m or viaduct repairs at £1.3m. Their passengers had lower expectations and fewer alternatives. Theirs were different problems, and IMO today's require passion and determination but also different skills and different decisions.

    Patrick
     
  9. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Well said Patrick.

    I'm afraid all railways need to adapt and change. It isn't about ignoring enthusiasts, but ensuring our railways appeal to as broad a base as possible, as it is Joe Bloggs and family who pay the bills. They expect a heritage experience, but with 21st century toilets, modern catering facilities and probably Wi-Fi!

    On Friday I enjoyed travelling in a 1930's carriage, saw 8 perfectly restored locomotives, brought refreshments in a 'GWR' station buffet that didn't exist 3 years ago and travelled to a terminal station that many think has been there 100 years but was actually a goods yard. We must not lose sight of what we have, in my eyes the SVR is still the premier heritage railway, but none of it possible without sound foundations in every respect.

    The latest SVR News makes for sobering reading, with rising costs and continuing uncertainty. Two major unresolved engineering issues plus the challenge of keeping everything running (with the loss of Bridgnorth MPD for 6 months whilst they invest in a new roof and crane) are immediate concerns. However it also states that the railway emerges from lockdowns in a strong financial position, with new sources of income and good support for the Bridgnorth appeal. Investing in the MPD allows steam locomotive restoration to continue well into the 21st century whilst training the next generation of engineers - pretty fundamental isn't it?

    Elsewhere was calmly reported the outshopping of 6 carriages, all for front line service - some nearly a century old. How many railways can boast that?
    I would say this is a reflection of good management, especially in the face of other railway's difficulties.

    It is a shame the above poster won't have seen this having cancelled his membership.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  10. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I have seen it as my membership doesn’t run out until November. I might add that I know a few people who’ve done the same as me.
    You have actually reinforced my point. The core market are the family groups on a day out spending money on the railway but they are not the people who fund capital projects like the Bridgnorth appeal or dig into their pockets when disaster strikes, as in the floods of 2007. Charters do not make a great deal directly but it’s all cash in the till, including the add on spending in the shop and bar after the event.
    There is also another aspect to this, I don’t know if the GWS has any view on the loss of a week’s steaming fees from charter work during the visit of the Saint.
    Any railway turns it’s back on its roots at its peril.
    The excuse of H&S is a red herring, the Bluebell has a charter with both Clan Line and the Schools in October, the Mid Hants are happy to do the same as are most railways
     
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  11. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    It's a bit early for Flounce Friday isn't it? I'm sure the SVR will be grieving the loss of a fickle photographer.
     
  12. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    It's not just one member though, is it? According to the SVR General thread, membership has dropped by over 1500 over the last year, about 13%. Yes, the situation over the last 18 months hasn't helped, but that is still going to 1500 lots of at least £20 they're missing out on. If I was in charge, I'd be worried if a lot of life long members suddenly didn't renew. I know they have to appeal to a broad spectrum of people, but to alienate people who have been members for years doesn't seem the right way to go about it.
     
  13. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    The ORR has publicly said they are not stopping charters however it is up to the railways to satisfy themselves they can be run safely

    I had a very good conversation with Helen on Saturday at Kidderminster station. She is probably one of the most approachable GM's I have come across . She takes a lot of flak for decisions made by a board which contains some of the very people Johnb and others champion . She was also refreshingly honest which I very much appreciated and we talked about so many challenges the railway is facing plus the topic of charters came up .

    With regard to 4953 and any potential charters , daily running this week precluded any and the duration of any stay is dictated by the home railways requirements so it is not as simple as asking what steaming fees are lost .

    Helen has been engaging with some of the most vociferous opponents of recent changes and what has come across is that a sense of self entitlement is blinding some to the fact that the decisions have limited impact and make very clear sense . It is important if you wish to challenge any decision made that you have a sound business rationale for so doing as otherwise any credibility you have diminishes rapidly
     
  14. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    membership though is of a support organisation whose position becomes denuded the less they can support . Actually resigning in protest is really unhelpful and impacts the body that needs the needs your support to protect the things that are important
     
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  15. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Your last paragraph couldn’t be more wrong. The advantage in the early days was that the embryo railways had a lot of experience and advice from steam age railwaymen but most of us hadn’t got a clue what we were doing. When I started on what was then the Dart Valley Railway they were lucky to have the legendary retired PW inspector, Ashley Burgess to pass on his knowledge. Sadly the DVR was the first railway to be taken over by the men in suits and saw a mass exodus of volunteers as a result. Thankfully that was reversed some years ago with the new management.
    From what I can remember, on the Valley most loco crews were BR men keen to get their hands dirty on steam again but most of the volunteers were still learning. I spent the first weekend of the reopening clipping points at Hampton Loade, there was no signalling.
    On top of that, as far as the outside world was concerned we were grown ups playing trains. Official bodies treated the movement with either total indifference or outright hostility. The main objector to the SVR reopening was Shropshire County Council.
    One thing I am sure about is that had the H&S busybodies been around back then we wouldn’t have heritage railways at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  16. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think you will find that the board no longer consists of the original people you talk of, Mick York was probably the last of them to retire.
    Have you spoken to any of the volunteers? Chatting to one or two at the last Gala I got the distinct impression that the Valley is not the happy and contented place it used to be
     
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  17. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I didn’t resign in protest, the Valley is now not the sort of railway I wish to support so I have transferred my allegiance elsewhere. I’m also a member of three loco owning groups, one of which is based on the Valley.
    Of the other two, I work on one on a regular basis and the other when I can so I take offence at being described elsewhere on this thread as a fickle photographer by someone who’s profile says he doesn’t volunteer at all
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  18. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Tony Bending is still there .

    I'm probably closer to a lot of SVR volunteers than most . You are right that the changes being instigated are not universally popular but equally those views are being made to the railway management through proper channels and not via social media . My feeling is that in a number of cases the railway is listening and reflecting volunteer views in how the decisions evolve . From the weekend I was impressed by the enthusiasm and warm welcome from so many volunteers and trust me I spent a long time talking to them , more so than I did taking pictures .

    The point I made to Helen was that it is not necessarily the decision but the language used to communicate said decision that is not helping and is certainly creating unnecessary noise .
     
  19. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    it is interesting how anyone with a camera becomes a "photographer" and is immediately assumed to contribute little to the movement and to go further to have no skills or understanding .
     
  20. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    I’d stand by what I said though. The pioneers had a larger and younger pool

    The railways were a much bigger employer than now and, as you say, there were footplate and shed crew that came over.

    Photos of then and now are striking for the age profile. I doubt anyone would argue the average age is higher now than then.

    I’d also take you up in comments about the H&S environment and modern restrictions. Do read Andy Stringer’s piece in Branch Lines lately on it (I’ll post a link later).

    Patrick


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