If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

SVR General Discussion

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

  1. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    1,069
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I was thinking similar - surely they must bring in more income than that?

    Sent from my SM-G770F using Tapatalk
     
  2. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    1,631
    Location:
    Powys
    Current membership stands at 10837, as always published in the latest SVR news that dropped through my door last week. Perhaps Johnb hasn't seen this as he is no longer a member!?! This is slightly up compared to the previous report (also published in the SVR news), they were however running an offer throughout January.
    This is still a very substantial number, but
    membership has however been dropping for a number of years, but I don't think this is related to the cancellation of photo charters and has been a steady, but gradual decline. A lot of younger folk, families and local residents were taking out the repeat visit offer, which has now been withdrawn in favour of a push towards membership - a decision I think is risky. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on membership. If it doesn't that would be worrying as that would mean potentially losing repeat business from that younger audience.
    Membership (&volunteering) used to be pushed in the timetable leaflet, but you would struggle to find it publicised unless you look for it on the website these days.
    Another factor maybe the success of the recent share issues which also offer travel privileges, occasional visitors may feel that being a shareholder gives a suitable privilege but at no ongoing cost. Management response has been to increase the threshold of the privileges, so they maybe recognising this.
     
    Johnme101 and Bluenosejohn like this.
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    23,518
    Likes Received:
    47,043
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    On the Bluebell, photo charters still run. Something I’ve noticed (in as much as any trends can be drawn from a very odd last couple of years) is what appears to be an increasing pattern of running charters either very early or very late (e.g. night time) using the loco that would be the service engine for the day - in that way the marginal cost is lower, and so the contribution makes more of an impact. The charter might be the difference between a couple of thousand in revenue or not for what is really the marginal cost of the coal. There were some good night time photos that came out of the last Giants of Steam gala (including one I used from @Johnb) that were based on shed with locos that were being kept in light steam overnight anyway; the direct cost of that must have been minimal.

    Tom
     
    green five, horace, Paul42 and 3 others like this.
  4. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    11,066
    Likes Received:
    8,367
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    That's an entirely different form of photo session from the more usual charters where a loco and train is provided with runpasts, etc. These can be a nightmare requiring a lot of organising and management. You need a train crew, signal box(es) to be manned, and a liaison person on the ground on the day and someone's time in organising in in the first place.
     
  5. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    12,525
    Likes Received:
    13,209
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired, best job I've ever had
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    On the Valley it’s normally been a travelling signalmen which was the RO on the ground, on the Worth Valley I think it was worked as an engineers possession. What organisation is required?
    As I said, more serious is when a railway management falls out with its volunteers and I have seen evidence of this happening
     
  6. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,762
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Your idea of costs is, to put it very kindly, very much lightweight and frankly in cloud cookoo land. At your level of suggested income the real costs of operating such an event would quite likely not be met, particularly so with current coal costs.
    There is another aspect to this which does'nt get mentioned and that is the thrashing of locos at these events which can occur to create some sort of spectacle. Not all loco owners are content with that continuing.
    For the record I am a SVR volunteer and your suggestion that "no one seems to be happy with the new regime.." is rather wide of the mark.
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    11,066
    Likes Received:
    8,367
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It may have been done under an engineers possession on the Worth Valley but I'd whisper it because I don't think the ORR are very keen on such things just because it is convenient. What engineering reason was there that meant that they couldn't operate normally? Just curious. I'm also presuming that you walked to the various sites and didn't ride in the train. Passengers in an engineering possession? Never!
    You also seem to think that volunteers are 'free'. They're not. They are giving their time for the benefit of the railway, not you. I, and others, would like to see a good return on that time, not just a few quid. £350/day seems reasonable to me without being OTT which is effectively the cash equivalent of my donation of time to the railway.
    So totting up:
    Coal - say 2 tons at todays price of £350/T = £700
    Loco hire or an accounting cost where not hired £700
    Driver, fireman, guard and a signalman/liaison @ £350 ea = £1400
    Management time. Lets be generous and make that inclusive
    So that tot's up to £2,800 which is a bit short of your £2,400 @ £80 ea.
     
    Aberdare and Bluenosejohn like this.
  8. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,762
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Plus a contribution to rolling stock, bridges & infrastructure, p/way, S&T etc none of which come free and all of which get some wear & tear from the event. In reality photo charters, whilst producing some income, have effectively been subsidised for years by host railways.
     
    pmh_74 likes this.
  9. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    2,376
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    East Grinstead
    Also on the pre covid full day charters I have had breakfast and lunch in the Bessemer Arms. The shop and the Bulleid shop have been open on some days.
     
    Jamessquared and Matt37401 like this.
  10. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    12,525
    Likes Received:
    13,209
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired, best job I've ever had
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I think you’re adding cost that don’t exist, the driver, guard and signalman would be volunteers so I can’t see any costs there., it’s why we all put a fiver in the whip for the crew. All the crews I’ve met are doing it for enjoyment, if they didn’t enjoy it they wouldn’t volunteer. The loco hire is recycled into the movement and helps to keep it running.
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    20,464
    Likes Received:
    16,522
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    But @Steve is a volunteer considering what he sees the value of his volunteering to be, and the return it needs.

    Personally, as a volunteer weighing up my contribution, I’d also want to be sure that all staff involved were volunteers - and didn’t need to be backfilled by permanent staff in other roles.

    Without fully agreeing with Steve, we easily forget how other hidden costs can emerge, and how volunteer time is often a scarce resource.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    23,518
    Likes Received:
    47,043
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I appreciate the wear and tear arguments. However, the flip side: provided a charter covers the marginal cost of operation, is it better to have that income (helping cash flow) if the alternative is zero income?

    In other words, if you reckon it costs £2000 to operate a train and 30 people are willing to pay £80 each, surely that is better than not operating the train? Some (not all) of the west and tear cost is time-based, not mileage based: for example, your annual contribution to cover repaints of rolling stock or maintenance of S&T infrastructure has to be made whether they are stationary or moving. In which case, the more remunerative days you have, the better.

    The other intangible is volunteer morale: in my experience, many people overhauling stock are doing it because they want to see it in use. One way to keep, say, a wagon gang motivated is to ensure that the wagons periodically run: a charter is one way to offset the cost of that running.

    The key seems to me to find a way in which they can run while keeping the marginal cost down: doing so on a day when the loco would be in traffic anyway is one way to do so.

    Tom
     
    Major Midget, dsw123, Paul42 and 9 others like this.
  13. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    10,012
    Likes Received:
    16,436
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I agree with Tom, as a roster clerk I'm not convinced we should be attaching a "volunteer cost" to photo charter in the way Steve describes. 8n my experience there's an awful lot of people who'd be queueing up to do something a little bit different to the ordinary run of the mill operations.
     
    Paul42, horace and Johnb like this.
  14. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    12,525
    Likes Received:
    13,209
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired, best job I've ever had
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I’m sure you’re right, I’ve just spent two days as a volunteer and look on it as a privilege not something to attach a value to
     
  15. Simon Smith

    Simon Smith New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2022
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    South West
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Whilst charters have to cover their costs there are other non financial benefits such as publicity material etc
     
    Matt37401 likes this.
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    23,518
    Likes Received:
    47,043
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Indeed. A bit of anecdata: a couple of months ago, a rostering request came round for two days photo charter on No. 263 - that was a week or two before it went out of traffic, so was likely to be your last chance to get on it for a while. I replied with availability four minutes after the request had been sent, and was too late. That suggests little difficulty rostering crews for such events.

    Personally, I think it is harder to roster out-and-out commercial events such as Santas and train of lights type things, since - essential as they are for commercial viability - my sense is that crews tend to do them more grudgingly than something like a photo recreation.

    Tom
     
    ykin01, Paul42, YorkyLad and 3 others like this.
  17. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,364
    Likes Received:
    8,170
    Occupation:
    Nosy aren’t you?
    Location:
    Nowhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I remember our conversation about this Paul, and I agreed with you, if your in a position like the SVR that has decent catering facilities at either end that are open 365 days of the year then it encourages a secondary spend, a thirsty bunch of 30 to 50 people spending at least an extra fiver or tenner in somewhere that’s already open isn’t a bad thing.
     
  18. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,364
    Likes Received:
    8,170
    Occupation:
    Nosy aren’t you?
    Location:
    Nowhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    That was my point in my post that seems to have sparked off this debate.
     
  19. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    6,836
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There's certainly been times on photo charters where I've spent more in the cafe and the shop than the cost of the actual charter itself.
     
    Paul42 and steamingyorkshire like this.
  20. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,364
    Likes Received:
    8,170
    Occupation:
    Nosy aren’t you?
    Location:
    Nowhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I hope someone from the SVR reads your post and takes it into account.
     

Share This Page