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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. buzby2

    buzby2 Member

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    I well remember Whiston which the Swanage Railway had on loan from the Foxfield Railway in 1990:
    My aged memory recalls that it had no major problems hauling 3 or 4 coach trains between Swanage and Harmans Cross [our then limit of operations] but certain crews (me included) got 'kettle rash' from burning themselves on certain [very HOT] cab fittings until we got used to it's layout.
    Steve Turner, current HM Principal Inspector of Railways, has owned Whiston since March 1983 and was certainly on the footplate from time to time during it's sojourn 'Darn Sarf' preparing it as well as driving and firing it.
    Nice loco, although I'm not sure how much wear and tear the current operation [5 coach trains over an 11 mile round trip] would be involved.
     
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  2. buzby2

    buzby2 Member

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    Believe River Frome between the Harbour and Wareham Quay has silted up somewhat from former times.
    Although, at certain times of the tide, vessels from City Cruises Poole and Greenslade Pleasure Boats do travel this route - but you only get around 60 to 90 minutes ashore at Wareham.
     
  3. buzby2

    buzby2 Member

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    Is there much walking involved in the Totnes-Paignton-Dartmouth- Totnes round trip?
    A Swanage Circular has been discussed by all parties, I believe, but is not a great experience at both the Poole and Swanage ends.
    Route 40 bus stops at Poole Bus Station which is around a 10 - 15 minute walk away from Poole Quay. Morebus Route One [Poole Circular] used to serve the Bus Station as well as stop right outside City Cruises ticket office on the Quay - but that part of the Quay is now traffic free so a walk of up to 5 minutes is involved.
    There's a walk of around 10 minutes or so between Swanage Pier and Swanage Station.
    All OK unless walking is not your strongpoint of course.
     
  4. gz3xzf

    gz3xzf New Member

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    Lovely video, showing how much has changed in 30 odd years, I was interested to note the running time from Harmans to Swanage was around 15 minutes, the timetable today shows 10 in both directions. I think the railway should be proud of what it has achieved.
     
  5. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    Probably not an awful lot different to us using them over a 20+ mile round trip. They don't like it an awful lot, but they do it. Water might be the issue, as we water twice on a round trip.
     
  6. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    Whilst agreeing with what you fundamentally say, my wife and I are avid cruisers but hardly ever use the ships itinery, choosing to make our own way. In Crete a few years ago, we spent 10 Euros getting to Spinalonga (maybe spelt wrong) those that paid for the trip paid 100 euros. As long as the advertising is good enough people who want to travel on SR will find a way to do so.
     
  7. 80104

    80104 New Member

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    Yes Daddsie71B I am not surprised at what you do because of the saving. Some relatives of mine are also avid cruisers and like you choose to make their own way, doing copious research re local buses, trains, taxi fares etc etc. They express surprise though how few other "cruisers" do this, with the vast majority seemingly content to pay the high prices for organised excursions. There does appear to be some sort of trend by nationality with Americans rarely making their own way.

    You make the comment "as long as the advertising is good enough" and therein lies the rub. To attract "cruisers" not only do you have to get the attraction in front of them but also the means of getting to and from the cruise ship*. The cruisers are likely to be non uk nationals and therefore you have to advertise where inbound tourists are likely to look. This means perhaps advertising on Visit Britain / Visit England etc. Not cheap. Likewise if you seek to attract inbound tourists whose first language is not english you need to promote in their native tongue. Again not cheap. Fundamentally the issue is that these potential visitors are not low hanging fruit. There is a very real risk that more will spent trying to attract them than the total revenue generated.

    IMHO heritage railways are better off improving the marketing and product offering for the biggest market (those within say a 2 hour drive of the attraction) who may come year in year out possibly even multiple times a year than the one off customer.

    *Having said that a dedicated web page advising how to get from Poole Port to Swanage / Corfe Castle and likewise Portland Port to Swanage / Corfe Castle would be worth the effort.
     
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  8. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    I agree on all your points of costs potentially outweighing the revenue gained. It may become an easier sell with a Wareham link, but even then it wil rely on passenegrs making their own way to Poole Station (taxi or bus). The current bus offerings as mentioned are not very friendly especially now the 40 has been shoved over to the coach part of the bus station and then neither the Norden or Corfe bus stops are that close to the respective stations. I think for non english speakers it would all become in the too difficult category.
    Talking of Wareham I see from the latest Purbeck Gazette that Jack Wilshire Head of Highways has stated
    "We're looking to build a shared use footway/cycleway over the existing road bridge. This would be delivered using a mix of local developer contributions and national funds".
    This sounds like a kick it down the road solution and also I believe is unacceptable to Wareham Council who want a flat crossing.
    I guess it may be a while until that siding is accessible.
     
  9. oliversbest

    oliversbest New Member

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    Interesting thread. Because I am somewhat familiar with rail and bus options that is how I travel in the UK. Its the simple things in life that can be easy. Catch a bus from Swanage and get off at Kingston where a beautiful church complete with a lovers tale can be viewed. The Scott Arms has a great view over to Corfe, Then a downhill walk to Corfe along a traffic free road and a pint in the Bankes Arms garden as the engine pulls out for Norden. If you are younger do it in the other direction; much better than any boring gym!
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I can see why as a cruise passenger you might just choose to take the shore excursions on offer and not research your own. It's an expensive trip to start with, so I suspect that a good proportion of those going aren't massively price-sensitive. Add to that if you are going on a multi-country cruise, each country will have its own foibles of how local transport works, how reliable it is, deals on offer etc. If you end up paying £50 for a bus trip to an attraction you could have got for £5 by walking round the corner, what you are paying for is convenience. For many people, that's worth paying.

    Tom
     
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  11. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    But there are two points there though
    1) English is your first language I assume and you undearstand how are quaint public transport systems work.
    2) You are familiar with the area.

    The other thing about organised tours for cruise passengers is that it is likely the ship will wait or they will make arrangements for you all to catch up if you are delayed. If you are on your own and you miss the ship, that is your fault.
     
  12. 80104

    80104 New Member

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    Yes all excellent points, however the huge growth of cruise ship capacity over the past few years has resulted in a shift in cruise companies business models. They are now having to selectively discount (in some cases quite heavily) to fill cabins. The passengers who purchase those cabins tend to be more price sensitive and thus more likely to DIY excursions. The cruise companies are having to earn more ancillary revenue and this has forced up the prices of excursions. Thus even more passengers are likely to consider diy excursions.

    It would be interesting to know what % of passengers do purchase shire excursions and what % just disembark at the port whether tied up alongisde or by the transfer launches.

    From a SR perspective having services to / from wareham would increase the ability to attract patronage especially those who choose not to drive / prefer to use public transport.
     
  13. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    Portland Port does have quite a healthy number of visiting vessels - https://www.portland-port.co.uk/cruise+calendar. Whether this will continue in a (hopefully) post-covid climate remains to be seen.

    However Portland harbour to Norden, let alone Swanage, would be over an hour by coach.
     
  14. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The thing that strikes me about that list is how variable the passenger loadings are - everything from 114 passengers to 4842 passengers, and some on the same day, ie 5th Sept sees 6200 people arriving. You either have too few people to make it worthwhile or too many to make it possible.

    Most tend to be in port for 11 or so hours the shortest being 8 hours, so I think there would be time, but I don't know how it compares to the other tours that are offered and how much travelling there is compared with the alternatives.

    As has been said, there are probably other markets out there that are easier to crack and to build an operation around.
     
  15. 80104

    80104 New Member

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    Yes some very large capacity cruise ships indeed.

    As I indicated in my earlier email one of the challenges is for Swanage Railway to form part of a package which would be appealing to cruise ship passengers. The railway itself is not enough. Bearing in mind that an excursion which included Swanage Railway would be competing against for example an excursion to Bath and Longleat or possibly Bath and Stonehenge.

    This is the type of project where someone needs to sit down, thoroughly research and understand what the market wants and what can be delivered, form partnerships with other attractions which could form part of the package and be able to persuade the excursion organisers to buy the package which includes SR.

    I am not saying it cant be done, but many attractions have found the cruise market a tough nut to crack because of the constraints imposed by cruise companies and the excursion organisers. It will take time and effort and even then may not be viable or there may be more promising markets to tackle.
     
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  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Something to add is that building everything around cruise ships can alienate non-cruise ship customers. I recall visiting one place where when a cruise ship was in you couldn't book a table, book a ride etc because everything had been booked previously by the cruise company/reps etc. Unless you have lots of excess capacity to carry your regular traffic plus the cruise ship passengers then your every day traffic would lose out unless you capped it.
     
  17. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    Too true we were in Madeira one year and were told by our hotel not to bother going into Funchal on the day one of the Cunard ships pitched up.
     
  18. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how long it would take the 08 to get from Bournemouth to Weymouth, as displayed by those discs? I think it may be the first time I have ever seen them on an 08 other than when they top and tailed the dining train during the loco shortage in 2017 and the full line brake van rides at the 2016 diesel gala.
    Also the Standard 2 crossing New Barn Bridge with the final service of the day on September 3. IMG_7076.JPG IMG_7072.JPG
     
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  19. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    The majority of excursions from Portland Port go to Stonehenge, well over an hour away from Portland
     
  20. bishdunster

    bishdunster New Member

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    In the 1970s there used to be a (Saturday?) night working of an 03 and brake van from Weymouth to Eastleigh to swap locos over, presumably for servicing, the crews hated getting landed with that turn. I am reliably informed that prior to departure the crew scoured the yard to find a wooden chair key ;):eek:!!!
     

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