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Catering facilities on Heritage Railway trains - ex West Somerset Railway Operations

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by paulhitch, Aug 11, 2017 at 8:06 PM.

  1. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm quite sure there are but equally there will be those who don't hold that view and as you rightly say, the opinion of one person isn't a lot to go on.
     
  2. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    And I was perfectly honest about the circumstances. My own feelings that a particular railway offered a long boring journey were of somewhere far to the south of N0rth Yorkshire and quite a bit shorter than the NYMR. No, not the Bluebell and I am not saying which.

    PH
     
  3. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture

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    I tried to book a cream tea special on the Nene Valley Railway as a treat for my sister.

    Sold out for the remainder of 2017! They seem to be popular...
     
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  4. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture

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    I like to think i'm one of those with practical experience, having both been a fireman, and worked as a chef in the dining car, and i have visited quite a few railways of all shapes ,sizes and gauges over the years, there are two reasons why buffet cars i think are an asset to some railways, its the chance to do something other than watch the scenery ,and its a lot more civilized than standing in a queue, and at least a buffet car does sell ale, unlike some refreshment rooms if you like me do enjoy a drink :)
    And not every station has somewhere you can get a refreshing cuppa from, when you have just spent the last 40 minutes shoveling coal, we used to have an agreement with the buffet car, you give us tea, we will haul you , no tea, no do you move ;) .
    There is no one size fits all as far as heritage railways go, every line has its own way of doing things, what may work for one, might not work on another, the customer, though always expects certain things though, that we ignore at our peril.
     
  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    I am afraid you are. Nowhere is perfect without any exception. I have been involved in a number of places places in various capacities for decades. I don't really see why I should have to justify myself to you but my concern that railway preservationists were in danger getting rather too dismissive about keeping costs in check came when acting as booking clerk several years ago. Some people would come up to the window, look at the prices or ask and then depart without travelling. Others would grumble and pay. Nowadays of course, they would probably look at the internet and not turn up at all.

    Of course some are genuinely hard up and have real problems whatever the cost. Others are merely tight fisted. However it is not reasonable for railway preservationists to expect the general public to subsidise the revenue costs of their interest ad infinitum even if the meet the capital costs and do much of the labour themselves.

    PH
     
  6. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member Friend

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    The SVR has a multitude of on and off train refreshment facilities, all of which apear to make monry. Fixed catering is available at Kidderminster,Bewdley, Highley (engine house), and Bridgnorth with kiosks at Arley, Highley and Hampton Loade.

    Most scheduled sets contain a RMB, yes the MK1 are heavy but the LMS is only 30t. On train is profitable, esp when you sell out of beer.

    In addition to scheduled trains dining trains are well booked, sat evening and sunday lunch. The two GWR inspection cars are well used. Uses include walk on cream tea, private hire with either attachment to a service train or your own loco weddings bamitsvas birthdays.

    Catering is a large chunc of SVRs profits, If I can be bothered I will look up the accounts, PH wont believe it anyway.

    ps I forgot the two pubs which do a roaring trade
     
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  7. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Active Member

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    Deleted
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 12:35 AM
  8. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I seem to remember mentioning the contribution of catering to the SVR profits in a previous thread covering this ground. It certainly makes a huge difference to the profits as you say.
     
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  9. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Active Member

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    Might the fares be even higher if they weren't ' subsidised ' by the buffets on trains ?
     
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  10. David R

    David R Active Member

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    I agree - there is a need to offer something at the Gwili as there are no facilities at each end and certainly the 1 o/c train is awkwardly timed if you haven't had something beforehand so a trolley service or some kind of on train service offering tea, coffee and perhaps sandwiches/snacks at least on the 1 o/c service would probably work well at the Gwili and would (IMO) add to the attractiveness of the package offered

    David R
     
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  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    No you don't have to justify yourself but given all your "expert" pronouncements it would be interesting to know if you've had any experience of running a business. It's the easiest thing in the world to tell someone how to run a business but running your own is a different matter altogether.
    Every business will suffer from those unwilling to pay but that is no reason to reduce prices to below an economic level and does not mean that they are charging more than the market can bear.
     
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  12. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    One of the NVR's success stories I'm happy to say.
     
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  13. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    There will always be some who are unwilling/unable to pay the fare - whatever said fare is.
     
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  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Agreed. Our local Steam Fair used to charge £5 entry and there were locals who said it was too expensive. Since then the organisers have raised the price and profits have risen, much to the delight
    of the beneficiaries, the local Mill Trust
     
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  15. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Active Member

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    PH . As far as I know the ' on shore services ' don't have any alcoholic beverages for sale . A few of the stations do have cream and afternoon teas and very fine they are . The last time I was on the train they had a good Somerset cider and a very good Somerset cider . Having been a professional driver for most of my working life I wouldn't dream of drink driving .

    Paul . K
     
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  16. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I know that feeling only to well Ian, in my current role I have various customers telling me 'you should get beer x on from so and so, or 'why can't we have this beer on?' They can all do my job better than me, they know what will sell better than me, despite having no experience apart from standing the other side of the bar! Always love the reaction when I say something like 'yeah I'll get that on for you, the cost of your pint'll have to go up though' all of a sudden the attitude changes!
     
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  17. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I think you only have to look at the 3 breweries who work with the SVR. Bathams, Hobsons and Bewdley all do cracking brews, the SVR's pubs and Buffet Cars can shift them, win win I think is the term. I know how much we used to shift over there when I worked for Bathams, the SVR must be the biggest customer of Matt and Tim's.
     
  18. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    Coming to Pauls defence for a moment, clearly any business should always be looking at costs, revenue and should we be doing/not doing this however clearly it should not take up too much time unless the answer you get is interesting - or worrying
     
  19. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

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    The point is though that people ARE looking at this, and it is this that Paul doesn't seem to understand.
     
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  20. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    I understand perfectly but I don't have to agree with the conclusions, anymore than you have to agree with me. This subject has been done to death.

    PH
     

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