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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    Thank you for your aggression this Thursday morning - West Somerset does seem to be a black spot.

    I really don't believe I have any god given right to access, no, of course not. Similarly Heritage Railways really don't have any right to expect donations I guess, or interested prospective future volunteers visiting Williton - simple market forces apply! :)
     
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  2. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    Don't worry Mellish - I think the attitude west of Taunton is made very clear from Michael :) My money remains firmly in my account and nowhere close to the WSR :)
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You could turn that question round and ask “what facilities could a railway provide at low cost that would enhance the enjoyment of some of their visitors?” I appreciate that enthusiasts might be a minority, but if they can be catered for relatively easily, why not do so?

    Many heritage-type attractions allow some kind of viewing access to their restoration / maintenance facilities, so I would suggest that the interest is there. The key to return visits at any attraction is making the place interesting: a railway ought to be about more than just the journey.

    Tom
     
  4. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Michael has no direct connection with things WSR - his opinions are his own.
     
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  5. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    So I see :)
     
  6. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Not quite the full story on this interesting locomotive class.
    The 56xx's were hopeless when they first arrived on the scene from Swindon due to continued troubles with hot boxes and derailments and found no favour at all with the crews in South Wales.
    There were "improved" at Caerphilly depot (AFAIK the old Rhymney Railway Erecting Shop) by increasing the tolerances to provide more play, thus enabling the loco's to better cope with the state of the mineral branch lines in S Wales. It's documented in some places that a fairly rude letter was sent to Charles Collett and that the building of the class was at one time suspended at Swindon not long after its introduction. The reaction of Swindon men to having to provide sloppy boxes when building was resumed is not noted anywhere I have read! Some members of the class, I think the later ones, were built by Armstrong Whitworth in Liverpool, none were ever built in S Wales but clearly a lot were modified once they arrived.

    It's true that they mostly operated bunker first on their loaded runs to the various docks that served the coal fields etc, this allowed the rear bogie to act as a sort of pony truck which improved stability and prevented the derailments which this class often suffered when it first entered service. The practice appears to have continued even after the locomotives were "improved". As with most locomotives I am confident the crews came to love them, it's a thing that happens to all enginemen. Return journeys to the pitheads pulling "pools" were , as far as I can tell, generally undertaken smokebox first.

    Most books, which claim some authority on the matter, do state that they were progressively replaced by the 57xx class and the numbers would appear to bear this out but on the other side of the coin it's also clear that 56xx's continued in use in S Wales until the withdrawal of steam.

    I hope that those who know more than I do on this subject will forgive the interjection, it's just that I have a particular, if somewhat narrow, interest in S Wales railway history pre and post grouping.
     
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  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    On the point of bunker first working while in South Wales — since you aren’t going to turn the locos at each end when working up and down the valley lines between colliery and docks, they have to work bunker first one direction or the other. Given a choice, smokebox first up the hill makes sense from the point of view of water management on a line where the gradient is primarily all uphill in one direction. It may then be a happy co-incidence that that meant pony truck leading when they were being pushed back down hill. Working a relatively large-boilered loco smokebox first down a steep gradient while constantly on the brakes and possibly being bumped roughly from behind by loose coupled stock does interesting things to the water level!

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  8. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    I can see many railways mentioned in the last few (many) posts. The WSR and it’s operations haven’t featured.

    While some thread drift is okay, I think some of these topics are for other threads such as shed access. I’ll split that bit off but can we keep loosely on topic in this thread please!
     
  9. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Not just in railway depots.

    I visited the Antony Gormley exhibition recently at the Royal Academy. One of his 'whole room' exhibits was designed by the sculptor to be walked through and within.

    The RA stopped that after Day 1 because the public had no self awareness and were stumbling all over the place.

    So I don't blame the WSR for being cautious.
     
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  10. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Certainly!

    I know that this has probably been answered in previous comments, but I have no desire to filter back through 1130 other pages to find it - the WSR is no longer a 'Red Route' status railway. Is there any indication of when we could expect the railway to complete the necessary works to be able to take locos with higher axle loads?
     
  11. HerstonHalt

    HerstonHalt New Member

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    6695 was actually built for the GWR by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle, a long way off GWR territory!



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    I don't want to be rude here but the Minehead Branch was never built to "red route" standards. There was hardly a branch line in the UK that was.
    I think people become confused about this term. What I am sure all enthusiasts would like is to see the WSR get to a position where it can run heavier locomotives from time to time. (If you really want us to upgrade to red route then give us lots of money. https://www.wsra.org.uk which you can do by following the link.)
    For the vast majority of the operating season Manors or similar are perfectly adequate. Having fired Halls on the line they are probably too big most of the time and managing the fire efficiently is difficult. Don't get me wrong, firing a Hall or even a Castle over the line is a huge buzz but may not be the most efficient use of motive power.
    To be very clear the WSR needs a massive and continuing investment in the track over the next several years (between £250,000 and £500,000 each year). Much more than the fare-box can deliver even if it gets back to the 209,000 passenger level seen in the past. WSRA have very recently placed orders for £30,000 of materials with more to follow. So I appeal to the Nat-Pres collective in this season of goodwill to dig deep and donate. You don't need to wait for "them" to do something "you" can make a difference now.
     
  13. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Yes - I realised that from the number - it was one of the last to be built. As such also a bit heavier than the earlier ones AFAIK.
     
  14. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps Member

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    Next year sometime maybe ? If we get more money in & more help ?
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Not very much to disagree with there.:)
     
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  16. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Thank you for actually answering my question!
    That all may be so. But such is the availability of locomotives in Britain now that being able to host a variety of locomotives is beneficial, not just for special events, but for maintaining a day to day loco fleet. Surely being able to run a service with a slightly higher than ideal fuel consumption is better than not being able to run a service at all
     
  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Absolutely, an operational Hall available to the railway for traffic is much better than a Manor in pieces on another railway.
     
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  18. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    It is costing the organisation money both in upgrading and subsequent maintenance, to accomodate the heavy footed stuff. The disposal of 4110 seemed strange (?desperate) at the time although it will probably result in its being returned to service quicker. Possibly for hire to the W.S.R. albeit at a price.
     
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  19. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture Friend

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    whats the situation with 4160 will that engine ever return, or have all boats been burnt now and the owners now decided to base it elsewhere?
     
  20. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    As it happens I agree with you. In the ideal world of heritage steam where money was no object and volunteers were plentiful. Sadly in the real world ticket sales don't cover the operating costs and nearly every heritage railway needs charity support. That means budgets are tight and spending more to run a train than is necessary needs careful thinking about. Big engines cost more, often put more stress on the track and cost more to overhaul.
    Bear in mind I'm an enthusiast as well it would be great to run big engines whenever we liked but most of our customers don't really care as long as it looks like a proper steam engine. They would care if the price went up. As enthusiasts we all need to understand that its tourists who allow Heritage Steam Railways to exist.
     
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