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Wensleydale Railway Matters

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by s1m0nad, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Rosedale

    Rosedale Member

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    It's a reasonable inference. Mr. Smith is not in the habit of wasting money, and he's been after a railway of his own for a long time. It must be more than three decades now since Scarborough Council rejected his application to open a steam centre at Ravenscar.
     
  2. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    So long as it’s clearly an inference. I just saw castles being counted in the air, in a most un-Yorkshire like fashion!


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  3. Rosedale

    Rosedale Member

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    Just re-read the piece in the latest HR.

    "The buyer... said he will restore the station buildings, lay track and bring in locomotives and rolling stock of his own... he is to work with the railway in linking up with it so that heritage services can run to Aysgarth."

    Obviously you can take anything HR says with half a Cheshire salt mine, but this appears to have been based either on a direct communication with Mr Smith or on the article's interview with Steve Davies.
     
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  4. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    Not an HR reader, but interesting to see


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  5. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    Aysgarth then. On past form we'd only know when someone sees a junction going in at Garsdale. If Aysgarth cream teas from York is the aim great. If Northallerton to Aysgarth turns into a second nymr great. But the railway is in dire financial trouble so will not survive. Am thinking all the big railways survive from donations and big money backing so why not here? A lot of the failed railways are run by failed despots not sure if someone who runs a successful steam town can possibly not be good at working with others or just doesn' suffer fools. How to run a heritage railway start with an enormous fortune and end up with a small one?
     
  6. 26D_M

    26D_M Well-Known Member

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    An enticing prospect but no certainty about it at all. We do not know whether the new owner of Aysgarth has any interest in operating a public railway, it may turn out to be a venture akin to Mr Camerons retirement plans. History tells us that these things take a long time and a lot of money as well as local authority support, Hellifield being a prime example.
    Potentially exciting but a great deal of watching with interest required.
     
  7. Rosedale

    Rosedale Member

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    We know that Robin Jones says he does. Make of that what you will. ;)
     
  8. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

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    It wouldn't surprise me to see Mr. Smith eventually gain control of the whole line.

    My verdict, good for the route, not so good for those currently in charge.

    Sawdust.
     
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  9. Rosedale

    Rosedale Member

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    The line certainly needs a rich man's touch. Its infrastructure is clapped out from end to end.
     
  10. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    When I last visited - ten years ago I think - it was clearly a line that was struggling for resources and had a long way to come. From what has been said since, not much has changed, which makes me wonder how much expensive maintenance will bite them shortly.

    Frankly, if the Wensleydale had to sell Aysgarth for financial reasons, they are still going to have to do work to make themselves sustainable with or without David Smith. And to be even more blunt, how long is it going to take to do some of the restoration work envisaged in the last few posts, and will David Smith live long enough to see it completed?
     
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    It's three years since I went to Redmire on a RTC trip and I recall that even then the Wensleydale Railway set up looked pretty dire. But the saving grace of the whole line at the time was the decent infrastructure and track bed. Asuming that it has not deteriorated badly in the meantime that is, at least, a big positive for breathing any life back into the railway.

    On the Aysgarth point, with a resident population of a couple of hundred and half that of Redmire it's hardly a destination for a railway extension except for its location. And that is the potential for a line such as this - i.e. the tourist. Don't forget that the forty miles from Fort William to Mallaig has proved to be a success story for steam and tourism. I'm not saying that the same potential is on offer east of the Pennines but it is an untapped resource with an excellent rail connection at one end.
     
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  12. FearOfManchester

    FearOfManchester Member

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    They seem to be doing a fair amount at the moment, replacing stretches of track with concrete sleepers, adding turnouts, a new water tower at leyburn, a new shed for carriages, updating occupation crossings, they are working their way through bringing the level crossings up to modern LED standards, think they're half way, and scruton shows just what they're capable of, it's a real gem.
     
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  13. 26D_M

    26D_M Well-Known Member

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    Obviously no person is immortal but what a fabulous legacy it would be to have provided the foundation for such a project even if not completed within his lifetime? Something that endured for future generations to benefit from would really be a tremendous memorial.
     
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  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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  15. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    36 days per year isn't very much, is it? Weekends for four months of the year.
     
  16. garth manor

    garth manor New Member

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    More than happens now !
     
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  17. iancawthorne

    iancawthorne Part of the furniture

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    Sounds like a good step in the right direction.
     
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  18. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    Didn't take long! Hopefully some more volunteers for the railway back a winner!
    Wonder if he'll use out of mainline ticket pacifics to shunt the yard?
     
  19. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    On a recent visit to the railway, could just get a seat on the middle train of the day as it had 2 coach trips booked on plus a school party. So possibly a good shift in the business model.
    Number of speed restrictions seems to have dropped, so possibly getting on with that track work. Plus waiting shelter now up at Redmire, not the best but much better than nowt.
     
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  20. Goldie

    Goldie New Member

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    That's pretty much the impression I get too. The staff and volunteers here are putting in a lot of work to improve stations and infrastructure, run interesting and innovative events and pull in customers from all over. If you can visit, you should: the scenery along most of the line is genuinely beautiful and reaches a sort of crescendo of awesomeness as you approach Redmire. Redmire village and Bolton Castle are both destinations well worth visiting, and the walk up from the station to the castle is both very pretty and easy enough to be managed by anyone of reasonable fitness. It's also, I would say, the best way to approach the castle. Or if you prefer food and drink to fortifications, there are many worse ways to spend an afternoon than catching the train to Redmire, and having a stroll down the hill to https://www.boltonarmsredmire.co.uk/ and treating yourself to a well earned pint or two.

    If you can't make it in person, the railway's Facebook and Instagram feeds are both worth a visit.

    I have clients who run businesses at Aysgarth, and they have said that generally, the last seven or eight years have been tough for businesses in Wensleydale. Areas go in and out of fashion as holiday / day trip destinations, and their take is that Wensleydale has been going through a slump. My own guess is that the dale's fortunes are improving again, and that the increased energy and enthusiasm visible in every aspect of the railway's operations are both a symptom and a cause.

    It'd be great for David Smith to become closely involved in the railway, but actually it is a great day out or means of transport through this lovely bit of the world already.
     
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