Drought effects on steam excursions

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moonrakerz

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I am considering booking on a steam excursion (in June) to the drought hit South East.

Does anyone have any thoughts/ideas/information as to what effects a full blown drought order would have on steam trains ?

I note the Ts & Cs say: "............will use its best efforts to provide steam traction on trips rostered for steam haulage, but this cannot be guaranteed. In the last 12 years we have had to substitute diesel engines on a few occasions, mainly due to drought,............."

I don't mind spending a wad of money to be hauled in some rickety rolling stock by Tornado but not by an equally rickety Class 47 :(
 
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jopsuk

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I'd guess that a hosepipe-ban and other water useage restrictions may make it rather difficult to fill the lorries/ex fire-engines used to fill the tenders of steam locos. Try contacting the operator and see what they have to say? One would hope that they have looked into the issue by now!
The other drought-related issue concerns dried out vegetation, even beyond the railway boundaries (and therefore outside of Network Rail's control) that is more susceptible to being set light to by sparks from the chimney.
 

ralphchadkirk

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The hosepipe ban currently - in my area at least - only affects domestic use. Industrial use is still allowed.


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Sapphire Blue

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I would hope that recreational use - like filling up unnecessary locomotives for joyrides - would not count as industrial use.
Why would you hope that?
These railtours are run as businesses just like any other.
In the same way that golf clubs will be able to pour water onto the ground to keep THEIR businesses going.

(any-how here in Cleckhuddersfax I am just going out to water my lawn for the 3rd time today)
 

ralphchadkirk

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I would hope that recreational use - like filling up unnecessary locomotives for joyrides - would not count as industrial use.
Then you are wrong. Where did I mention recreational use? The distinction is between domestic and industrial use. Heritage railways and rail tour companies are businesses and would therefore count for industrial use. If it got really bad, however , they could ban non essential industrial use.


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DownSouth

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Then you are wrong. Where did I mention recreational use? The distinction is between domestic and industrial use. Heritage railways and rail tour companies are businesses and would therefore count for industrial use. If it got really bad, however , they could ban non essential industrial use.
I didn't say you said anything about recreational use, I just said that if there is only a choice between domestic and industrial use, recreational use should not count as industrial use.

I would bet money that the gross turnover each year from sales of products and services related to gardening is significantly higher than the gross turnover from all railtours (let alone restricting it to just steam railtours), so water for gardening would be at least as beneficial to England than water for railtours. If there is not enough water for gardening, then there is not enough for railtours.

There is also another parallel which suggests gardening should be at least as high a priority for water allocation as railtours. If you're short of water for your garden, you can switch to more drought resistant plants which require less water. Likewise, a railtour can switch to using a locomotive which requires less water. Viable compromises exist for both of these leisure-based business sectors during water shortages.

I agree that a distinction needs to be made between commercial activities that produce a significant national benefit and those which do not. Just because somebody makes a profit from it does not make it an industry.
Why would you hope that?
These railtours are run as businesses just like any other.
In the same way that golf clubs will be able to pour water onto the ground to keep THEIR businesses going.
Why would I hope that? Because more people would draw satisfaction or their daily bread from gardening than they would from railtours.

Golf clubs should be using recycled water or rainwater collected and stored on-site for maintaining the courses. If they are not, then they should be relegated to the same level as maintenance of gardens.



Perhaps in the light of this recent shortage of water leading to restrictions, the UK government could introduce a rebate or tax credit system for the purchase of rainwater tanks, grey water recycling systems and other water-saving devices. Planning laws could be amended to make inclusion of rainwater collection and storage compulsory for all new buildings, which could help keep the load on ageing water infrastructure down as well as making supplies go further.
 

Sapphire Blue

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Perhaps we could put a 5 gallon container of water on every empty train seat travelling south from Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
 

LE Greys

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Perhaps we could put a 5 gallon container of water on every empty train seat travelling south from Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
Or, since a lot of railtours involve running in locations outside the ban areas, add an old tank wagon to the rake and fill it up for the benefit of the next tour.
 

DownSouth

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Or, since a lot of railtours involve running in locations outside the ban areas, add an old tank wagon to the rake and fill it up for the benefit of the next tour.
Sounds similar to a practice common among a number of freight operators in Australia. Rather than pay extortionate rates for refuelling at remote locations owned by other operators, those without the facilities specify new diesel locos to have in-line refuelling included. You can see the fuel tanks in this photo, first in line behind the locos and ahead of the crew carriage...

 

michael769

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The main issue with drought is fire. In long dry periods it is very much the norm world wide for heritage steam haulage to be banned for fire safety reasons. Even in Scotland switching the Jacobite to diesel haulage occurs on a fairly regular basis in dry periods - and Scotland does not really get droughts.

Any ban on steam will be in place for fire prevention reasons long before we are so sort of water that their relatively modest (let's face it steam haulage's water take is tiny compared to a large town's car washing demands), water needs cannot be met.
 

infobleep

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What happened in the days when steam trains were used for regular services. Did they have problems with fires fairly often or did the weather patterns produce wetter summers?
 

LE Greys

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Linesides were more comprehensively cleared, because they needed to be.
As can be seen in many photographs, embankments and cuttings sometimes tended to resemble a lawn rather than a jungle. Still didn't stop crops beyond the fence catching fire, I think it was 1964 that the Southern Region had to pay something like £10,000 in damages, leading to experiments with Gisel ejectors on 34064 Fighter Command to try to cure the problem.
 

Stewart

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What drought?

From Wikipedia, consequences of drought are:

Dust bowls, themselves a sign of erosion, which further erode the landscape
Dust storms, when drought hits an area suffering from desertification and erosion
Famine due to lack of water for irrigation
Habitat damage, affecting both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
Malnutrition, dehydration and related diseases
Mass migration, resulting in internal displacement and international refugees
Reduced electricity production due to reduced water flow through hydroelectric dams
Seen any of these yet?
 

ralphchadkirk

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Do you seriously think that those things happen instantly whenever there is a drought?

A drought is where there is a extended period of lack of water, its not defined by whether there are dust bowls or famines!
 

jopsuk

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Stewart, are you being a deliberate idiot? Have you been near a reservoir in the last few months in the south east or midlands? They're seriously low. Many rivers are seriously low. There's a nature reserves where the likes of the RSPB are reporting ditches drying out that have never dried out. Aquifer levels, out of your sight, are are at record low levels in many places. The accumulated rainfall across the affected regions for the past year or so has been incredibly low (much as the accumulated rainfall in most of Scotland has been record breaking, but that's another issue).

Trying to deny there's a drought won't help if there's no water coming out of your tap.
 

LE Greys

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Stewart, are you being a deliberate idiot? Have you been near a reservoir in the last few months in the south east or midlands? They're seriously low. Many rivers are seriously low. There's a nature reserves where the likes of the RSPB are reporting ditches drying out that have never dried out. Aquifer levels, out of your sight, are are at record low levels in many places. The accumulated rainfall across the affected regions for the past year or so has been incredibly low (much as the accumulated rainfall in most of Scotland has been record breaking, but that's another issue).

Trying to deny there's a drought won't help if there's no water coming out of your tap.
Unless it really rains before summer, expect a poor harvest plus major shortages. High winds could cause dust problems as well. The fields of Suffolk could look like the Great Plains this summer (they're half way there sometimes anyway).
 

jopsuk

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Quite. of late, we've had occasional days when there's been a bit of drizzel or a short period of heavy rain- nothing to actually properly wet the ground (short peiods of heavy rain tend to run off quickly). Even on the wettest of days the Cambridge uni weather station hasn't recorded over 10mm in a day.
 

Jonny

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Or, since a lot of railtours involve running in locations outside the ban areas, add an old tank wagon to the rake and fill it up for the benefit of the next tour.
Nice idea in principle, but most tank wagons are designed for use in Class 6 (max 60mph), many are 2-axle (not conducive to high speed running), so it would need to be adapted (possible but costly) or the train put into a "slower" path.
 

Stewart

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Stewart, are you being a deliberate idiot? Have you been near a reservoir in the last few months in the south east or midlands? They're seriously low. Many rivers are seriously low. There's a nature reserves where the likes of the RSPB are reporting ditches drying out that have never dried out. Aquifer levels, out of your sight, are are at record low levels in many places. The accumulated rainfall across the affected regions for the past year or so has been incredibly low (much as the accumulated rainfall in most of Scotland has been record breaking, but that's another issue).

Trying to deny there's a drought won't help if there's no water coming out of your tap.
There's been around 70% of average rainfall over the last few years. Below average yes, but no matter how much name calling the moderators let you get away that doesn't change the fact that it isn't a drought.
 

ralphchadkirk

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And the amount of times you try and claim it isn't a drought unless Southern England is a dustbowl doesn't change the fact that isn't true.
 

Stewart

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And the amount of times you try and claim it isn't a drought unless Southern England is a dustbowl doesn't change the fact that isn't true.
Look at the rainfall stats.

If you think you know better than those who know more than you, go and change the Wikipedia entry on Drought.
 
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