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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Part of the furniture

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    If carriages are in sheds, they are out of sight and out of mind. Next to nobody is going to try and break into a shed and set fire to a carriage.
     
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  2. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    On the absolute contrary they cannot afford not to to have such things
     
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  3. bishdunster

    bishdunster New Member

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    I dare say there are several more throughout Britain !
     
  4. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    For once, I'm in agreement!

    Must admit, when I saw your name but before I read the comment I was expecting it to be in response to this one:

    At Blue Anchor the pub is teetering on the edge and not far down the road is the WSR. With global warming and the consequent rise in sea levels the railway may be either getting some more stone traffic in the future or a foreshortened line that ends at Watchet!

    giving your wholehearted support to the idea!
     
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  5. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Like I said on that thread, a measured and appropriate response. Not everyone has a sarcasm detector though.......
     
  6. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Well-Known Member

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    Indeed they don’t.
     
  7. D1039

    D1039 Guest

    I would have thought that heritage carriage sheds would be fitted with fire detection too
     
  8. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    An idealist approach which doesn't really work in real life. How many preserved railways have secure covered accommodation for even *part* of their carriage fleet?
     
  9. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    Quite a few but not nearly enough particularly as many have been around for years.
     
  10. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    OK, in your perfect world maybe, but there are problems
    1 land to build a shed on, not every railway has the land, unless they can buy an field next to the railway,
    2 money, if your only just breaking even, struggling to survive, then its a luxury you can't afford,
    3 location, even a secure shed if its in the middle of nowhere, can be a target to vandals and thieves, even well located railway workshops often with houses near by get broken into, and have items stolen, even with very good alarm systems, you can't have a human presence 24/7
     
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  11. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    Don't you believe it, have you not heard of targeted thefts, copper brass fittings, scrap metal thieves have been known to case places to see whats laying around, and then at a later date, pull up in a transit and help themselves, even wire fences don't stop them
     
  12. goldfish

    goldfish Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think @Paulthehitch recognises the strategic error the Bluebell and Watercress Line made in selecting space-limited rural backwaters like Sheffield Park, Ropley or Alresford to start their lines, when they should have picked somewhere with room to develop significant covered carriage storage and restoration capacity like Nine Elms…

    ;)

    Simon
     
  13. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    That's rather OTT but land assembly opportunities were clearly desirable.
     
  14. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
     
  15. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    In the Hitchian world perhaps all of our heritage railways
    Mine works OK, I think, but wasn't triggered by the post I was alluding to!
     
  16. goldfish

    goldfish Nat Pres stalwart

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    It wasn't intended entirely seriously… :)

    I do find it highly implausible that anyone could realistically anticipate what eg the Bluebell or Watercress Lines have become from their extremely humble beginnings. Hindsight tells us that land would have been desirable, but a two carriage service on the Bluebell would never have required the infrastructure provision they've achieved over the years. Even the prospect of a viable tourist attraction would have seemed pretty laughable at the time.

    It would have likely prevented them achieving anything at all had their starting point been 'we need space for covered storage for 20-30 carriages and sufficient engineering facilities to undertake major restoration of a fleet of 30 steam engines, and some diesels'.

    Simon
     
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  17. jamesd

    jamesd Member

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    What Paul is saying is right, undercover storage should have been prioritised much higher than it has been on a number of railways. We know the reasons why it hasn't been and they are perfectly understandable but that doesn't mean the lack of prioritisation was right.
     
  18. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    I'm
    I'm not sure that I accept this comment - how many railways have space for carriage sheds and yet have not built them - the GWSR and the GCR, perhaps, but then one has to question what could or should have been pushed down the priorities list. For most lines, a meaningful carriage shed is a substantial proposition in terms of cash that would have had to be found.
     
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  19. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    All Paul is really saying is that a carriage shed should be high on the strategic priority list of any railway. I think that is a reasonable observation and one which has been obvious for several decades. Whether it was realisable or not depends on many variables at each railway. It doesn’t change the basic premise.
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Heritage lines are nearly always under resourced financially; that makes big investments with long pay off periods difficult. Even if land is available, was capital available at the same time? Just saying that assembling land was desirable doesn't automatically mean it was also possible.

    The finances of carriage sheds are I think complex. Which is not to say I don't think they should be built, just that justifying them just on cost grounds is not necessarily straight forward. Firstly there is the land use: a carriage shed that stores n vehicles will take up more space than a siding that houses the same number. Then you have the capital expense of the building, which depreciates on your balance sheet. If you have a £500k building with a fifty year lifespan, you lose £10k per year in capital depreciation; if you use it to store out-of-use vehicles that have essentially zero balance sheet value, you make nothing in the balance sheet terms about preserving those vehicles for future use. You might of course save thousands of pounds in future restoration costs, but they don't show up in the profit and loss account. Of course, if you use the shed for storing in-traffic vehicles, you might make a more justifiable saving, but it would have to be in terms of things like needing to revarnish a vehicle once every five years rather than once every three etc.

    There's also the operating cost of the building (lighting etc, with attendant electricity costs). Even things like fire alarms and burglar alarms have annual maintenance costs. And I was having an interesting conversation the other day with one of our directors about the issues of safe access to roof spaces for maintenance, given the current attention given to working at height regulations.

    In other words - there are costs and other management overhead in erecting buildings. I think such facilities are necessary, but it is at least important to realise that erecting them crystallises genuine costs immediately, in exchange for rather more amorphous future savings. And, inevitably, there is the question of priorities: if you are a railway with neither covered workshops nor covered carriage sheds, it is hard to prioritise the carriage shed over the workshop. It's notable that those lines that now have significant covered storage for carriages have initially invested in maintenance facilities first; something that the WSR doesn't seem over-endowed with relative to the scale of its operation.

    Tom
     
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