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Vintage Trains 2022

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Sidmouth, Jan 2, 2022.

  1. Rover

    Rover New Member

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    Ironic that, considering they started out claiming to be the cheapest! A bit like steam dreams all those years ago,if i remember correctly, advertised as cheap trips for enthusiasts. I think they were the first company to breach the £100 fare for standard. I did a couple of their first trips to Canterbury and Salisbury for £29. Btw, what is this "base point", new one on me. Probably another americanism creeping in to our language! Correction.... apologies, it was steam dreams that I did the £29 trips with, not Saphos, but i think it was SD that first breached the £100 for standard. Sorry, I was confusing the 2 companies!
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
  2. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    What do you suggest then? Should diners pay extra to allow standard class fares to be lower? Doesn't really seem fair, subsidising someone else's ticket.

    Despite what many people think, premier dining isn't a massive money maker for railtour companies. Looking at RTC's Cumbrian Coast trip gives a good indication of how much it costs to run a tour. If you work out the costs per coach, the prices are roughly the same. 64 std class seats at £115 = £7360. 42 first class seats at £185 = £7770, but that includes refreshments, say a tenner per person. If dining is £285, then that's £110 for the catering. But that's three meals, and you also need to pay about a dozen catering staff who will have started the morning before the tour getting the food ready, tables set up, etc.

    Even if you ran a tour with 10 standard class coaches, you'd still be talking about the same sort of fares. Maybe a little less as no kitchen car involved, but not huge sums. But the problem is that's not what the public want, and when you're ending up with 16 hour marathons with a 20 minute leg stretch halfway through the day, can you blame them for wanting to travel in first class or dining? It's not because first and dining make more money for the tour companies, it's because that's where the demand is.
     
  3. 70000

    70000 New Member

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    As mentioned there are probably several reasons for the lack of bookings on this charter ranging from the large amount of tours on the S&C to the current cost of living.

    Another possible reason which certainly in my case stopped me booking, and potentially for others, was the inclusion of the Class 47 on the steam hauled legs.

    A pure steam trip with 7029 over the S&C and Shap is not something I personally would want to miss. If Vintage are able to alter their offering in April I will have no hesitation to book.
     
  4. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I suspect that VT are not helped by having to, I assume, buy in crew or at least conductors for routes which are well away from their beaten track adding even more cost. I also suggest that possibly up Shap then down the S&C would probably be a more attractive composition for the enthusiast due to the gradients.

    It's a shame as I had planned a trip over to the WCML to see her through (starts points are just too far for me, and whilst I made the exception for the Castle over Shap and 5043 on the S&C that was with my father who sadly is just too old to traipse up north for these things any more - it was actually easier for him when he lived in the south of France).

    Thinking of the saturation on the S&C, is that more because all itineraries seem to be incredibly samey. One thing I was thinking about the other day is why there isn't more variety of start points, for instance Scottish start point, NE start point for example?
     
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  5. Leviathan

    Leviathan New Member

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    I agree 100% with this.

    I would have booked this tour like a shot if I knew the intention was to leave the diesel behind at Hellifield and for it not to rejoin the train until Crewe. Unfortunately, this was not the intention as far as I am aware.

    I completely understand Vintage Trains position, but it means I only travel on their unadulterated steam tours such as the Lickey trips last year.
     
  6. jsm8b

    jsm8b Part of the furniture

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    Don't overlook the competition on the day with a Deltic hauled train from Wolverhampton, Cumbrian Coast from Euston, a Northern Belle starting at Telford and in the north west a Lune Rivers train to York, or that the Saphos Coronation Scot on the same day had already been cancelled - a density of steam charters that SLOA used to regulate which is missing from today's market. The competing steam workings which could pick up midlands custom may have been too much dilution of the market.
     
  7. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    I read in steam railway magazine that Vintage currently only have one passed out steam driver but that the hope is that come Christmas they will have 2 castles with 5043 due back soon and 3 steam drivers. One of the 2 new steam drivers is already qualified to drive electric trains for avanti. With 3 qualified steam drivers in their own right it would make having a route conductor that much easier especially if a qualified diesel driver already on Vintage Trains books was used. This would reduce the reliance on DB Cargo to help out although as has been mentioned elsewhere DB Cargo are increasing their steam operations substantially from next year.
     
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  8. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Some enthusiasts are customers for full dining.
    Most tours offer a similar combination of standard, first non-dining and first dining. The proportions can be varied but I can't see all dining being more viable than a mixture, except for a limited number of luxury trips such as Belmond's.
     
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  9. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The only S&C trip that I have done in the last few years was the SNG inaugural run this May. Going down the S&C and up the WCML was a plus point for me, simply because it is less usual, though that wasn't my main reason for being on that trip.
     
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  10. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    A sign of the times perhaps?
    In the latest issue of Trackside magazine there is a report about the charter operator UK Railtours. They said that the first half of 2022 was disappointing for them with a low demand for seats from the general public. A quote from the operations manager: "What we learned from the first half of 2022 is that the type of tours we previously ran didn't really work any longer".
    They are reportedly shifting over to Enthusiast tours next year to hopefully fill up their trains a bit more. They say they are hoping to use 35028, 6024, 60163 and D9009.

    Sent from my XQ-BT52 using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    That was the intention with the Duchess in March but unfortunately that proved logistically impossible due to issues with shunting moves at Carlisle making the diesel necessary even if the assistance offered that day over the S&C was minimal.
     
  12. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    UK Railtours will be a beneficiary from the increased DB Cargo steam operations next year. The last few years have only seen UK Railtours have occasional Pullman tours with next year potentially seeing the return of the regular use of the Riviera rake for steam tours.
     
  13. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    That's a "wait and see" bit of guesswork, I would suggest.

    Two things. I believe that Riviera has traditionally charged a lot for their rakes and that won't change with them having to fit toilet retention tanks, that is to whichever of their coaches are in a good enough condition to adapt. And for any tours starting in the south, now that the fleet is at Burton, there is the cost of bringing them to the London area.

    I have to say that the 'complete' set ups - i.e. Saphos, West Coast and Vintage with their own coaches and locos have to be the optimum arrangement.,,provided that they don't cut each other's throats by flooding the market. And there is plenty of that at present.
     
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  14. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Of course if you could charge the linesiders a tenner, the market would look a bit different!

    I think the answer to your last point is that the TOCs want to be running the trains from their bases so as to minimise the risk of stuff happening. That limits what you can do eg York Dalesman departs Carnforth 0400 and arrives back 0200 wirh probably 4 shifts of diesel drivers and 1 or 2 shifts of steam crews. Anything like Newcastle or Edinburgh would be pushing the envelope even if you could get the paths, which you probably couldn't. And the veterans don't want sixteen hour days out.

    It will be interesting to see what UKRT come up with for next year which is 'aimed at the enthusiast market'.
     
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  15. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 Member

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    SRPS as well with their own stock which is often hired in by others down south. Biggest example being that Steam Dreams used the SRPS rake throughout 2013. Tornado Aberdonians also use the SRPS stock as well. Stock hire generates big income for the SRPS which helps their other railtour operations which are mostly diesel.
     
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  16. steam_mad

    steam_mad Member

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    Riviera won't be paying for any retention toilets, this work being funded by network rail as a network change, but if they do keep their mk1 set on the mainline they'll have to foot a considerable bill for Central Door Locking.
     
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  17. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    What's the rationale for NR paying for the toilets but not for the locks?
     
  18. Jamie C. Steel

    Jamie C. Steel Member

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    Network Rail don't want bangers and mash coating equipment anymore. I remember when my entire fleet at work was dump toilets and some places absolutely stank and were a hazard to health if you went on the track.

    Until last year I'd never been under to do coupling on a set of coaches with dump toilets that had been rimming at 90mph, it's an experience I never really wish to repeat more than I have to as the brown water coats absolutely every single surface and there is solid matter there to contend with as well.

    Network Rail have various slush funds to ensure various projects are completed, for example if charter trains have foliage strikes causing damage to the paintwork then the charter operators can claim for it.
     
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  19. 3ABescot

    3ABescot Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    As an enthusiast, I don't want a marathon with just a few minutes to stretch my legs and see the loco!
    I certainly don't want heavy, pretentious catering.

    Back in the days of SLOA we had trips with fairly SHORT pure steam legs over secondary lines (eg Carlisle -Hellifield or Blackburn one way, Crewe- North Wales, Chester - Cardiff, Crewe - Chester circular), with diesel or electric haulage to and from it. This reduced the length of the day and allowed for PHOTO STOPS on the steam section!

    Vastly more reliable with reduced impact on the main lines, and much more for the average enthusiast.
    Catering was from a buffet including hot food options sandwiches, soups etc. Better still, on the last mainline trip I took shortly pre CoVid, the SRPS gave an at seat service of breakfast, dinner and tea at ALL SEATS for a modest extra charge. No pretentious faff about it: disposable plates pre-filled but I enjoyed and more to the point so did my wife!

    The extra time from the shorter steam run should surely allow such trips to be repeated, even with the shorter gaps between service trains?

    Well, that's what I suggest. It would get me back on board.

    PS My comments were general not aimed specifically at VR who do indeed
    run shortish runs with the Birmingham - Stratfords which are not marsthons.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
  20. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    The trip on Saturday is still available to book which is a nonsense and I never knew their Pullman dining trains are in excess of 300.00pp ! Maybe this is the reason why this trip was canned ?
     

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