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Wensleydale Railway - Northallerton West

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by s1m0nad, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. huochemi

    huochemi Active Member Friend

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    I think we have been here before on the benefit of mainline connections (close or physically connected) and the benefit of incoming charters - one senses the latter in particular is not a significant money spinner. Re ticking the box on mitigating road congestion, it is interesting that the relevant Loughborough government authority seems content to see a gradual erosion of parking for the GCR at Loughborough (which is a big drawback when considering a visit), but when planning an extension, the potential(?) reduction in road traffic appears to be an obligatory box to tick, even if like the WHR, it was a very cynical box, as it seems most unlikely that the frequency of trains and cost of a ticket can encourage people to leave their cars at Portmadoc or Caernarvon if they want to go walking from Rhyd or Beddgelert. As to transfer of stock (and I was puzzling how this impacted on the London or any other Stock Exchange), one suspects with shortage of usable space around many lines, having a (road connected) virtual works or storage depot offsite may well become more popular. Isn't the NYMR doing something like this?
     
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  2. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    Have you ever driven up Wensleydale?
     
  3. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    The NYMR is developing an off-site engineering facility due to lack of space on the railway itself (the reasons are bit more complicated than that, though), but I don't believe there is any intention to move rolling stock there, just components.
     
  4. northernsteam

    northernsteam Member

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    Yes actually. And a very enjoyable trip it would have been apart from all the other folk driving slower than me in front and faster than me behind! I actually thoroughly enjoyed my return trip down the north side of the valley. Expecting everyone to join the line at Leeming Bar, as at present time, seems unsustainable to me, lack of parking space, especially when the shed gets built in the yard, and the road layout look to be problem areas. Joining at Bedale and Leyburn is fine, so is Redmire, no doubt likewise Hawes in the future. I don't mention Northallerton West because I am not convinced it is such a major step forward as others say, not yet anyway. Mind, I am often wrong about such things.
    Oh and by the way, I am completely wrong about 47's on Mk2 stock, (sorry huochemi, I mean coaches/carriages/trains, whichever you understand) being for the future, they run frequent loco hauled trains on Diesel Events, some coming up June 4th, July 2nd, July 14th, August 6th and Sept 3rd if any one is interested.
     
  5. Railboy

    Railboy New Member

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    What're actually the next projects of the Wensleydale Railway?
    Do they start to rebuild to Aysgarth or is a proper reconnection Northallerton Station the priority number one (when do they plan to do it)?
    Or do they have other ideas?
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I would think that they need to upgrade their facilities first. Loco shed? Workshop? Plus a lot more.
     
  7. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    Was involved in a chat with a couple of Wensleydale members (of which I am not current one) and others interested parties a few weeks back and there was a consensus that running from Leeming Bar (just of the A1M) to Aysgarth Falls would make for a very attractive journey. This report http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/15238438.Hopes_for_extending_historic_railway/ has appeared since, which shows it is being seriously looked into.

    Different projects can attract different funding streams, so it doesn't have to be a case of 'we have to do this before this', if the right people are available to run funding and delivery of projects. A sensible extension with a good business case can help pay for other improvements by increasing traffic more than costs and is probably easier to attract serious funding for. My experience is that it can be all too easy for a preserved railway to focus on developments that make running the railway easier without considering what makes passengers visit better, and hence makes them more likely to come again!

    Steven
     
  8. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    I cannot dismiss the views of someone with your degree of experience but I would think that organisations of this kind need to learn how to operate things effectively before pushing on to something larger, The besetting sin of railway preservation is commencing new projects before finishing properly what they have started.

    PH (who emphasises he has not been to Wenslydale)
     
  9. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

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    They have been operating for years Paul. They need to develop in order to become sustainable, expanding a modest distance to reach a tourist honey pot makes perfect sense. Much more than that would I suspect fall into the WIBN category.

    Sawdust.
     
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  10. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    As I said, I have no personal experience of Wenslydale but......

    Last year one particular line made a greater surplus than one five times its length. Of course it is difficult to ensure the comparison is a fair one but it ought to produce furious thought. Another line, having undertaken an extension project, was faced with emergency repairs to an existing section. W.I.B.N. is insidious and we all have to watch ourselves.

    PH
     
  11. Railboy

    Railboy New Member

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  12. Tim Light

    Tim Light Active Member

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    Northallerton to Aysgarth is a wonderful goal for the Wensleydale Railway (WIBW!). Of course, it will cost a lot to achieve it, but it will be a more sustainable railway once achieved than Leeming Bar to Redmire.

    Of course, I would love to see trains running all the way to Hawes Junction, but I think I will be reduced to ashes long before that happens.
     
  13. northernsteam

    northernsteam Member

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    Their ambitions are laid bare in this 'donations' web page http://www.wensleydalerail.com/donations/ .What progress is being made on these is not evident and note that they are not in order of amount required. The order may be random but I personally would hope that the 'Infrastructure' appeal is high on the list. Consolidation of what you have is more important than an extension. No doubt everyone thinks their project is the most important.
     
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  14. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    We know that is your usual approach Paul, but not having been to Wensleydale has I think led you to what are the wrong conclusions for their particular circumstances. Redmire is, frankly, the middle of nowhere and just happens to be the point where the railway was truncated because of the quarry there. It has no real passenger appeal whereas Aysgarth certainly has.
     
  15. Tim Light

    Tim Light Active Member

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    Exactly. For this reason, I would probably prioritise Aysgarth over Northallerton.
     
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  16. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    I have heard a number of times 'we must get right what we have before aiming for more' - not just about extensions but actually about trying to get more volunteers too! Whilst there can be a superficial logic, in reality, whether intentional or not, it results in inertia, stagnation and 'maintaining the status quo' - and it is very difficult if not impossible for a business to plan to stand still, even if that may occasionally be what happens when it has planned to move forward!

    Extensions with 'new money' (external funding, donations etc.) paying for them and a clear business case can fund improvements to what exists! They can attract funding unavailable for more mundane projects, both external and by donations. They can make a Railway considerably more attractive for comparatively little outlay.

    The biggest problem with 'let's complete what we have' is what will 'complete' look like? The Gwili are about to open what is not their first extension, but are also just completing what is their first Engine Shed! Indeed, dare I point out that there has been considerable development of the IoWSR since reopening to Smallbrook which, under your approach, should have been done first!

    By the way, congratulations on the IoWSR surplus which you allude to - development and and expansion is pretty good for the bottom line when done properly, isn't it!

    Steven
     
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  17. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    I fear your "inner gricer" is getting to you! Suggest a thousand lines "I must be a proper beancounter and eschew W.I.B.N."

    Regards

    Paul H
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  18. Tim Light

    Tim Light Active Member

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    One example of a line that went for quality before quantity is the East Somerset Railway. The setup at Cranmore is fantastic, but the ride is too short and goes nowhere in particular.
     
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  19. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    If you have a short line that goes nowhere then you had better have something else going on that is good enough to firstly bring punters in, and hopefully get them coming back. Conversely, a long line that goes nowhere will at the very least draw the kind of patron that just wants to sit behind a loco, ie. a train enthusiast, for whom the longer the ride is, the better (I fit in this category!). Certainly just attracting hardcore enthusiasts ain't going to pay all the bills though!

    I guess basic economics or business sense might suggest that every railway attraction needs to have a 'hook' - to coin an advertising term. Marketing themselves is what they should all being trying to do, so you need to have something to offer. "hey, come and visit our railway, we have X,Y and Z."

    Is the pot finite? Well, possibly. But, the pot can be grown if you can bring something outstanding to the table.

    Will all ventures succeed? Of course not. Businesses fail every day for all sorts of reasons. A terrible outcome for all involved to be sure.

    "Build it and they will come!" - just be sure the people in charge aren't smoking something!
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  20. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    I've not visited the railway post preservation, but did a couple of railtours to Redmire in the early 1990s.

    My overwhelming feeling then was regret that it was only just approaching the best scenery, and ended in the middle of nowhere.

    I've long felt that what survives is a constraint on the railway's potential, which extension to Aysgarth or Hawes would be considerably greater.

    What that would cost, and how it would affect the existing line and it's traffic, I have no idea. Ditto re the volunteer base. But, from a distance, I do believe this to be more than just WIBN.


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