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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Fair comment, and I note the weight of trains that have crossed into Cornwall compared to those Brunel designed for as just one example of this. However, and out of interest, what analysis has been done to validate that understanding of the engineering quality of the WSR to support the application of that logic to the WSR?
     
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  2. bluetrain

    bluetrain Member

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    According to the Colin Maggs book, the branch was originally laid with 68 lb/yd bridge rail, which must have been adequate to support the broad-gauge 4-4-0STs that originally worked the line. These were quite heavy engines for their period, with one quoted in an accident report as weighing 45 tons with 15 ton axle-load. Maggs records that in the early 20th Century, the GWR operated the route with Dean Goods, Small Prairies and various smaller tank engines - all "yellow route" engines. The upgrade to "blue route" status appears to have taken place in the 1920s, with the last section of bridge rail replaced at Crowconbe in 1923. That upgrade would have allowed the introduction of Bulldogs, 43XX and Large Prairies on heavy summer holiday trains.
     
  3. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    The fact that NFW to BL was (and is) a red route is a matter of chance arising from the fact that there are no significant underline structures on that part of the route.

    Considerable patient work (largely bridge surveys) were done during Mark Smith’s stewardship to see the loading time increased against an appropriate evidence base.

    Regrettably, as I understand matters, those records were thrown away under later stewardship.

    It should be remembered that there are, essentially, 3 components which affect what I still think of as Route Availability (‘RA’). You can take the girl out of BR but you can’t take BR out of the girl.

    These are:
    (1) the underline structures,
    (2) the formation condition - depth and quality of ballast, absence of clay contamination etc, and
    (3) rail condition.

    These are in reverse order of ease of improvement - rerailing is easy, digging out and replacing formation more difficult and replacing or upgrading structures the most difficult and expensive.

    some engineering judgment is also involved. Steam locos subject the track to ‘hammer blow’ which diesels do not and energy is the square of speed so 50mph subjects the track to four times the impact energy of 25mph and sixteen times that of 12.5 mph. This can be important with occasional exceptional loads.

    Renewing track to ‘red route’ standard may be sensible when it is done as the additional cost may be small and the longevity gain large.

    Much to consider.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    How? Why? were these records lost or disposed off?

    I cant understand it with something so fundamental to the operation of the line
     
  5. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not the current stewardship, so I don’t believe it would help to identify exactly what I understand happened.
     
  6. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't that be 4 things - weight of rail being the fourth?
     
  7. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I include that in rail condition.

    Bullhead, for example, might start at 98 pounds a yard but it won’t be that 40 years later.

    Robin
     
  8. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    I suppose then we should hope that the line was built to the standards set by the engineer and not to standards limited by the management of the railway Co. restricting the finances available - as so many of the early railways were when the rush to build (and make a profit therefrom) was at it's peak.
     
  9. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    How minds work ...

    "The West Somerset Railway received an unexpected cash boost just days after launching its recent £1 million Emergency SOS survival fund in early June. On hearing of the crisis appeal, the Railway was then contacted by Meercat Associates, a business procurement service operating across the UK and, after investigating the WSR's energy systems installed, then saved the railway £12,800 off their gas and electricity bills - vitally needed money which will now go towards the WSR’s SOS appeal."

    How is this a 'cash boost' when it looks more like potential savings of future expenditure ?
     
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  10. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    It's no different to your other half buying some new shoes in a sale when they then point out the amount of money saved, and that you desperately needed that cash.
     
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  11. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    Is that 'female "logic" ' then or dodgy accounting .... ?
     
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I am happy for you not to go into what happened but the fact that it did happen is a symptom of the poor management of the lines infrastructure
     
  13. granmaree

    granmaree Member

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    If their savings on electricity have boosted the fund then why haven't they added in the savings on coal, diesel, oil, water, conditioners, toilet rolls, soap etc that non running and reduced timetable will be bumping it up by? Weird way of working out the appeal figures to say they have 'got' 12800 quid.
     
  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Be careful about commenting on ‘female’ logic. We are always watching… :)

    Robin MOIRA White
     
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  15. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    And as others have already pointed out, regardless of these unusual accounting practices, trumpeting this saving is hardly a sign of good management.

    It really does beg the question as to why a competent board hasn't always looked to keep costs to a minimum.

    That it has taken until this late in the day, given the dire straights all companies have been in this last year or so, especially whilst there have been no awkward distractions such as running trains, that it is better to have lower bills really does beggar belief.
     
  16. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    The Accountants on here will be frothing! The significant reduction in utility costs is a welcome boost and other railways should take note.

    It’s unusual to suggest that a future cost saving is a ‘cash inflow’. There could be a scenario involving hard cash e.g. a refund of utility monies already paid, or a donation made by an unusually generous utility company but really it’s a reduction in the annual target to be raised i.e it’s now ‘just’ £987,200 (although utility consumption will increase in proportion to the number of operating days and facilities in use…).
     
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  17. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    As I have said many times it would be wonderful to have some new WSRA trustees. I would be more than happy to step aside in a heartbeat if that was the choice of WSRA members. Meanwhile in the real world nominations for WSRA trustee are open and I wait with baited breath. Now I know there are capable folks out there but they need to put their names forward. Posting on a social media site is not enough.
     
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  18. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Indeed and that was Mr Brunel who should have known what he was doing.
    If Maggs says that then he is mistaken. When the line was inspected by Captain Tyler in 1862 he reported it as being 62lb rail. Of course this was baulk road so these rails were continuously supported on a longitudinal timber which must have made them very strong. Both railways were cheaply built with respect to the profile (steep grades and sharper curves) but they is no suggestion that the actual structures were inadequate and most of the 1862/1874 structures still exist today.
    Ian Coleby
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
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  19. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Readers may be interested to know that 5199 is facing taunton and is rostered for this weekends services alongside 7822 and D701* on the diesel diagram


    "
    Tomorrow and Saturday , 5199 will be making it's debut on passengers service in it's new 'GWR Green' livery, smokebox will be facing Taunton which will be popular with photographers as we have been facing Minehead for a long-time.

    Also 7822 'Foxcote Manor' in BR unlined black with red nameplates will also be in service on both days , also D7018 will be on the diesel diagram on the Saturday.

    So why not come and visit us or even travel with us!

    Tickets for the steam services can be found here @ https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/timetables/view/163

    Tickets for the diesel service can be found here @ https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/.../extended...

    "

    Now why the above is posted in a closed group and not plastered all over social media I will let you fathom ,
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Sleeper spacing has been more or less standard at 24 per 60 foot length for a long time until pretty recently when it has started to increase to 26/28 and 24 is good enough for red route. Apart from the infrastructure, the critical thing is the strength of the rail. If we are simply talking about rail head wear, BS95 and GW100 rail is ok for red route use down to a height of 5.125" and Blue route use to about 4.875" BS85 lb rail needs to be a minimum of 5.375" for Red. However, we are not necessarily simply talking about head wear but also have to include such factors of general corrosion, chair galling and side cutting, all of which affect the ability of the rail to act as a load bearing beam. Re-railing with good quality S/H BS 95 could easily eliminate the rail problem and up the standard of the permanent way to red route requirements. New would be even better. Robin has said that the necessary bridge and formation surveys were done back in Mark Smiths days to enable red route status. Even though that paperwork is seemingly missing, revisiting things isn't likely to be that difficult (at a cost) and unless things have deteriorated, which they may well have, a similar result might be expected. If a structure survey no longer exists I would expect it to be a priority of the railway, in any case.
     
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