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Eden Valley Railway - Warcop

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by Marmaduke, 10 Jan 2019.

  1. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

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    A friend of mine tells me great things are starting to stir at the Eden Valley Railway, Warcop, just on the A66 Road east of Appleby, Cumbria.

    Apparently they have sourced a 2-road rail shed and aim to build it this year.

    This is a lovely little railway, in a fantastic location on route to the Lake District.

    I don't think it gets the publicity it deserves. Yes there's a lot to do, but it appears they have a very manageable P-Way of circa 2.75miles, with an outside potential of a further two miles running into Appleby.

    I understand they are just short on resource & active membership to get them moving.

    They do "Driver for a Fiver" deals and they have a nice little cafe and emporium shop. I visited last summer on one of their open days.

    I think they'd welcome a few members more to assist - web site is www.evr-cumbria.org.uk/
     
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  3. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    Yes, I have been on that line a couple of times, we sat in one of the 3 carriages of a nse dmu that had been painted crimson and cream. I think there were some poss planning or land problems that was delaying their aim to get to Appleby, not sure if these have been resolved. How far would the two stations be from each other in Appleby if they did get there?
     
  4. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It is a great little railway, not least because of the rolling stock, however it is quite tricky for non-motorists to get to.

    Last time I attempted, it was by way of a bus rally at Kirkby Stephen, and in spite of there being a number of potential passengers and unsurprisingly lots of buses, the one bus which was supposed to run to Warcop broke down and none of the others wanted to replace it.

    I intend to make another attempt this year though.
     
  5. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

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    Its about 4 miles from Appleby by road and yes I would agree not always good to get public transport to.

    Distance between the two stations is about quarter mile.

    The Appleby East station is currently occupied by a scrap dealer, however all the tracks go from Warcop through to Appleby East. The EVR evidently owns outright the trackbed & P-way for 2 miles west from Warcop.

    Its also connected to the Settle & Carlisle at Appleby main station via a curve. This harks back to when it was a link to the military base at Warcop.

    The other 2 miles from this point is a strange one. The EVR I gather owns the P-way but NOT the trackbed - SUSTRANS owns the Trackbed to Appleby East!

    The great things going for this little railway is its of manageable size (less than the maximum 9 miles long) in a really beautiful part of the world on one of the major roads linking the Lake District and Teesside.

    Its ripe for a small steam industrial type or two, because there aren't really any gradients as far as I can see the profile, so if the shed appears as planned, I would guess there'd be many small steam loco owners falling over themselves to get to it with their loco's, such is the location.

    I think its going to be one of the really nice places to visit assuming they get a bit more publicity and of course members!! They desperately need active members so I am told.
     
  6. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    That's interesting. Are Sustrans holding up the extension of the line ?
     
  7. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

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    Not sure - Word on the street is that a few years ago dialogue was going well about the trackbed being shared between Sustrans and the EVR, however those discussions apparently have evaporated, despite EVR still very keen, or so a colleague informs me.

    I think the EVR doesn't have many active members, indeed I dont think they have many members full stop, about 200 I believe. I think this is could be a factor in them not pushing Sustrans in getting a deal.

    I know several people who reside in Appleby and the surrounding villages and they all believe a tourist attraction like the EVR needs to come into the town. Indeed I think the town council would be pleased too.

    If they had more members, Im sure it could be driven through. How many locations do you know that have the p-way still in-situ?
     
  8. madannie77

    madannie77 Member

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    Rather than try to multiquote and cut and paste (which will end in a complete mess), I shall answer as best as I can some of the points above.

    The Warcop branch was sold by BRB (Residuary) in the late 1990s, the Eden Valley Railway Trust being outbid by Railway Paths Ltd (as I understand it the commercial arm of Sustrans). Following negotiations the line which is currently in use by the Eden Valley Railway (2 miles 19 chains from Warcop Station) was purchased outright by the Trust. The trust also owns the P Way on the remaining stretch to Appleby (approx 3 miles 10 chains), whilst Railway Paths Ltd owns the trackbed. The original intention was, apparently, to create a shared railway/cycle path, but as the line was single track with no provision made to double this was soon seen to be rather impractical. Over the years there have been periods of discussion and other periods of "nothingness", when communication with Railway Paths Ltd is not even replied to. It is not really a matter of membership numbers as to how to take the matter forward, more a matter of cost, as it seems likely that it might take legal expertise to sort the problem out, and that does not normally come cheap.

    The connection to the Settle & Carlisle line at Appleby was put in when the S & C was built in the 1870s and was used frequently for freight workings (and passenger diversions) over the years. The last use was when the 4-CEPs arrived from Shoeburyness in either 2005 or 2006, these being delivered to Appleby Yard by a GBRF Class 66 and then hauled down to Warcop by one of the EVR shunters. Back then it was possible to get trains through: at the moment it is not possible.

    The public transport situation is a great nuisance. Since Cumbria County Council cut the subsidy for the local bus some years ago and the operator gave up as it was not a viable proposition (it made enough money to keep running but not enough to afford a replacement bus) there has been no useful bus to Warcop. Several years ago the preserved buses at the Easter rally provided a bus every 15 minutes, which became every 30 minutes and latterly every hour only, which was not really frequent enough for casual visitors. Last year the new organisers of the rally ignored the Eden Valley Railway completely and the service provided was by a Trust member who owned a vehicle and volunteered to run it. Unfortunately his bus failed on the Sunday, leaving several people stranded and preventing other visitors getting to Warcop.

    The lack of volunteer numbers is a bit of a nuisance, as there are always too many jobs to be done and not enough hands available. For example, it had been hoped to get the working MLVs and a 4-CEP refurbished last year so that a battery operated train could run (as happened several years ago) but too many other jobs came up which took priority. It is also the lack of numbers which prevents the railway from being open on more days than at present.

    Although the 2019 timetable has not returned from the printers yet I do know that the first running day will be Sunday 7th April, and the rest of the open days will be much as in 2018.
     
  9. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

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    Thanks Madannie77, clearly someone in the know and great reply - Thank you.

    I think its a super place and has massive potential to be a superb railway with \ without journeying into Appleby East! Appleby East though would in my opinion be a great destination and be the icing on the cake for the EVR.

    Can the EVR not get assistance with costs for legal affairs? Or have they any members with a legal background. One HR I was involved with used to identify at membership stage what skill sets members had and we had many legal guys including two barristers, five solicitors and even seven reverends!!

    I hope that the EVR manages to break out the box and achieve their goals.
     
  10. IanD

    IanD Established Member

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    There was a bloke on another thread looking to volunteer at a preserved railway, perhaps we should point him in this direction...
     
  11. ThetrackMaster

    ThetrackMaster Member

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    Ive visited the site on a number of occasions and always thought the only thing stopping them was a few more active members. Yes to a few it may be difficult to get to, but these days many have cars.

    In 2016, daily average passing through Warcop on the A66 road according to traffic surveys was just over 18000 vehicles daily, slightly less on weekends.

    How many tourist locations can boast that amount? How many Heritage Railway locations, based in lovely countryside can even boast that?

    The EVR is sat on a major through route which Im sure with a bit of additional publicity and product offering could be tapped into?

    If I can paraphrase Kevin Costner's film Field of Dreams - "If you build it, THEY will come".

    The guys (and gals) up there are some of the warmest and most welcoming people Ive met.

    Some HR sites you go to, there is sometimes an element, small granted who dont exactly enthuse about their railway but they do at the EVR.

    Hope it all goes well for them - Perhaps all they need is a bit of new blood joining to help them achieve their massive potential? They have done really well to date on their limited resource.
     
  12. user1234

    user1234 Member

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    This is a very nice heritage railway. I have visited a few times and always enjoyed it. But unfortunately it is a very difficult one to get to if you don't have a car. It is only served by one bus a week in each direction. Your only other option is to walk to Appleby railway station which is at least a 90 minute walk. The public transport in this area is awful. If there was better public transport i think they would get a lot more visitors.
     
  13. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Thanks for a very detailed and informative reply !

    As mentioned, I certainly intend to visit at some stage this year. Hopefully the bus rally organisers will get their house in order !
     
  14. xc170

    xc170 Member

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    Didn't know this line existed until I read this thread.

    The route it's self looks really special, but the website is a throwback to the early 2000's and the rolling stock used is a rather eclectic collection.
     
  15. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    Very useful reply Madannie77. I wonder if the could approach the national lottery for funding?
     
  16. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    I don't know if they are still there, but on the previous two times that I visited the EVR, there were about half a dozen flag poles with different flags on them, I can not remember what the significance of those were though.
     
  17. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

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    When you stand in the station car park at Warcop and look at the hill tops, which in winter usually get snow covered, the scenery is breath taking.
    I don't think a lot of people truly know about it, because there's little publicity about it.
    If a few more people got engaged with it as active, even remote supporting members, it would transform the place.
    The people up there have achieved so much with so little resource, it's incredible.
    Its one of those places where when you go you think, "this is not far off being really special, if only......"
    The thing is as I suggested in one of my earlier posts, it's of very manageable size, even with a run into Appleby East if they can get it.
    As Madannie77 said, they don't have many people, consequently with a lack of resource things inevitably take longer.
    Some say it's quite out of the way - well I disagree. There's many other railways which are out in the sticks, off the beaten track way more than this one. Yes you need a car, but its on a major road route.
    Having worked on a few HR's large and small, what tends to happen is with the smaller ones, you have members who work their socks off to keep a presence almost keeping the railway in a holding position. They don't loose their way as such but do so much, that they can't do anything else.
    Thats where new blood needs to kick in to give them fresh impetus and move forward.
    I hope at the very least this thread starts to make people aware of the wonderful little EVR.
    It may not be up there with the more well known sites, but the potential is immense and I really hope in time it catches the eye of small industrial loco owners, particularly steam as the line is made for them!!
     
  18. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    These 2 photos were taken last September from the link road into Appleby from the A66, fairly typical of the whole branch as it stands at the moment.

    1 Looking towards Warcop
    DSC04953.JPG
    2 Towards Appleby
    DSC04954.JPG
     
  19. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

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    Yes this looks like the p-way they own but not the track bed, the section they are not allowed on.
    Looks like concrete sleepers on this section too?
    This as the pics show is a really nice branch line and really needs support to get them where they need to be.
    Oh for "Challenge Anneka!!"
     
  20. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    never visited this railway despite driving past many many many times. It is on the list for this year but as it doesn't do steam trains it is hard to persuade the boss to call in! I used up a lot of credit getting us a visit to the Keith and Dufftown Railway last year. A LOT of credit.
     
  21. ThetrackMaster

    ThetrackMaster Member

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    Hi DarloRich
    You should give this a run out - Its only a small place, but massive potential as people in the thread suggest.
    I think if they get the shed built, which I understand they have on site already, this will be a brill place for Industrial steam sized locos.
    The great thing going for it is its a manageable size, a potential to get to Appleby East in time, plus the gradients aren't that bad.
    They just need a few more members and their direction will be achieved. Credit needs to go the small team of members up there, who have managed to keep it in existence.
    A big factor is that they actually own most of it and looking at their company accounts don't appear to have a debt burden.
    Im sure if the shed appears, you'll have some steam!
     
  22. HaggisBotherer

    HaggisBotherer Member

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    I'm sorry, but I have to correct this for you in the name of reality...
    All the successful preserved lines have one thing in common - the vast majority of their revenue comes from non-railway enthusiasts. And, unfortunately, nobody apart from a railway enthusiast visits a railway for no other reason that it is a railway.

    Alas, pretty as the Eden Valley undoubtedly is, it will also always be fighting the fact that it's in the shadow of its rather more illustrious neighbours to the west, on the far side of the M6, and to the south.
     
  23. Mogulb

    Mogulb Member

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    Excuse my ignorance but who are the illustrious neighbours to the west?
     
  24. Bedpan

    Bedpan Member

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    Settle and Carlisle maybe? I know several non enthusiast people who have been along it for the ride and the views when visiting the area, much the same as they would ride on a preserved line if there was one where they were staying. Other than that, I can only think of Ravenglass and Eskdale and Lakeside and Haverthwaite to the west.
     
  25. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    Or South Tynedale, but that is more North than West.
     
  26. Mogulb

    Mogulb Member

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    Perhaps HaggisBotherer would like to enlighten us all!
     
  27. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    I presumed they were referring to the Lake District in general.
     
  28. user1234

    user1234 Member

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    There is also the Stainmore Railway nearby which is another Heritage Railway. I believe that the long term aim is to join the Eden Valley Railway and the Stainmore Railway together as one Heritage Railway.
     
  29. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    A preserved railway from Kirkby Stephen to Appleby would be rather splendid - particularly one running CEP's and Thumpers !
     
  30. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member

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    If they have that much traffic going by on the A66 then what they should go for is a ‘heritage service station’ at Warcop.
    It’s almost right next to the road. Decent cafe, toilets,parking, something for the kids to climb on, and it will make a great stop off for families.
    If it looks heritage for photos and gets a good reputation for homemade, locally sourced, food and cakes then social media will do most of their publicity for them.
    The heritage aspect should help get planning permission most businesses couldn’t.......
     
  31. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I disagree with most of what you say, however, I quite like the idea of a 'heritage' service station.

    In my childhood days, when my parents used to take me to see our family in South Wales in the car, I used to love stopping off at all the service stations. It made the journey more exciting somehow, particularly the one overlooking the older (then the main) Severn bridge.

    For me though, a "heritage" service station would have to mimick one on the M4 from the 1980's, with big cabinets of glasses of orange and tomato juice lined up :)
     

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