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Swanage Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Rumpole, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. LC2

    LC2 Member

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    Yes am suggesting that given last year and in all likelihood the majority of this year had very little foreign travel, with this translating into more cash than was expected being spent at home of either holidays or days out.

    I have seen quite a few comments over the past year where those railways that were able to safely run last year saw more custom than they expected.

    My comment about the birth of package holidays in the 50s/60s was more to do with the impact they had on much of the UK Coastal holiday infrastructure, with B&Bs closing, and the scaling back of the Butlins / Pontins empires etc. I wasn't referring specifically to heritage railways other than being tourist attractions, they stand to benefit from another year of Staycation spend which is liable to disappear next year.
     
  2. DcB

    DcB Member

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    So from the 20th there is a new timetable with more stations reopening.
    No update on dining or Wareham trains.
    The website directions map says the Wareham service is still planned for the future.
    SWR is still keeping an Weymouth hourly service, hopefully with longer trains than 5 carriages to prevent overcrowding. Anyone changing at Wareham for Corfe or Swanage will have to get a bus. The DMUs will be stuck in sidings and hopefully training/testing will continue?.
     
  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter New Member

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    If I could hand you the reins for a moment, if the licence allowed a 90 day trial, when would you start the 90 days?
     
  4. DcB

    DcB Member

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    Ideally to get good numbers of passengers before the 2021 school summer term ends on Friday 23 July! But does not look this date will be met, maybe 2022 (when England will also win the World Cup again)
     
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  5. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Meanwhile, back in this timeline ...... ;)
     
  6. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    The last thing a heritage railway wants is for England and the other home countries to do well in the world cup. Even if they do badly the event lasts a month a tends to have a very adverse effect on passenger numbers, particularly before England get knocked out!
     
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  7. Rumpole

    Rumpole Member

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    As I said previously, due to the el cheapo nature of the Weymouth electrification, electric trains to Weymouth cannot be lengthened. There is a restriction on the length of electric trains west of Poole without special dispensation and half of the lights in Dorset dimming.
     
  8. DcB

    DcB Member

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    So the only way SWR can overcome the overcrowding problem mentioned in the Dorset Echo is to return the 30 min service, which will also help with interchange at Wareham
    In a way sad that the observation coach will not be used in in 2021 because of the single door.
    The Wareham DMUs also have a completely open interior but have several doors, so should not be a problem if passenger levels for the 4 coach DMUs allow social distancing and masks are maintained? Plus the DMUs have large windows and allow good observation of the countryside.
     
  9. Jupiter

    Jupiter New Member

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    The absence of partitions is a showstopper for the DMUs under the present COVID rules. Hopefully next week this will be relaxed, possibly down to recommending mask-wearing only. Well, you could tape off two thirds of the seats I suppose, and book a ticket. If it’s the only thing you are operating fair enough but I guess management decided to focus on steam and probably quite rightly.
     
  10. 80104

    80104 New Member

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    I note Jupiters query about the 90 day trial.

    AFAIK due to maintenance requirements the Wareham DMus can only operate 5 days per week so assuming there is no means of operating services to / from Wareham on the other 2 days per week, 90 days = 18 weeks.

    Past performance over many years shows that after about the middle of September passenger numbers fall quite sharply indeed this is reflected in the one train in operation timetable usually adopted after about the 7th of September not withstanding the transport rally or autumn gala.

    On that basis it is difficult to imagine that a Wareham service operated with the DMUs would be viable / worthwhile after that date. At best assuming the wareham service started at the end of July the best that could be hoped for would be say 6 - 7 weeks running = 30 - 35 days.

    Indeed it is sometimes difficult to envisage whether the additional revenue a service to Wareham would generate would be greater than the additional costs incurred.
     
  11. Jupiter

    Jupiter New Member

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    Would a 90 day trial be 90 operating days in total or be a 90 day continuous window in which you can operate?

    I had assumed the latter and if you call that 3 months thought it would probably be the second half of June, July, August and the first half of September.
     
  12. 80104

    80104 New Member

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    90 operating days.

    The 60 day trial (n 2017) comprised 12 weeks of 5 days per week.

    Historically the weakest days in terms of passenger numbers have been Monday and Friday.
     
  13. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, but while it is a splendid vehicle, some of us who like to combine a ride with some pictures when we visit the Swanage Railway do find it frustrating that this carriage is always marshalled at the Wareham end of the train. With 80104 now out of action, this means that it would be immediately behind the tender with every engine in the current operational fleet, as they are all operating smokebox first out of Swanage. For my point of view (and I guess I am speaking on behalf of a number of others who like their photos to look as authentic as possible) the likely absence of the observation car this year is a major incentive to visit the Swanage Railway, but I would nonetheless concede that it is sad that the single door precludes it from use for the time being, thus denying passengers the views it offers.
     
  14. Mogul

    Mogul Member

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    All those harping on about starting the 90 day trial this year, despite;
    • all the obvious issues with depressed passenger numbers on mainline rail,
    • inevitable bad covid news as infection rates soar following complete relaxation of restrictions,
    • inevitable reluctance of people to travel on public transport given the above,
    • constrained ability of SR to deliver even core steam services whilst volunteer numbers recover from the pandemic,
    • constrained finances due to be financially gutted over the last 18 months,
    • insufficient calender left in which to economically operate the 90 days,
    • the obvious and understandable caution with which the whole operation is being run at the moment,
    ........ are also completely ignoring the small fact the SR does not yet have an Operating Licence and no announcement has been made about the prospect of one being awarded in the immediate future.

    Yes its a disappointing situation, yes this saga seems to go on and on but please can we get over it and move on. Lets just be
    grateful that the Railway is still operational, has the DMUs and cross fingers for 2022.

    Edit - is there a prize for longest legal sentence in thread?
     
  15. DcB

    DcB Member

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    The depressed passenger numbers on mainline rail have now started to pick up, and the Dorset Echo reported the SWR Weymouth - London services (Edit although now hourly) are now being reported as overcrowded.

    In 2020 it was reported "was on the cusp of being granted a licence to run passenger trains to Wareham" (so most of the paperwork has been done?)
    https://www.swanage.news/coronaviru...ays-plans-to-join-mainline-in-state-of-limbo/
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  16. DcB

    DcB Member

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    This does not sound right as the DMUs do not need 2 days of maintenance. Might be in the 2017 trial the WCR crew needed a break?. If the SR get several volunteers trained then a 7 day service should be possible. The main issue is there is only one 3 carriage DMU and a limited 1 carriage DMU as backup.
    Guess if next Friday is a 2 steam train timetable, today will be the last DMU testing and training day for the summer?

    But although the vaccine has been successful, with the infection rate and hospital admittances sharply increasing, can see retired volunteers and passengers getting worried.
    No dining trains and the passenger distancing barriers remain at Swanage station.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  17. Mogul

    Mogul Member

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    It Is Right!

    Paid fitters work a 5 day week and the traffic levels on the other 2 days do not warrant the cost of employing and training additional staff.
    And before you suggest the other 2 days be covered by volunteers please stop to consider the complexity of a DMU given its air control system, main line TPWS, OTMR & GSMR, Door central locking system, the need to synchronize 6 engines. 4 control cabs (in a 4 car unit) and the fact that if it sits down on the main line and can't be quickly moved the delay minutes quickly add up to telephone numbers. Then there is the obligation to run a rail replacement bus service if a service is canceled.

    A main line operation is not playing trains and should not be considered as such. From our luxurious armchair positions could we please credit the managers of the railway with a little more knowledge and experience then we might possess ourselves and try to assume that decisions are made for sound reasons and out of a desire to survive and not just go out on a blaze of DMU mainline glory at the earliest opportunity!

    Glad to see you understand the passenger and volunteer confidence issue.

    Hear endith my input on this topic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  18. Jupiter

    Jupiter New Member

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    I'll bite. I don’t think people are "harping on" about the Wareham service, more discussing and speculating to fill the complete vacuum of real information. The Wareham operation, despite the massive funding and therefore interest, seems to be being run with the secrecy of GCHQ. Even if detailed plans aren’t available, quite reasonably given the points you raise above, then you’d have thought an occasional statement with thoughts and intentions would be appropriate. We may not all be million pound donors to this, but many of us have contributed in our own small way and so have a great interest in it.

    (You're input is very welcome in this quarter by the way, thank you.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    A look at data for Gatwick passengers (considering it was the main airport for package flights) it looks like your dates have vindicated @johnofwessex 's overall argument.

    As you can see the big increase is not so much in the late 1960s but the early to mid 1970s.

    index.png
     
  20. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    Remember the original WCRC operated trial service used 3 diesels (33025 and 37518 from WCRC and D6515 from Swanage). I can remember at least 2 days where one of these failed in service and had to be replaced. The 37 on the final afternoon of operation. Hence 33025 hauling the stock and the 37 back dead on the Monday shown below.
     

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