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Swanage Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    On Facebook just now[​IMG]


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  2. 80104

    80104 Member

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    A lot of comments on the Facebook Appeal commenting on
    1. the "high fares" putting off patronage. (and no discount for locals)
    2. the removal of the Birds Nest Buffet carriage from Swanage.

    It may help Swanage Railways cause if they responded to some of these comments.
     
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  3. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    As we know about keyboard warriors on here, poor old Swanrail getting a battering from FB aficionados.
    No discounted fares for locals, oh yes there is, no season tickets, oh yes there is; £99 which included Wareham.
     
  4. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    Smart looking guard
     
  5. 80104

    80104 Member

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    The £30 Swanage Railway Railcard originally was available to locals only. It gave 1/3rd off standard fares. However it was changed IIRC 2018 so that anyone could purchase it thus broadening its appeal.

    There have also been multi day passes aimed at (but not exclusively for) holidaymakers.

    AIUI take up off these types of tickets has been very low indeed.

    EDIT Demand by "purbeckians" to travel on SRC has always been quite low probably because of the relatively greater appeal of the bus (frequency, days of operation and fare levels). Those who wished to travel by SRC frequently would probably be an SRT member and take advantage of the fare concessions through that channel. As regards holidaymakers the target market was really those staying in the campsites close to the line as they could use that in preference to their car. However it really needed a more intense marketing campaign and buy in from the camp site owners to boost sales.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2023
  6. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Maybe, alternatively it tells you that the discounted local fares or the season tickets are not being marketed effectively, or we can ignore that and pretend everyone is a keyboard warrior.
     
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  7. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    Certainly indicates a gap in effective marketing.

    Also the comments on Polar Express , is it reaching the end of its novelty aspect, seems on other railways Santa trains and Steamlights though are generally selling quite well, Steamligts probably appeals to a greater group of people, even adults will find it appealing as something different to a normal train trip.
     
  8. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Well-Known Member

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    Swanage has done steamlights for the past 2 years. The move to Polar Express this year is basically because there is more money in it. Tickets cost £54 per person I think, and bookings do seem to be filling up. It’s run by an external company, but the SR must get a decent cut of that £54.
     
  9. 80104

    80104 Member

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    SRC used to have banners, posters and leaflets for these products (as it did for events and other "products" eg Wessex Belle ) but since COVID SRC has embraced an almost 100% digital marketing philosophy.
     
  10. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Well-Known Member

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    That marketing policy is something that definitely needs to be looked at by the SR. It’s easy to blame covid and cost of living etc, but the change in marketing policy also directly coincides with the fall in visitor numbers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2023
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  11. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    So apart from some "jibe" are you claiming all the catering staff are paid at the IOWSR. So are they just paid minimum wage?
    Where else could they work nearby, where is the nearest pub or cafe? Rather more competition here with 4 pubs, various bars, numerous cafes.
    That is before you get to the 4 pubs and three cafes in Corfe.
    Not sure I see much apples and apples comparison there.
     
  12. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    You have nailed it sir
     
  13. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Yet according to @goldfish and a couple of others on here I am only about one of a few luddites who does not have a smartphone and still carry's cash. So if there are so few of us then surely the railway must be providing what everybody needs now, i.e. digital
     
  14. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    I don’t think it’s as black and white as that. Digital marketing has its place and is a growing format, but at the same time that doesn’t mean traditional marketing cannot complement it. With a generally older visitor dynamic maybe in 30 years it might be different. That however is only part of the issue which in the case of the local ticketing and annual passes is that regardless of what format it’s in, it’s failed to meet its target audience, as the posts on Facebook reveal, interesting as that’s exactly the type of digital marketing which has been the focus.
     
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  15. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Well-Known Member

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    Yes maybe 99% of people have smart phones these days, and will be able to look up the Swanage Railway online. However they will only do that if they know it exists in the first place.

    Many thousands of people holiday in the Bournemouth / Weymouth area each year. If they see a Swanage Railway poster / leaflet up in their holiday accommodation, they might be tempted to visit. Otherwise they might not even know it’s there.

    Even if physical marketing only increased custom by 5000 visitors, that is still an additional £100k ish in revenue.
     
  16. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    The problem is the response will not be what those complaining will want to hear
    Lots of talk about the bus being £2 and although that is supposed to finally finish on Dec 31, I suppose in an election year it may get extended. If it gets extended you would have to go to Corfe more than once a week that the railway operates to find the season ticket cheaper, even assuming that does not increase.
    So Wareham to Hamworthy is 5 miles, so basically Swanage to Corfe, and yes the fare is £5 return. Do these people really feel that a Heritgae Line should be charging £5 return?
    But other than this year, where Wareham ran what we are talking about is a journey from those who live near enough to the station at either Swanage or Corfe wanting to go to the other end of the line.
    A locals fare is of little use if you live in Langton Matravers or Kingston and for a lot of the year if you live in Harmans Cross other than in Haycrafts Lane or near Foley's (albeit there you only get a bus in the high summer anyway). No attraction in a locals fare if you live say halfway between Swanage and Herston when the bus stops all along the High Street yet you would have to walk to either Swanage Station or Herston Halt.
    My wife read out some Facebook posts about the Birds Nest, yet back pre Covid when I was running her business and going to the Post Office everyday, strange that I rarely happened to see lots of locals sitting there. Even back in 2014 when we were in the throws of having the house renovated and we were coming down a lot we would pop in before the first service, yet strangely very few people there at that time of day either.
    On Monday I as usual had to wait for Boots to cough up the prescription on Monday, and wandered past McAllisters, regarded by many as the best cafe in Swanage, yet virtually empty, so where are all the Bids Nest customer going to come from?
     
  17. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant Well-Known Member

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    If anything, the fractured nature of modern marketing has made newsletters and print adverts more effective. I dont want to see a tour announcement or new product several days later on Hellbird App or any Meta product (Dont use creepy Chinese video app so thats wasted on me) when an email to my inbox is infinitely more effective.
     
  18. goldfish

    goldfish Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’m not sure what I did to get dragged into this…

    I can’t speak for all smartphone users, clearly, but I also go outside and see posters, spot adverts in magazines, receive mail through the post, etc..

    My phone isn’t my only window on the world, and some things are more likely to reach me through other channels, including broadcast media, traditional media or offline advertising.

    As others have said, 100% online promotion risks missing a bundle of people, including a percentage of the digitally literate who might not see your campaign.

    Simon
     
  19. 80104

    80104 Member

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    SR needs to respond to these by pointing out:
    1. the positives of the season ticket, 30% off railcard, Kids for a quid, family tickets.
    2. that the fares charged reflect the experience of travelling on a heritage railway (by steam train) and where appropriate the costs of providing the service.

    There could be some positive pr by holding a locals day or weekend in the low season (but put on a 2 train service) with some very attractive low fares to give the railway the opportunity get its message across to the locals.

    One question that needs to be resolved though is the long term future of Wareham. We cant play the hokey kokey with it because some of the locals find this somewhat annoying and that is hardly surprising because they dont think SC has fulfilled its promises.

    The public may not like what they then hear but SRC should not be afraid of stating what it offers and why. I am sure we all know that SRC is a tourist attraction heritage railway and any use by locals for social / domestic purposes is purely incidental though we need to welcome and embrace that use.

    The patronage of the Birds Nest Buffet was variable to say the least and suffered from a very peak demand between 12:00 and 14:00. Either side of that there was comparatively modest trade. The new layout introduced prior to its closure and subsequent move to Corfe castle has improved its ergonomics considerably. There is very little cafe traffic out of the main season and certainly not a viable proposition for the BNB.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2023
  20. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    Even if I knew what the rates paid were there is no way they could be published here! Catering staff are paid.
    There is one pub at Havenstreet and two at Wootton.
     
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