How many of our Heritage Railways are in trouble?

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by Maybach, 27 Mar 2019.

  1. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I may not quite fit into the grumpy old git category, however I can be quite a big spender in the shops, particularly on books.

    This is another area where some railways need to up their game, who wants to buy a book that’s been stored in a damp place and had hundreds of clumsy fingers rifling through it?
     
  2. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Point proven then? Ensure there’s sufficient space so people can spread out, keeping everyone happy. Happy people will repeat their experience.
     
  3. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    The Ffestiniog is actually one of the better ones in this respect. They run fairly long trains, and often provide one or two historic carriages on the Ffestiniog end to keep the enthusiasts happy and provide extra capacity. We’ve certainly had many extremely enjoyable journeys in the “lock-ups”.

    For something like the Welsh Highland where it’s a very long journey it really makes a difference.
     
  4. John Luxton

    John Luxton Member

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    Thanks I wasn't aware who owned the field. As it appeared to be used on occasions by the railway I presumed it was railway property which was sometimes let out to a farmer as animals are often seen in it from time to time. I couldn't see why the residents would complain as it is a public road and as it stands must get a bit frustrated by the enthusiasts who park down there already. being able to take the vehicles off the road might actually be better.
     
  5. John Luxton

    John Luxton Member

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    I can see where you are coming from.

    Personally as someone who has spent over 33 years teaching other people's children, but who has chosen not to have any of my own, I do like to escape their presence. I however, I do recognise that today's youngsters are potentially tomorrows enthusiasts and volunteers. It is not only children who can be annoying though it is sometimes parents who don't realise that they are the adults and should set an example and expect their children to be have. Some years ago I travelled up the Snaefell Mountain Railway with parents who were interacting with their teenage children as though they were teenagers themselves. Wasn't a pleasant experience.

    What we really need is for more heritage railways to offer first class to those prepared to pay a bit more and quite often, though not always, escape the children.

    Unfortunately in recent years there appears, as on the national rail network, to have been a decline in First Class provision. The Ffestiniog Railway for example used to have first class accommodation located around the train with a choice of compartments as well as the observation car. However, in the last three years or so only the observation car option is available.

    Llangollen Railway used to offer first class - but that appeared to fizzle out many years ago. Tal-y-llyn still seem to offer it on most trains, but I think G&WR have now phased it out.

    My other passion apart from railways is ships.

    Due to the fact that the nearest shipping routes to my home serve the Isle of Man - I, and several other local enthusiasts, have chosen to be members of the Executive Travel Club due to the fact that no children are allowed, there are free sandwiches and drinks - including beer! I have been a member now for over 20 years.

    It is rather good and offers what you want but in a maritime context!

    John
     
  6. John Luxton

    John Luxton Member

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    Feets on seats? - Do what Merseyrail does and fine them! :D

    As for social media obsession - last year I took a trip on the Tal-yllyn Railway - I boarded at Abergynolwyn as it is more convenient for me. However, there was a family on board where the son and daughter kept their head burried in their phones for the whole journey to Tywyn, presumably they had done the same on the way up too? I was wondering what the point of the family day out was!

    John
     
  7. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I do wonder what the point is of a lot of these family days out. Welsh Highland is a problem one, stereotypical family will turn up and buy their ticket to "the other end", quite probably moaning about the high price in the process. By the time the train had got about half an hour into the journey the children are highly likely to be bored, yet they've still got another 3 or more hours of travelling to do, without a massive amount of time in between. Indeed I've seen many bored adults on the Welsh Highland.

    Fortunately the lock-ups tend to be fairly empty, so that offers a pleasant experience escaping all of this, albeit with rather less comfortable seats. I think many people avoid these as there's no access to a toilet.
     
  8. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Agree first class is very much a good thing, although again if spending more then I expect to get a pleasant experience. IME some of the railways who do offer first class are a bit lax on enforcing it.

    Also agreed that it's by no means just kids who can be a pain in the arse. ISTR a trip on the G&WSR where a group of oldies spend the entire journey talking loudly and graphically about their various ailments, treatments and medications. Hardly a quality day out being subjected to that.
     
    Last edited: 14 Feb 2020
  9. talerddig

    talerddig Member

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    VOR is an hour's drive from Tywyn, nearly two from Porthmadog and nearly an hour from Welshpool. That's rather a large area that is 'saturated'...! :)
     
  10. talerddig

    talerddig Member

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    I totally agree and neither are we 'plagued' with 'biddies' wanting tea and gifts. I like tea and I occasionally buy gifts, it doesn't mean I have to change sex, add twenty years on my life and travel by coach to do so! There's a whole cross section of people who want to visit to experience the railway - families, individuals, people from the UK and abroad, dogs, people with needs, enthusiasts. It doesn't matter, they're all customers. If you don't think that, then that's a downward slope. You get screaming kids who get bored on any public transport medium. As red dragon kindly points out there are other ways. Pay for a whole coach, go on a bespoke railway tour, charter a train, go on a photo charter...
     
  11. reddragon

    reddragon Member

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    To succeed a heritage railway needs all sorts of customers. Each type have different spending profiles and issues. There are certain types in each group who are freeloaders or obnoxious, but they are a tiny minority
     
  12. xc170

    xc170 Member

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    Hmm, maybe we need "Enthusiast" carriages and "Normal" carriages. :D

    I have to say, I like taking my little boy to preserved railways but I'd much rather be surrounded by families with young children laughing, joking and spending money on catering rather than being surrounded by stuffy old enthusiasts with questionably personal hygiene.
     
  13. ian1944

    ian1944 Member

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    My personal hygiene is OK, but certainly I'm an old enthusiast. I think that I'm a strange case, in that I want heritage railways to survive but don't do much in the way of ongoing direct support. When I retired I joined the Bo'ness and Kinneil as a life member, so feel that as they've got my (>£100) money up front I can ignore their special appeals for funding, particularly as, until increasing infirmity arose, I did voluntary track work and oddments like carpark marshalling on Thomas and Santa days. Also, I get my members' mag (Blastpipe) online rather than their incurring postage charges. So I wish them well and, when there with family, make a point of using the caff (highly recommended, as is the museum and the locomotive owners' sales coach - is that still there, it's a while since I've been?). It seems likely that the SRPS Railtours income, as well as the distance from any comparable preserved railway while being in a fairly densely-populated part of the world, insulates them from the financial difficulties which are the subject of this thread.
     

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