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Your experiences of hiring locomotives (good and bad)

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Biggles633, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Biggles633

    Biggles633 New Member

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    Over the past 6 years I have hired several locomotives. This has included long conversations with owners/groups and signing a contract which says don't break it, or wear it out, if you do, your paying.
    When the locomotives have arrived I've been very disappointed at their poor condition.
    Some serious faults which mean failing the locomotive before it's even been steamed.

    What's been anyone else experience?

    I have had other locomotives arrive and they have been in good condition.
     
  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Have seen much the same happen.
    Hiring from reputable owners is one answer.
     
  3. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    But how do you know who is "reputable"? Generally, visiting locos tend to be new to the railway they are visiting, so presumably you don't have the luxury of dealing with the same owners.
     
  4. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Reputation within the industry tends to be earned and known?
     
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  5. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Are you using the HRA model form of loco hire agreement? It is not a great document and inter alia there does not appear to be any obligation on the owner to supply a loco in a fit to run condition.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    It's not really fit for purpose, IMHO.
    Many railways hire locos without first inspecting them. That's at their risk. The NYMR have had their fingers burned in the distant past with some well-known locos and now always inspect potential hire locos, even for short term use. The previous G.M. once told me he was spared the embarrassment of telling one major railway after inspection that its loco had significant faults because the line concerned withdrew the offer first.
     
  7. Dinmore Manor Ltd.

    Dinmore Manor Ltd. New Member

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    The door is always open for any prospective hirer of our engines to come and inspect first, some take us up on the offer, some don't. That is the potential hirer's choice, but we do so to protect ourselves as much as possible.
     
  8. twr12

    twr12 Member

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    You can do quite a lot on trust and you get to know which railways' locos are up together and which are not so good.
     
  9. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    From an owner's point of view, the loco concerned being a Sentinel whose operation is a bit different to the 'orthodox' Stephensonian type, which has been on a couple of hires. The owner and myself came to the conclusion that when it was operated elsewhere at least one of us would always be with it for in instructional and supervisory purposes. This would be from initial light-up to disposal at the end of the day. Am I correct in believing that the NRM operates a similar policy?
     
  10. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    One railway's " good condition" is another railways poor condition, it depends on how high your own standards are, how hard your engines have to earn their living, theres a difference between trundling on a level bit of railway with the regulator only cracked, to a 10 mile slog with an engine working at or near its limit for that line, i can remember seeing on loan engines with leaking firebox seams, others in such run down condition they hardly can pull their own weight, but at the same time, i have had visiting engines that put our home fleet to shame, such has been their high standard of maintaince, i can remember 92203, when it came to the mid hants, with half of its superheaters blanked off, we had to make up a set from spares before it could run a train unaided, and i can remember a day on Nigel Gresley, a superb engine, no knocks, ran like a sowing machine,
    but having a mainline certificate was no indication of how well any engine was looked after, a certain apple green4-6-2 i think would have been failed on shed if that had ever came through the gate, where as our ( mhr) engines the ones that were allowed to stretch their legs i dont think were ever failed by another railway when they went on hire
     
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  11. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    You could be on dangerous ground, there, Martin!
     
  12. nick813

    nick813 Well-Known Member Loco Owner

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    There are also good and bad hire ees!
     
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  13. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    Indeed I know one owner who was asked to loan his engine and decided to take a look at that railway 'on the quiet' so to speak. He was so disappointed with the heavy handed driving style of the crew that day, that he politely declined their hire request.
     
  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Quite so.
     
  15. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    i could tell a funny story about David shepard, when i was on Black Prince, :oops::oops:
     
  16. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    It's funny, talking to a traction Engine owner who could not believe that loco owners hired their loco's out and were not present on the footplate at all times.

    He said something like your engines are worth more than ferrari's but you would not give the keys to any old Tom dick or Harry with a driving licence to take that out for a spin.
     
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  17. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    You can't be everywhere at once though, can you? If you're going to take that sort of approach and are a sole owner, or part of a very small group, there are going to be times when it simply doesn't run (= no income for owner/group) simply because of family commitments or whatever. Which in turn means that a railway won't want to hire it. There are loco owning groups who insist on a footplate representative at all times and I think this is typical when an engine visits a railway away from home base, perhaps for a few weekends in the season, but if you base yourself at a railway long-term you have to have some level of trust in that railway and its people to look after your machine. After all it is in the interests of the railway to do so - and if you don't trust them, why are you basing it there? Clearly, in taking that approach, you accept a level of risk and hope that any contractual obligation to put right any damage over and above normal wear and tear is honoured.

    In this sense traction engines are rather more akin to classic cars than railway engines; I can understad the sentiment from outside the heritage railway movement looking in, but when you're involved with railways it becomes clear that it just wouldn't work.
     
  18. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    I think you misconstrued my post, I was pointing out that it is a matter of trust that we hire out our loco's with the confidence that it will be looked after, something the traction Engine boys find astounding
     
  19. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Well-Known Member

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    I took the original post to infer hiring in from outside the line/base/supporting group. I would hope that long term hire agreements between operating companies and supporting bodies are well thought out on both sides and as with any business arrangement there is a degree of mutual understanding. There do seem to be some lines that have a high turnover of hired in motive power. No ideas as to the reasons
     
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  20. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Most agreements allow for an owners rep to ride on the loco. However, spending a day on a loco as 'owners rep' might sound interesting but, as one who has done it on more than one occasion, it soon gets boring! You may even own the loco but unless you are qualified on that particular railway, you are only entitled to stand in the corner and make comment. There have been one or two who have tried to adopt the approach of owner-driver and the Railway Inspectorate have taken a very dim view of this. Some railways will let you have a go at driving or firing under supervision but that is a privilege and not a right
     

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