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Who pays for freight? A question for railways which run regular demonstration freights...

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by big.stu, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. big.stu

    big.stu Well-Known Member

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    Following some 'discussion' around the more frequent use of our freight wagons, I am interested to find out how other railways accommodate this.

    In particular, on those railways where demonstration freights are incorporated in to normal running on a regular basis, who bears the cost of that?

    Clearly there is a resource/volunteer overhead in manning an extra train, but what about the financial side of things (locomotive fees for example) for a non-passenger carrying activity? Covered by the railway general funds, or cross-subsidised from specific activities? Is it considered part of the educational remit (and potentially funded from a related budget)?

    Do any railways allow passengers to ride on the demonstration freights? (Presumably in brake vans, although I know Bristol Harbour Railway have seating fitted within a wagon too.)

    Any input would be most helpful in driving this conversation forward...
     
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  2. chrishallam

    chrishallam New Member

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    Do many/any railways run goods trains outside of events?

    The GCR used to about 15 years ago, but I believe that was because the timetable at the time meant a diesel was required for 1 round passenger trip (either due to the steam loco being required for diner or driver exp, I can't remember). To make it a better turn for the diesel crew, they were also given 1 or 2 round trips with a goods train. I don't think it lasted long though. That was my understanding at least.

    Do the Isle of White or any of the former industrial lines run regular goods trains?
     
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  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    On the Bluebell, I believe the rationale is that working unfitted freights is part of our crew competency (for loco crew and goods guards); therefore we run them periodically to develop maintain competency. So I guess in terms of "who pays", it is an operational overhead of maintaining competency.

    To keep the cost down, we tended to run them (at least up to 2019; the last couple of years have been more erratic) on a day when a Wealden Rambler dining train was running in the afternoon, using the same loco - so the loco cost was just the marginal cost of the additional trip, not a whole new boiler cycle.

    There are positives and negatives of that. The positive is that we generally ran trains at times other than just galas. The negative, from an enthusiast point of view, is that we tended not to advertise that fact very well (because they were just put on for operational reasons, not as a marketing-led "event"), and when they did run, they tend to be early in the day - it wasn't uncommon for it to run as the first "up" train of the day, before any passengers were around to see it!

    Maintenance of wagons is via its own group (for which there is a ring-fenced fund in the Trust, I believe). They have quite an active Facebook presence at: https://www.facebook.com/Rail.Goods.Division

    On the Isle of Wight, they run a monthly "Island Heritage Train Day" that includes a goods service - normally the 3rd Sunday of the Month.

    https://iwsteamrailway.co.uk/event/island-heritage-train-day-5/?mc_id=4552

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The Ffestiniog run their gravity slate train at most galas. I think it is possible people to ride in the slate wagons.



    They did run a lumber train after the clearing of some trees to move the trunks to Minffordd Yard before they were shipped off to be milled.

    [​IMG]

    @pmh_74 (Rather than make a new post it is easier to edit this to respond) I 'think' at the FfR the wagons are owned by the company and they are restored/maintained by the Heritage Group who get the money via appeals, grants etc
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
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  5. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    A more prescient question is who pays to restore and maintain the vehicles?

    In my experience it is the individual owners who are expected to do that, even if the host railway has previously enjoyed many years of free use of said vehicle including the opportunity to make money out of it through use at events or in photo charters, and to save themselves money by using them for engineering work or covered storage of materials.

    Is this a sustainable model? It seems very skewed in favour of the host railway and not necessarily in the long-term interests of 'preservation'.

    Maybe others' experiences differ?
     
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  6. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    York Area Group on the NYMR have acquired the majority of Civils wagons primarily for use on the Civil Engineering side.
    As well as most of the On Track Plant such as Tampers and Cranes. Not forgetting the provision of the 40m x 2 road shed at Newbridge.

    A separate group looks after the Demo Freight train stock.

    YAG have undertaken most of the initial repair and rebuild works on its wagons, then any future major work is under discussion with Civ Eng and his requirements.
    We are currently working on 2 LOWMACS in need of redecking after 17 - 20 years of use. Funded by the NYMR and a 40t WELTROL funded by YAG but all work is carried out in house generally by the same bodies unless specialist.
    Alongside this there is the recommisioning of Tamper 73307 back into service and ongoing maintenance of the plant, normally funded by the NYMR.
     
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  7. big.stu

    big.stu Well-Known Member

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    At NVR the wagon group undertake most non passenger rolling stock restoration and maintenance, and that can be on both privately and railway owned wagons (the majority we work on are railway owned, but we sometimes carry out work at owners request on private wagons too - and indeed some wagons are owned by members of the group). An example being the restoration of the civil engineering brake van which we undertook over the last year or so.

    We are self funding - we run events like freight driving experiences and photo charters to generate our income (as well as the traditional sales stand selling various stuff - mugs, bespoke limited edition model wagons, railwayana, etc), and obviously occasional donations made specifically to the group.

    I believe that those railways fortunate enough to have 813 Fund rolling stock will often have materials paid for by the fund if the railway provides the manpower to undertake the work (volunteer or staff) on the funds wagons. @nick813 can probably confirm/elaborate.
     
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  8. 61648

    61648 Member

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    In answer to the original post, specifically can passengers ride in demonstration freight trains, the EARM have a couple of restored open wagons fitted with seats for just such a purpose in their freight. Also passengers can ride in the Brake Van.
     
  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes, as long as the brake van (or indeed any other wagon fitted with suitable seats) is fitted.

    Do any railways run goods trains on ordinary days where the locos are not owned by the railway? Where the loco is owned by the railway I assume the "balance sheet cost" on the day is just the coal rather than a daily steaming fee which perhaps makes the whole operation a lot easier to justify. Be interested to hear of any counter-examples.
     
  10. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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  11. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I had a discussion with the ORR on this very subject yesterday. In principle, there is no problem. The critical thing is to have carried out the inevitable risk assessment. Things to consider are inward opening doors on verandas, especially if children are carried, stove not to be in use or well guarded, means of access and a means of communication with a person who can take action if required (Railway Safety Regs 1997). The reason for my discussion was regarding a non-fitted brake van. Again, no problem provided the foregoing was implemented and the loco had sufficient braking. A max speed of 10mph was suggested.
     
  12. nick813

    nick813 Well-Known Member Loco Owner

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    Hello,
    The 813 Fund normally has an agreement with a host railway where the Fund pays for the initial restoration and then the railway pays for upkeep. This does not always work as The Fund does dip into the accounts to pay for this and that. Paying for restoration is part of the issue, finding people/time to restore/renovate is another. This is especially so where there are no covered facilities to under take such projects. There is the 'contract' restoration, some of the quotes we have received are eye watering and way beyond The Funds means.
    I wonder if the wagon restorers and the wagon groups should start to make some more noise as these Historic vehicles are still 'Cinderella'.
    Railways were at first designed and used for the movement off goods.

    looking forward .......
     
  13. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member

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    Chatham Historic Dockyard (Which only sprung to mind as we visited them last Sat). :)

    Do TPO's count? (Nene Valley and Didcot. Not sure if these tend to be only on 'events' though)
     
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  14. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    DSC00907.JPG On the GCR, the majority of the freight wagons (approx 90+) are privately owned and many are restored by the Quorn Wagon and Wagon group.
    The Windcutter group restore those 30 grey mineral wagons ( 6 more are on loan to the P& B Rly). The funding is via dedicated funds held by the DCRT who actually own the wagons. Fundraising has been via charter workings, sales stands and donations...and many thanks to those who do support.
    The Railway has given us a wagon space in their C & Workshop at Rothley for restoration work. The railway has provided "Running expenses" ie oil and other small sundries. We have about 5 regular volunteers and 4 occasional helpers in the team. We are coming up to our 29th anniversary this year and are trying to get 30 running wagons for the end of next year to run a "Lengthy Train"..... 30 at 30!
     
  15. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    I am just wondering how other railways operate their freight wagons, as only a few have responded, so far, on this thread. Nearly every heritage line has some wagons on site somewhere.
    I suppose another part of this question is what does the host railway get out of freight wagons on site?
    Also what about wagons slowly disintegrating with no work being done on them and even no apparent owner?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
  16. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member

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    I am not involved in such things, but I imaging there are 2 parts to this.
    1) a desire to preserve all aspects of our railway heritage.
    2) Freight is part of the show (albeit not usually a direct money making part, other than photo charters).
     
  17. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    I think a lot of railways are starting to look at the items of rolling stock on their site and ask owners to sign a formal agreement to restore them, move them on, or scrap them.
    Those items which have been restored are often used for storage of seats etc from carriages being restored, or Easter/Halloween/Santa decorations.
     
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  18. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    The North Norfolk has a modest wagon fleet of around 30 wagons. Approximately 1/2 of them are restored and available for use in the demonstration goods train, which typically runs in different combinations with 8-10 wagons due to lengths of loops etc.

    Around 1/2 of the wagons in the demonstration set are owned, restored and funded by the M&GN Society, with the other 1/2 owned either by the railway or privately. Whilst all the private wagons (of which there are very few, around three I think) are restored and funded by their owners, the M&GN Society has in the past restored and payed for some railway owned wagons for the greater good.

    This 1/2 of the fleet is fairly sustainable, the vehicles seeing low usage and low wear. Whilst we don't have a dedicated wagon group, fits and starts of restorations have been arranged by various groups over the years which has seen a wagon added to the set or taken out and rerestored every few years or so. The demo goods set is currently the longest it's ever been.

    The "other 1/2" of the fleet is the engineering/service fleet which are all unrestored with almost all of the vehicles in use, usually carrying items. It is currently a future aspiration to "restore" the engineering stock. This section in particular is currently somewhat unsustainable and there are several wooden bodied vans in particular in use as stores which will not make it if they are left too many more years.

    Just my opinion but our modest resources available for wagons will be pretty exclusively tied up with keeping the 15(ish) runners in working presentable order. It could be suggested an equilibrium has been reached, so if anyone wants to add any of the engineering vehicles to the demo set, or if an engineering vehicles gets so bad it needs serious work to carry on using, then that's going to be an interesting conversation.

    Moving onto operations, 10 years ago demo goods trains were sneaked under the radar on (IIRC) August Sundays. This was because we had a 2x steam timetable during the day with a diesel loco doing 2 round trips at the end of the day. The diesels were on day hire rates and had been costed into those two passenger trips, so two extra round trips with the goods were able to be run in the early afternoon for just the cost of the extra diesel and one extra volunteer signalman to realise the third path. The exercise had three advantages: ability to advertise goods running for extra visitor interest, four regular goods guard training days a year, and a four trip diagram for the diesel crews which made a previously unattractive turn "more of a day" and therefore easier to roster. The service was discontinued after a few seasons, I'm not sure of the reason.

    Since then, we have most certainly been "event only" operators of the demo goods set.

    Sent from my moto g(8) power using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Thanks Chris
    The use of "Engineering" wagons is another interesting aspect. On many railways they only seem to get the bare minimum of work to keep them in operation - but they do tend to look very battered and uncared for. Obviously they should be the railway's responsibility if railway owned, but, understandably, they are very low on the "Jobs to be done" list.
     
  20. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    With the potential mileages possible on the NYMR All wagons in the Civils Fleet are subject to FTR's as required.
    Any wagon in use will be restored both mechanically and Bodily. All are repainted in appropriate liverys in house at Newbridge.
    Currently the busy wagons are the Plate wagons, Borail and Lowmacs busy laying out the rails and sleepers for winter relay work. So they may be doing 2 or 3 shuttles a day as material is delivered to the yard. 2 Artic loads of concrete sleepers this morning.
    The Borail has been laying out new rail where required and uplifting some from a previous relay which was transferred direct to a lorry at the yard for scrap
    Also a Weltrol is dedicated to material movement to the bridge replacement site at Goathland.
    The Seacow and Sealion plus Dogfish will come in to play after the renewals take place.
    Currently we have 2 Lowmacs out for repair and redecking, A 40t Weltrol under overhaul and 3 Seacows and a Brake van awaiting work to start. We need at least 2 BV'S sometimes 3 so the Shark is used as well.

    Then there are the On Track Plant machines. Of which the Plasser 12t Crane is the busiest, being in use nearly every day.
    The Tampers and Regulator being used when required.

    What is the biggest thing we are short of ?
    Bodies to do the work.
    If you could help we would welcome you with open arms.
     
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