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The Talyllyn in trouble ?

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Baldwin, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    Apart from the reconstruction at wharf which removed a lot of the station's charm, most of the lines character has virtually stayed the same over the years. The way forward now is online, an aggressive advertising policy and maybe more collaboration with the Corris.
     
  2. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

  3. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

  4. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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  5. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    The phrase "changing passenger numbers", is this a hint of a forthcoming train reduction ? If so it's not reducing the number of trains the solution but finding more customers, the publicity department needs to get it together right now before the season starts with a whole new range of ideas made to bring in new trade, some of these ideas have already been discussed on this forum. For me, reducing trains is the easy way out and is only avoiding the problem, maybe at the end of the day what's needed is a whole new change of management, starting with the advertising and publicity department.
     
  6. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    More (or better) publicity isn't necessarily the answer, and it may not be fair to simply blame the advertising/publicity department. They can be leafleting, advertising and press releasing as much as they like, but the railway also needs to think about *what* it is offering to visitors.

    Richard
     
  7. russprince

    russprince New Member

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    You can compare and contrast by clicking between the years at the following link Timetable and Events | Talyllyn Railway
    As mentioned before i think there should be more aggressive advertising where customers should be fought for and enticed to travel, although its only an hour from Welshpool and 1.5 hours from Wrexham so i dont tend to agree that Tywyn is the arse end of the country.
     
  8. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    The first thing that sprung to mind when i saw the page was, "what a mess", so overly complicated and completely "not user freindly", all this has got to go with the timetable made easy, simple and direct, with buttons for online buying.
     
  9. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    I think the railway does know what it is offering to visitors, the problem is that in these difficult times not only with the economic crisis but also harder competition from other lines they just can't sit around waiting for the wind to change, they have to go out and find new resources of customers. One suggestion that could be done and i've seen this elsewhere and it works, is to leave leaflets with a travel price reduction included at hotels, campsites and at all tourist sites, this really works as an incentive but also makes the public aware that the railway exists.
     
  10. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    Even better is to invite the owners of the hotels/campsites/tourist sites/tourist information centres to the railway and give them a really good time. Their word-of-mouth recommendation to people staying with them will be a lot better than a pile of leaflets. If I'm visiting a new area, I would certainly ask local people for their recommendations for days out. If they sound good, I'll grab a leaflet, ring them up or check their websites for details.

    Chatting with these "influencers" at the railway might also help to identify how the visitor experience could be improved.

    Richard
     
  11. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    I woudn't say it was "better" but i do agree with your idea, any incentive to make the public aware of the railway is going in the right direction, the last thing to do is reduce the number of trains.
     
  12. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest


    Two out of two for Richard but, I fear, only one out of two for Baldwin!

    Even if passenger numbers doubled overnight, the whole setup is one appropriate to a level of business 50% greater still. A publicity campaign (I nearly said an "effective publicity campaign" but there is no guarantee of success) will cost money. This will have to come from operating economies for whereas members may fork up for new sleepers, paying for a few minutes on commercial T.V. or radio, or whatever is decided, will be much less sexy although equally vital.

    The economies are obvious enough. I detect a patent unenthusiasm either for these or, judging from the reported response to Ellis' discussion with his colleagues, means, such as online booking, which will facilitate an increase in trade. Change or die ladies and gentlemen. No-one has yet preserved a preservation society.
     
  13. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    Well i'm sorry i didn't make it in the poll but then again i haven't been kind. As for your last line, only a matter of time i fear !!
     
  14. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Best wishes

    Paul
     
  15. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    Ouch! As Society Publicity Officer I'm a little surprised that I need to exit after three months in the unpaid, voluntary post.

    This thread does seem to escalate 'problems' at the TR to quite a height that I really don't think exists. Passenger figures are down, the timetable has been changed to reflect numbers. Some days are less busy, so lets not run trains that day, some key dates are very busy, lets run more trains then - see how that works.

    I'm pleased the Cambrian News article has been mentioned (Full steam ahead despite lower visitor numbers | News) It is pretty much spot on and supported by the Publicity and Marketing volunteers.

    Advertising and Publicity can cost obscene amounts of money, after a year of low passenger figures should we be spending £000's on advertising? A brave decision by anyone who signs that off. The fact may be if the TR stuck a TV advert in front of millions, could rumours of its instant demise kill that off immediately? So therein would be an obscene waste of money? You can see why I'm trying really hard to assure people the TR is not in 'danger' and trying to be constructive going forward.

    The surveys coming back to the TR indicate that visitors visit us because of our timetable leaflet. I'm an IT Manager in the real world and would love the website to be the first port of call for possible visitors. The fact is, it isn't. There have been lots of changes and improvements in timetable distribution, and indeed if you know somewhere that doesn't have a set of timetables, that will accept a stack of TR timetables, let us know.

    I wont criticise the website in a public forum, I think that's disrepectful to the volunteer who looks after it. What I will do is look at the constructive suggestions put forward and take them forward the best I can. I would urge other members viewing this thread to do the same.

    Personally, there are lots of exciting events coming up for the TR, now isnt the time to speak of them, but I hope the end cause is more people come to the railway and support it in whatever way they can.
     
  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    These extracts illustrate why, spare your blushes, the situation facing the T.R. is not of your making. To someone who, until ten years ago was a regular visitor to Wales, it was obvious much further back, even thirty years ago that the commercial ethos at Twywn was a little, shall we say, naive. Now, if not not quite at the eleventh hour, perhaps the tenth, it falls to you to get things going forward. We can only wish you well.

    One last thing. A lot of T.R. publicity is based on the "world's first preserved railway" theme. This distinction is perfectly true and estimable but not likely to mean a great deal to the average holidaymaker. Good scenery from quaint trains is a better thing to plug. This is not an original thought as it was observed to me, once again, thirty years ago.

    Paul
     
  17. Baldwin

    Baldwin Guest

    Ellis. It's very plain to see your fully aware of the problem and i'm perfectly sure you are capable of doing something to improve public awareness of the railway, not only that, you having only been in your post for three months, no-one can hold you responsible for anything. Cheers
     
  18. houghtonga

    houghtonga Member

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    Err...was it - being pedantic Paul, it depends on the definition of preserved railway. Our American cousins might argue with it.

    The 2ft gauge Edaville Railroad in South Carver, Massachusetts was operating with volunteers in 1947.

    There were also three electric tramways being restored or operating each at about 1.5 miles in length by volunteers. Details of these schemes were published in the UK in the Light Railway Transport Leagues newsletter during the 1940s.

    The Branford Electric Railway Association in East Haven, Connecticut was formed in 1945 and re-opened in 1947 (now known as the the Shore Line Trolley Museum)

    The Seashore Electric Railway in Kennebunkport, Maine was formed in 1939 and re-opened in 1953.

    The Conneticut Electric Railway Museum, at Warehouse Point, Connecticut was formed in 1948 and re-opened in 1954.

    (just putting on my tin hat!)
     
  19. 8-10 Brass Cleaner

    8-10 Brass Cleaner Member

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    Ellis.

    I've seen this you cant blame so-and-so he's a volunteer ethos elsewhere. It is helpfull to no one.

    A volunteer doing a bad job is often worse than no one doing the job at all.

    I'm not pointing the finger at the website, or you, but often with societies if someone is seen to volunteer to do something that needs doing it is percieved as a problem solved.

    In buisiness you identify a need, say for a post, adverise it, and fill it with the most suitable person availible. You then have a probation period, so if things don't work out, you say sorry and let them go, or pat them on the back and say 'keep it up' if they do.

    With volunteers its a case of something wants doing, so and so will do it, great.....

    Often what that means what is done is done how the volunteer wants it done, with little regard to the bigger picture. It depends on the individual.

    Not a criticism of any person, simply the shortcomings of societies.
     
  20. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    Absolutely agree, it is a very difficult position to be in if a volunteer is 'in post' and perhaps not doing themselves or the society there in any favours but that's another story.

    8-10 you make an excellent point and in the case of the TR, it is not a multi-global corporation, it is a volunteer run steam railway reliant on its members to operate, which at the moment seems to be receiving a lot of 'wrong end of the stick' stories, so there does come a point where we need to support the management and those doing ever important jobs for nothing, my point was that if suggestions veer to criticism it's good to be respectful to those who cannot directly reply. Send a message through as a few people have to me and they are very gratefully received.
     

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