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Swanage Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Rumpole, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    As with other railways, I thought it may be a good idea to have a general update thread for things that are going on at Swanage.

    Now that the main season’s running has passed and the gala is out of the way, a lot of attention has turned to planning work for our ‘Winter Works’ programme. Among the jobs to be undertaken are a refurbishment of the Swanage station canopy, re-roofing of Swanage goods shed, construction of a new workshop for the Locomotive Carriage and Wagon departments and the construction of a new stabling point for the Wessex Belle dining train, clearing platform 1 at Swanage for more extensive use as an operational platform. Some of this work will be done by contractors, but if anyone is able to assist, any offers would be greatly appreciated.

    Work continues towards Project Wareham and the connection with the national network. A new crossing cabin has been constructed at the site of the Norden level crossing, and contractors have undertaken cable works as part of the Network Rail Dorset Coast Re-Signalling project. Possessions in connection with this work have now been handed back in time for 34067 Tangmere to arrive this afternoon, pending tomorrow’s ‘Swanage Belle’ which it works in conjunction with 70013 Oliver Cromwell. In addition, plans are being drawn up for a complete remodeling of Norden station, including re-siting of the road-rail pad and the buffet, extension of the platform and amendments to the track layout.

    From a locomotive point of view, LSWR M7 No.53 is now being used sparingly pending transfer to Herston Works towards the end of this month for an intermediate boiler overhaul, work to the bogie and a repaint. GWR 66XX No.6695 passed its annual boiler exam yesterday, while 34028, 34070 and 80104 continue to be available and performing well. Diesel-wise, the 33/1 Group’s 33111 continues to be available and performing well, while the 71A Locomotive Group’s D6515 is away at Eastleigh Works being repaired. 08 436 continues to hang to life by its fingertips, and D3591 is regrettably still marooned in Swanage engine shed owing to the failure of the turntable’s pivot cap casting.

    During planning for this year’s steam gala, a broad survey of the freight wagons around the railway was undertaken to see which ones were of use, or required limited amounts of work to bring them into a workable condition. In addition to the gala, we actually run a freight service on selected Saturdays as our Driver Experience rake, so actually our freight sees more use than on a lot of railways. Given the use they receive, and a proposal to change next year’s timetable to enable us to run a longer freight on Saturday’s, a small group are proposing to make a start on tidying up and overhauling some of our wagons, with a view to giving the railway a longer and better looking freight with more variety to add and remove wagons as suits traffic requirements. More on this to come, but again if you are interested in assisting any offers would be appreciated.

    Train services are continuing to operate on a daily basis until 4 November, then weekends through November. The motive power this month is likely to be 34028 for the next couple of weeks (except Mondays and Fridays, which will be a DMU), with 80104 on Sunday Lunch trains and then during the half term week. In addition to 80104, during half term week it is anticipated 6695 will be operating brake van rides around Swanage station limits. Any changes I will update accordingly.

    As an early heads up, consideration is being given to operating trains on weekends in January and February 2013 for the first time in a good few years. Owing to the limited passenger numbers likely at this time of year, these trains are likely to be formed of 80104 with 2/3 carriages. In light of the extra room to run round this will create, we are considering adding either a SR PMV or our newly-overhauled milk tanker to this rake, to give the look of something different but still authentic. Thinking particularly of photographers, would doing something different like this be likely to tempt you out for a trip down to Dorset?

    I hope this is of interest. Updates of all of the above projects will of course follow. Any questions I am happy to assist, or at the very least find someone who would be able to!

    Kind regards

    Nick
     
  2. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the interesting update. The Jan/Feb 2013 trains with 80104 sound rather tempting. To put the icing on the cake, will the carriages in use include the newly-restored Bulleid brake? Marshalled immediately behind 80104 going towards Swanage, it would really look the part.(and I haven't travelled in it yet.)

    I note that although there's a through train running from London to Swanage tomorrow, the annual RTC jaunt to London in November has been changed to start at Weymouth, and there's no mention of any through trains to Swanage from the charter operators who have released their early 2013 programmes. Is this because track and signalling work will be taking place between Norden and Worgret Junction? (Just my guess - I may be putting two and two together and making five!)
     
  3. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    Thanks John, using the Bulleid brake is something that can be looked at; I can't make any promises, but I will give it a go. There is also a thought that, if the turntable is back in operation then, we may look to turn 80104, evening out tyre wear and creating some different photographic opportunities to what we have normally.

    The charter in November unfortunately was on one of the dates that the SR is itself unable to accept a charter; the following week, which was when I believe it was originally advertised for, there is an engineering block at Bournemouth that would prevent the tour full stop. As for next year, pass at this stage!
     
  4. kieranhardy

    kieranhardy Well-Known Member

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    Is there any news on the push pull set restoration? I remember seeing video footage of 30053 with the set when it wasn't fit for passengers. Looked brilliant.

    And also dare i ask, what livery will the M7 be painted to?

    Cheers,
     
  5. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture

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    Oh yes. Any excuse for a day out to the south coast and the Swanage Railway.
    Thanks for the update. Very interesting. <BJ>
     
  6. Standard by 4

    Standard by 4 New Member

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    Thanks for the update, the January February trains soundinteresting, any chance these could be could be combined with a DriverExperience freight train one Saturday, having the trains crossing at CorfeCastle? Giving some good and different photo opportunities? How about lockingHarmans Cross box out, giving a “fast” not stop run from Corfe to Swanage? TheM7 livery? My vote would be BR black please!
     
  7. tholthorpe

    tholthorpe New Member

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    Yes, thanks for the update , really like the sound of the Jan/Feb trains , a standard tank on a couple of coaches , just like the old days I remember in the sixties . Great ! worth the journey down for that .

    dc
     
  8. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    As far as I am aware they waiting to see if they be able to aquire funding on this. The third open intended for use in this set was looked at by restortion thanks to someone willing to pay for it but they decieded in stead to restore a 'normal' open third instead.
     
  9. 46118

    46118 Part of the furniture

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    Nick, if it helps, when the Severn Valley ran January and February winter weekend services a few years ago, I recall they were reasonably well patronised. However inevitably they are "weather dependant", ie if you get dry cold sunny weather customers will turn up, particularly as there isn't too much competition at that time of year. However, I stress "weather dependant" for obvious reasons.
    Nowadays the SVR tends to be closed through the winter, ie from the new year to just before Easter, except for the February half-term, really due to the volume of P-Way and infrastructure work arising now. Our railways, like us, get older!

    (As a footnote, this winter "quiet period" running does give you the chance to operate small engines on short rakes, a true taste of the branch line era. At least on the SVR the high season brings longer coaching rakes, busier stations and larger engines)
     
  10. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the M7 livery, I will just check with the owners to see if the actual livery proposed can be revealed, and then I will say further. Lets just say I think it will be popular...

    Turning to the push-pull set, nothing practical has been done to date with the driving trailer (or should I say the driving trailer that is proposed to be used; we actually have two Maunsell P-P driving trailers), save for getting the vehicle under cover a couple of years ago. Work continues with investigating sources of grant funding, and I will try to get an update on this work from the project leader.

    In respect of the Maunsell open third to goes with the driving trailer, although not an authentic push-pull vehicle privately owned 1346 is currently at Ramparts for overhaul, and has been since late last year. As a stopgap until the original P-P TO (1323) is restored, it is proposed that this will run with the restored driving trailer initially, so when this contract overhaul is completed, we will be one vehicle into the set.
     
  11. oliversbest

    oliversbest New Member

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    thanks Nick for establishing this thread. As a exiled supporter it is refreshing to get updates.Is it permissible to run a SRP members train up to
    Worgret. I'm sure it would be packed!!
     
  12. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    At present, the section from Motala (about a mile on the Wareham side of Norden station) to Worgret, a distance of about 3.25 miles, is still owned by Network Rail. This was the stub of the branch that was retained for the gas trains to Furzebrook, and the Swanage Railway does not currently have access to this section. Negotiations are taking place which should towards the lease of the branch to Dorset County Council, who would then sub-lease it to the Swanage Railway (in the same way as DCC are our landlords for the section from Northbrook Road Bridge at Swanage through to Motala), but until this process is completed the SR cannot operate any trains over the section to Worgret.

    All current movements over that section of the branch are railtours or freight workings, run by established main line TOC's such as WCRC or DB Schenker.
     
  13. domeyhead

    domeyhead Member

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    I like the idea of using Driver Experience trains to run a pick up goods service. My favourite Branch line memory is of the daily goods ambling along and pottering around stations on an otherwise quiet morning.
    Wonder if the Mid Hants could try that out with a short gooods rake?
     
  14. gwr4090

    gwr4090 Part of the furniture

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    The West Somerset runs such a pick-up goods, stopping to pick-up and set-down wagons at intermediate stations. It is Steam Enginemans Course no 6.

    David
     
  15. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    They will stick two corridor conections on won't they?!?!

    We maybe in line for a small 'heritage set' now as we soon have two bulleids, maybe a Maunsell Third and the Pullman! possible wouldn't carry much passengrs though...
     
  16. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    Just to give an indication of what it looks like, there is a news story from when we started running the freight on the Driver Ex at Swanage Railway News Gallery - Page 777
    1346 will have two corridor connections. As for 1323, I am unsure what the plan is, although when I last discussed this with the project team it was indicated that this would be kept as a designated push-pull vehicle, and any additional vehicles (eg another third open to strengthen the rake) would be put between this and the driving trailer.
     
  17. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    Just to keep people up to date, 34028 Eddystone will be in traffic today, tomorrow and Thursday, with what is rostered to be a DMU only service on Friday. However, while not on a public train 6695 will be in steam and out and about that day, doing a number of crew training runs.

    From Saturday it is the start of our Family Fun Week. While this doesn't sound the sort of thing that would interest enthusiasts, we will have two locomotives in steam each day (80104 on the service train and 6695 doing brake van rides with one of our Queen Mary brake vans around Swanage), while on the Sundays we will have three locos (34028 will also be in steam doing the Sunday Lunch dining trains).

    And now, a question. Perhaps given the area that we are situated in, the majority of our visitors are the general public. While we are aware that enthusiasts do visit the railway, and some of the wonderful photographs that have had links put up to them on here show that, the railway doesn't necessarily generate the same enthusiast chatter as other railways do, which given our intense operation, varied locomotive fleet and surrounding area is potentially surprising. From your point of view as an enthusiast, what would you like to see railways, and particularly Swanage, try to do more of? What would be likely to tempt you down to this little corner of Dorset more often, or raise interest in what we do? Constructive criticism is welcomed, as without this no-one can improve, and no railway is in this business alone.

    Any responses gratefully appreciated.
     
  18. steamdream

    steamdream Member

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    the so eagerly waiting for the Wareham extension!
    kindest regards
    Noel
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Firstly,I should say that myself (and family) are moderately frequent users of the SR, probably visiting 2 or 3 times per year. However, we generally go these days fitting into the "family" market, using it as a means of getting to the beach (with easier parking at Norden), rather than as an attraction it its own right. So naturally that tends to mean we visit mainly in the railway's peak time (i.e. summer weekends) rather than perhaps going out of season, which we might do if we visited more as an attraction it its own right, and which is presumably a market the SR wishes to encourage.

    As for what would get me to visit more as an "enthusiast": simple - more heritage rolling stock. If I visit the SR, I know I am going to end up in a Mk1, and not even a particularly nicely restored one at that. Given the general 1950s atmosphere of the line, I know that restoring any of the pre-grouping LSWR carriages that exist on the line as grounded bodies is probably a non-starter; but it would be nice to look forward to if, at some point in the future, there was the possibility that the rolling stock was a nicely restored Maunsell or similar. I'd even put up with a BR livery to preserve the 1950s atmosphere :)

    Tom
     
  20. oliversbest

    oliversbest New Member

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    Any chance that the SR could lease some carriages from the IOWR to couple up to the M7. An instant period train. Also making more use of non railway assets as attractions. eg The Mowlem Theatre for a revival festival of post war drama that some of us missed. Harmans Cross village Hall for a film and local foods fest (Titfield Thunderbolt anyone?) and is that 1930's cinema in Wareham still extant?? I have always felt that the SR should have a presence at Wareham Stn.. perhaps a Birds Nest and exhibition coach for a start. 40 yrs is far too long for absolutely no vestige of our Railway at Wareham apart from the Bay platform, I think we at least owe our pioneers that!! An anniversary edition of Lawrence of Arabia is coming out this year, a screening and then a ride on a vintage double decker to Wareham and even on to Moreton, with the message "You will soon be able to do this trip by train"
     

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