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Swanage - Wareham / Purbeck Community Rail Partnership October'11 minutes

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by nigelss, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. ady

    ady New Member

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    As far as I aware at present, only Corfe Castle need to be open for a basic shuttle, as Harmonds can be switched out (and often is) and Swanage as a 'King Lever' to allow it be out of use during evening trains.
     
  2. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    I don't think you would be able to run a regular "normal" passenger service on the Swanage without it impacting upon the core steam operation. This is where the line makes its cash, and you wouldn't want the tourist train timetable compromised by a commuter service.

    In my opinion the most logical scenario would be for early morning and late evening services from Swanage to Wareham to be worked through by heritage DMUs operating under the terms of the LRO, i.e. 25mph. During the day, the DMUs could run a Wareham-Norden shuttle connecting with the steam service.

    This would provide Swanage with its regular passenger link to the main line, albeit in a way that during the day could not compete with bus times if a change was involved at both Wareham and Norden for the rail traveller. Given that the majority of potential passengers during the daytime would be tourists, however, would this matter so much?
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Swanage already run an eveninig service during the summer months with trains running past 11.00pm so that is no problem at that end of the day. If a signalman is required throughout that time it will have to be double shifted and, presumably, it will be fairly easy to extend signalmans hours to allow early morning starts. The Park & ride has proved to be a successful enterprise and I'm sure that running to Wareham will follow suit. There are obviously a lot of possible options for any service to Wareham and I'm sure that the management of the SR will have done their business models and know what they are doing.
     
  4. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Dorset County Council have put £3 million towards the signalling required for the re establishment of regular services between Swanage and Wareham. With that kind of money invested in the project, I'm pretty sure DCC expect a proper regular train service. I don't think there is any way they would accept what you are suggesting. Some way will have to be found to run the regular Wareham services down the whole line, alongside the steam services to Norden.
     
  5. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I wonder not just about ordinary commuter types being willing to put up with 1st gen DMUs, but if you establish a regular through the day service whether with heritage or modern DMUs, how many passengers will you take off the "heritage" service. I imagine that the fare for the "ordinary" service to Wareham will have to be less than the Swanage charge for a trip over their line currently. How do you ensure that the steam and heritage DMU services can continue to attract enough customers to keep the railway viable. Might a family of four wanting a trip over the line, perhaps whose main interest is the beach, look at the two prices and conclude that the cheaper one provides almost the same fun at 1/2 the price? After all they can still look at the steam engine as they go by. What do you think?

    Also the operational and engineering issues of a commuter service versus the current service are a step change, and more so if the speed limit is raised.

    In theory the SR could raise the speed limit, but the safety case would be entirely different and some of the exemtions currently enjoyed might not be retained.

    I don't care much about the commuter service being viable or not. I care more that the rest of what has been built up isn't jeopardised.
     
  6. Gwenllian2001

    Gwenllian2001 New Member

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    First generation DMUs are, without exception, far more comfortable and spacious than anything that replaced them. Think sprung seats; leg room and uninterrupted views.

    Meic
     
  7. domeyhead

    domeyhead New Member

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    It is of course subjective Gwenllian but the only modern DMU I think of as comfortable are the "old" 165 turbostars! However if you are referring to the abysmal Crosscountry 220/221 voyagers then I totally agree. The reason I am such a fan of the Desiros is that the ergonomic positioning of the seat allows people of different heights (and builds) to recline or to adopt a number of different recumbent positions. The old "bouncy" seats eg on the thumpers tended to keep you sat more upright and of course the springs do emphasise bumps in the track rather than damp them. But I am wrongly assuming that a passenger would change onto SWT stock at Wareham which they might not have to if a direct DMU train service to Poole or even Bournemouth was offered (now that might attract more custom!).
     
  8. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    What's the market for a "commuter" service? Would it not be much quicker for people working in Bournemouth and Poole but living in Swanage to go by bus via the chain ferry?

    Another idea: does the ex-Brockenhurst stopping service on the mainline still terminate at Wareham? Once the signalling at Furzebrook is in place, could this train continue to a turnback siding at Norden or a new station closer to the junction, connecting with a steam service to Swanage? I realise this would involve a little addiitonal electrification, but it would mean that passengers could travel to Swanage with only one change of train.
     
  9. laplace

    laplace New Member

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    No: except for the Saturday 0610, everything that goes past Poole goes all the way to Weymouth. Having 3rd rail to Norden would also be a safety hazard for the heritage services, as well as expensive.
     
  10. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    When South West Trains showed an interest in running the service to Swanage a few years ago, they did propose running it as an extension of the Brockenhurst stopping service. The plan was to replace the EMUS with a class 158/159, rather than electrify the Swanage branch!

    This could well be what ends up happening, but who runs the service and with what stock is up in the air at the moment.
     
  11. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Totally missing the point. It doesn't matter what or who runs the service. What matters is whether it competes with, and takes traffic away from the core business of running the heritage service. I am struggling to see how a regular service through the day could be priced and operated in such a way as the core service wouldn't be damaged. A service morning and evening might be ok, but will that meet the need? In fact what is the "need"? I'm not being flippant, but is there a real definable need?
     
  12. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I had a relative who lived in Swanage for many years and commented that the train was the sensible option if you needed to travel beyond Wareham. If the intention was to shop in Wareham then you took the bus because the railway station was in a dip whilst the shops were at the top of the hill. The bus took you nearer the action, which is the old old story of the branch line versus the bus.
     
  13. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    I wasn't suggesting electrification of the entire branch! The creation of an electrified turnback siding at the very top of the branch close to Worgret Junction could suffice, if there was room for a simple cross platform halt to be built. One side would be electrified and the responsibility of Network Rail and the other side the Swanage Railway, maybe a bit like Smallbrook on the Isle of Wight.

    If Mohammed can't go to the mountain, maybe the mountain could go to Mohammed?!
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    You could have argued that point in terms of the NYMR and going to Whitby. A lot of people did. The fact is that NYMR Whitby operations now form a core part of the whole operation and this runs in close harmony with the original core business. In many ways, Swanage - Wareham is a mirror image of Pickering - Whitby. There's no reason why it shouldn't work.
     
  15. domeyhead

    domeyhead New Member

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    Interesting point as it illustrates the debate here. You could argue that the heritage element never really needed the connection and certainly didn't need the £3m investment. If running a heritage ie a museum line is all you are interested in it doesn't matter where you run or when you run except in so far as you might get a few more visitors coming on the odd through excursion. However there are many even in the preservation movement (I am one of them) who dream of seeing "their" heritage railway fulfilling its original purpose once more as a useful piece of integrated transport infrastructure, and I suspect every preserved line has a small(?) group who dream not just of steam but of the day when their line is one day home to "real" passengers and real trains once more. I know the Swanage has always had a group who dreamed that the line would one day live again as a "proper" railway and it is clear that Dorset CC would not invest taxpayers money in resignalling the junction just so Tornado can come and visit once a year. I would prioritise the "normal" trains above the heritage operation, and you clearly see the priority reversed. In truth neither and both of us is right, but let us hope we can work together for the common good to ensure that we are both happy with the combined outcome and the line continues to thrive.
     
  16. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Apart from the fact that instead of running onto the end of a relatively quiet branch line, you would be running onto a relatively busy main line and would be unlikely to get the same derogation for OTMR etc.
     
  17. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Kingscross (and several other people) I think you are missing the point of what 'Project Wareham' is trying to achieve.

    The plan is to reopen the whole branch as a proper railway, with regular DMU services direct from Swanage to Wareham and perhaps beyond. They have not spent £3 million of taxpayers money just to create an interchange between Swanage railway and South West Trains.

    Yes there will be challenges running regular 'normal' trains alongside Swanage steam services, but it is fully intended that is what will happen.
     
  18. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Member

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    It is acknowledged that the Swanage - Wareham (or beyond) will be run as a seperate company than that of the Swanage Railway Company so as to protect the core business. If the mainline running gets into financial trouble (it can happen) it wont affect the Swanage Railway Co.
     
  19. twr12

    twr12 Member

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    Couple of points:-
    The 121 Car at Swanage has TPWS, but not OTMR or CDL. At least it had a full mechanical overhaul in 2005 and body overhaul in 2009!
    Whitby is an integral point of NYMR operation because it is STEAM. If NYMR ran a DMU Grosmont - Whitby, it would be no where near as busy. Or would it?
     
  20. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    Domeyhead, said many "dream" of their railway fulfilling its original purpose. I appreciate that, and I am all in favour of more rail travel. But consider that there is a viable railway there now, which might be less viable if it gets involved in running "ordinary" services.

    The comparison with the NYMR is not like for like. The NYMR have extended their heritage operation over NR to access a new area with more customers. The Swanage scheme will either extend services from the network onto the SR or result in the SR (or a subsidiary or associate company) operating services over the SR at least to some extent in competition with the Heritage services, onto the network. The NYMR is not attempting to operate a transport service and is bringing passengers to it's own line and operation. Apples and Pears.

    Unless the SR can figure out a clever scheme to dovetail the services and price attractively, and maintain the uniqueness of a trip over the line on a heritage service the "dream" could easily be a bit more of a "nightmare". To Hitch's point, the fact that the trip to Wareham is probably not what "ordinary" passengers will be using the line for, but will want to be travelling further afield may be what allows the "difference" to be maintained. Perhaps by not stopping the "ordinary" services at the intermediate stations.

    If your dream is to prioritise the transport function over the heritage/entertainment function, fine. But be aware that this earns a lot less per mile or per passenger, and demands much higher standards of reliability and punctuality. And if that is your dream are you prepared to see the SR revert to purely the former? How much success with the "ordinary" services can you live with? What if there was no operational room left for the "heritage" services, if the paths left, and the customers left after the "ordinary" trains have been run leaves room for only a minimal "heritage" service, or none at all? I'm not saying don't. I'm just saying that the easiest and simpliest bit, is the part we all like talking about most.....which rolling stock, loco, signalling etc. And Domeyhead is right I would prioritise the "heritage". It has earnt its right to exist the hard way and without it there would be no railway at all.
     

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