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Avon Valley Railway Updates and Videos

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Corbs, May 15, 2013.

  1. Corbs

    Corbs Well-Known Member

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    I think that the river cruises aren't operated at the moment, but I may be wrong.
     
  2. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture

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    A boat trip on the River Avon from Riverside to Bath would include three locks in each direction.
    In the summer the river can be busy therefore the journey could take quite a long time to navigate. <BJ>
     
  3. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture

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    Boat trips are not mentioned on the new AVR website. <BJ>
     
  4. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    I'm not compelled by your argument. Saltford is the busiest patch, but other then that traffic wouldn't be overwhelming. I think people would pay to "complete" the journey into Bath as part of a package, perhaps including dinner onboard. Was just a thought.

    There a four locks by my count, Swineford, Saltford, Kelston and Weston.
     
  5. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    True by the New website has quite a lot less on it than the previous version.
     
  6. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture

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    I must admit to smiling when I read your message. I walk my dog next to the River Avon and in summer part of the enjoyment is watching the boat owners 'discussing' who is next to pass through the various locks. Weston lock can be very busy on a weekend.
    With eight locks to navigate per round trip, I would imagine that supper would have to be an additional consideration. ;) <BJ>
     
  7. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

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    I sit out at Weston on my lunch break every day, I must admit you're right, it is quite something in the summer! I'd still be happy to do an all day sail and steam from Green Park to Oldland Common (dinner and drinks included, of course)!
     
  8. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    I have just received the latest newsletter from which the following is a summary:

    The railway would still like to extend towards Bath but it has not reached an agreement with the council on doing so.

    The railway has a rather short lease on its existing site and wishes to extend the length to one which will help it fund expansion. It is in discussions with the Landlord (the council) about doing so.
     
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  9. UppyJC

    UppyJC New Member

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    We used to offer boat trips as an extension to our operations but these were in conjunction with a 3rd party who were responsible for operating the boat... for reasons beyond our control, the boat operator was unable to continue operating and a replacement couldn't be found - most saying they prefer to be based in either Bath or Bristol, not somewhere in the middle! The positioning of Avon Riverside station was originally a reflection of the operation of boats.

    We have aspirations to extend the line towards Bath but, as other people have correctly pointed out, this is a risky and expensive operation with many other organisations and people to keep onside in the process. That said, keep an eye on our 50th Anniversary of the closure of the line (6th March 2016) as there might very well be an announcement about our future ambitions.

    Yeah, occasionally it's frustrating having limited resources and a limited length of track but a 3 mile, regularly operating railway relying on smaller (often industrial) engines and limited rolling stock is better than no railway at all - I hope you agree!

    To address a couple of other points on loco projects:
    - Avonside No. 1798 is making good progress with a new tank currently being constructed and funding for boiler work to begin approved. We do have a specific appeal for this - The 1798 Appeal - aiming to complete the works within 2 years for the loco's 100th birthday.
    - RSH No. 7151 is indeed in the queue awaiting overhaul but we don't have workshop space to be able to undertake too many major projects simultaneously.
    - Littleton No. 5 is privately owned and we're in discussions with the owners to agree a way forward.
    - LMS 4F No. 4123 is progressing well with a brand new tender being constructed and work on the locomotive underway. Again, it's a privately owned engine based on site with us at Bitton.

    Another briefly mentioned point from earlier was the lack of signals - that's something which is being addressed at the moment.

    The new website has been put in to address a whole host of issues making it difficult to update - the new site is much better for this and improvements are ongoing. If you've got any sensible suggestions to help us on our way, please let us know!

    The Avon Valley Railway relies massively on support from our members, the public, our staff and our volunteers. We are a small team compared to other railways, but the last thing it is a train set with no aspirations other than playing trains. We're committed to moving forward but this has to be done properly to safeguard our future while keeping an appeal to enthusiasts and general public alike. There's a general recognition among the management that we may have been a little slow off the mark recently, but there's a lot of effort going in to address this at the moment. Please bear with us while we do the, often invisible, changes required to start making large-scale visible progress. It will happen!

    Thanks,
    James
    Acting Vice Chairman, AVR
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
    big.stu, SpudUk, Robkitchuk and 4 others like this.
  10. theonlyadsrulz

    theonlyadsrulz New Member

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    A little video from today of current service loco WD 132 'Sapper' running the steam service.

     
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  11. theonlyadsrulz

    theonlyadsrulz New Member

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    Short video from a little over a week ago at the Vintage Transport Festival, featuring guest loco Willy The Well Tank!

     
  12. Librarybloke

    Librarybloke New Member

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    Hello all,

    This is my first post on NP (although I've a member for quite a while), but I've got a a good cause to promote so it seemed like a good time to stick my head above the parapet.

    I'm an AVR member and volunteer, although even Bitton regulars probably wouldn't recognise me a such - full time work and family commitments mean that my volunteering is done from behind a laptop, researching and writing articles for the magazine and working on funding bids. It's one of those that is the reason for this post - an opportunity for fellow armchair enthusiasts to make a real difference with a few clicks of a mouse...

    We've applied for Aviva's Community Fund, asking for £5k to finish restoring our BR standard brake van. The project's called "The Chocolate Train" because the idea is that the van will be used to give brake van rides behind the lovely little Sentinel loco which once worked at the Fry's Chocolate factory at Somerdale, Keynsham, just a few miles from the AVR. The loco's something of a local celebrity, and should return to steam next year (it's already run on compressed air) - the van seemed an ideal (and appropriate) way for people to enjoy it.

    To be successful we need to succeed in a public vote, so if you feel able we'd really appreciate it if you could lend us your vote. You can read more about the project at https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-3937, and from there register with Aviva, find your way back to the page and cast your votes - you get up to 10, and naturally we'd love it if we could have them all! The registering is a bit of a fiddle, but I had to do it to create the bid three weeks ago and so far haven't received any spam, so that should be fine. There's a prize draw you can enter - if you do just make sure you tick the "no email" box.

    So there it is, please do support it if you feel able - thanks in advance! I travelled in the AVR wagon group's restored (813 Fund) Toad a couple of weeks ago, and the quality of their work is fantastic, it would be lovely to see the BR van restored to the same standard...

    As I said, I'm not a regular on the ground at Bitton so don't know everything that's going on, but for those who'd like an update, the most exciting news for enthusiasts is that there are currently two well tanks in the yard (The Flour Mill's "Willy" and "Bellerophon") ahead of the gala on the 4th and 5th November. That's always a great event - with a relatively short line the action's compacted so there's always something to see... Two carriage restorations are nearing completion (a kitchen car and "Grace", the brake from the dining set), the DMU's receiving some attention, and a new heritage-style canopy's about to go up to replace the tatty catering marquee. I'm sure there's more too...

    Feel free to get in touch if you've got any questions re the Aviva bid...

    With very best wishes,

    Andrew.
     
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  13. toplight

    toplight New Member

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    I have spent a lot of time working in Bristol recently so have been able to explore a little of the lost railways. Had a short walk after work over Royate hill viaduct today as I was working nearby.

    One part I did walk was from the Present end of the Avon valley line at Oldland common as far as the former Warmley station. Is there any chance the railway could extend to Warmley as it seems an obvious extension to do. ? There seems to be no missing Bridges and the trackbed is clear all the way (only around 1.5 to 2 miles)

    The only obstacles seem to be
    1 Two level crossings which would need to be put back, one at the station itself.
    2 The cycle track runs mostly in the middle of the formation so would need putting alongside the line, (which was double track originally) so there is enough space.

    Amazingly at Warmley station the platforms and one station building survive and even the Midland Railway signal box complete with lever frame and obviously well looked after. Some pictures of Warmley station before and now. Interestingly I did see on a sign that the land is owned by the local councils not entirely by Sustrans as I had expected.

    upload_2017-10-26_20-59-5.png
    upload_2017-10-26_20-59-31.png
    upload_2017-10-26_21-0-1.png
     
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  14. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Active Member

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    My understanding was that there was substantial opposition from lineside residents to any extension beyond the current railhead at Oldland Common hence the decision to head towards Bath. Its not that practical anyway. That trackbed is a massively popular cycle (and walking route) between Bristol and Bath which is not going to be removed for a "hobby" railway (might be different if a serious light transit scheme were proposed between Bath and Bristol on that route that would ease road congestion). That means unless there is room round the back of one of the platforms at Warmley, you wouldn't be able to have a run around loop in the station itself, so would require either top and tail operation or possibly a loop beyond the station to shunt round the train to return. All for what? A station in another relative backwater of Bristol on a relatively minor road out of the city. OK so it chalks up further distance but in terms of building a sustainable future access to the tourist honeypot of Bath has to be a better bet. Assuming the legal hurdles can be overcome, better to go for the next stage towards Bath (e.g. Kelston with the Bird in Hand pub alongside the old station site).
     
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  15. Luke McMahon

    Luke McMahon New Member

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    1 thing I thought when I visited a couple of years back is that the stations could do with canopies.

    The AVR does get pretty windswept & properly arctic when the wind picks up & raining the platforms particularly at bitton feel very exposed.
     
  16. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Active Member

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    Agreed - it doesn't really help that Bitton station itself is set up above the road and surrounding area - the line drops back into the surrounding countryside by about Avon Riverside but it can be quite invigorating to walk lineside in the winter!
     
  17. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    But it never did have canopies, although there are plans for a canopy over the picnic area.
     
  18. Luke McMahon

    Luke McMahon New Member

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    I realise that but having visited last in winter when the wind gets going & the rain sets in its rather vicious.

    Particularly at bitton & on the new extension you get gale force winds which ain't pleasant. Anyone know which are the locos lined up alongside the shed at bitton?

    Brilliant railway though with mega friendly helpful staff. The restaurant was decent too, cheap priced & good food. Also AVR is home to a couple of interesting mk1s, what IIRC is a buillion train escort coach & think in the diner there was a MK1 with double doors presumably for disabled access.
     
  19. Librarybloke

    Librarybloke New Member

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    Hello again,

    It's nice to see some AVR discussion going on...

    Yes, the new canopy will be over the picnic area, which I think is where the old cattle dock was. It will replace an increasingly tatty marquee and provide much more appropriate and comfortable covered accommodation, whether its for eating or just escaping the rain. It'll have removable sides and will have heaters too, which should be handy for Santas etc. That's fully (grant) funded and work should start very soon.

    There was once a lovely stone waiting room on Platform 2 which would be wonderful to replace one day, but horribly expensive. Although that platform is a little exposed it's not used very often so it might be a while before that becomes a priority. A new shelter is planned for Avon Riverside, and we're applying for funding for that. If successful it will be in a heritage style but will need to be able to withstand the attentions of local vandals at a very isolated location - if it goes ahead the components of the shelter halt will have to arrive by train because there's no road access.

    Although I'd often agree that adding a mile or two simply for the sake of extending isn't really worth it, I do think that the AVR could do with it. Because the main station's in the middle an awful lot of time's spent running round at each end, which can make the experience seem a little slow for passengers I think - another mile or two would really help that I think... As far as I know Warmley's not entirely ruled out for the long-term future (although relationships with local people are very important. Maybe they've changed their minds over the years??) but I agree that Kelston would be good. Although the intention is to get to Newbridge Park and Ride (on the edge of Bath), Kelston is only another mile from Riverside and so wouldn't stretch existing resources too much...

    Luke, I don't know what was sitting by the shed when you visited, but "Littleton No 5", the big Manning Wardle has been there for a while, and 7151, the RSH is currently there I think. The Fry's Sentinel is often to be found there too, although that may change as its return to steam gets closer.

    Talking of which... Thanks to everyone who added their votes to our Aviva Community Fund "Chocolate Train" bid to restore the BR standard brake van to give rides with the Sentinel - more would be very welcome, we're still a long way short of being a winning bid... If you tried to vote but couldn't get onto the site do please try again, it seems to be working better today! And if you do vote please move the slider to make sure we get 10 votes rather than 1! As a reminder, the bid page is here - https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-3937 - and you'll need to register before you can vote. It takes a few minutes, but we'd be very grateful...

    Cheers,

    Andrew,
     
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  20. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Member

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    I also welcome news of this line, which tends, like too many, to hide its light under a bush :) . I've visited on a couple of occasions when in the area and agree that, with the end of the boat connection at Riverside an extension to Kelston would be useful and provide an interesting but not too onerous challenge for the railway.
    Can you get some realistic idea of the costs for such a project ? And then, if it looks feasable, float it on here and in your local press to see what support you may be able to get. You might be pleasantly surprised !
    Mike
     

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