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Author Topic: Andover to Ludgershall  (Read 16595 times)
grahame
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« on: September 19, 2013, 08:01:12 pm »


Quote
PLANS to develop a heritage railway line linking Andover with Ludgershall have been working up a head of steam over the past week, Ludgershall town councillors heard.

Council chairman Owen White told the council that the idea had now received the enthusiastic backing of both local MPs Sir George Young and Claire Perry.

It has also been given a likely name ^ Mid Wessex Railway Preservation Society ^ and discussions have opened with South West Trains and Network Rail about the need to maintain access to Andover railway station

... article continues at http://www.thisishampshire.net/news/10671503._/?
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013, 08:18:08 pm »

I ask the following in a spirit of genuine enquiry and for the purposes of debate, not out of any position on this specific scheme.

Is there a point at which the number heritage railways reaches saturation point in terms of finding sufficient materiel (not to be confused with material) to run a successful operation?  Similarly, at what point are we likely to find that the number of poorly run operations outweigh the high quality ones to the point that Joe Public is no longer impressed?  (There is no intended implication that this could be anything other than a well run railway.)

Clearly I have no special knowledge of this proposal (and therefore this post may need to be shunted to another siding), but its very mention makes these questions arise as I reflect on it.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 08:26:47 pm »

http://www.wellho.net/mouth/1757_Preserved-railways-struggling-to-the-future-.html

I would suggest also that a preserved railway takes equipment that's already near the end of its useful life and tries to extend it further ... and there is a limit.    There may be a case for new build leisure lines though ...
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 08:40:20 pm »

Dean Forest Railway is a classic case in point. It's a lovely little line, but they appear to have taken on far too much materiel. Seeing the vast amount of rusting rolling stock at the lineside rather detracts from the beauty of the line. There's little evidence of preservation work going on for much of this stock.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2013, 08:56:17 pm »

Of course we've not seen the latest plans for Ludgershall ... I know the newspaper article says "head of steam" which implies steam engines, and it says "heritage" too, but there have been other proposals for the same route at the opposite end of the 'amount of stock' spectrum:

http://www.lctltd.co.uk/Newsletter%20May%2011.pdf

http://sinfin.net/railways/ultra.html
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 09:56:25 pm »

There seems to be a view that heritage railways are inherently good for the tourist economy, so they tend to get the support of Local Authorites (though not always - see http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=583.15). Plainly some are - the Bluebell, Severn Valley and West Somerset are all examples of well-run tourist attractions, and of course there are many more. But there is another league of heritage line which seems to be run for enthusiasts by enthusiasts - which might be fine if they were not exactly the same people. Essentially it can look like 12" to the foot railway modelling, and you can get the feeling that some of the volunteers see visitors as a necessary nuisance at best. You can't help thinking that such operations will need to change their ideas if they are to survive beyond the medium term, but then a few apparently hopeless ventures have come good with the right leadership.

Is there room for new heritage operations? The answer must be 'yes', but they need a USP. I travelled on the Ludgershall line many years ago (would it have been GWR150?) and I can't say I found it particularly scenic, so I'm not sure where its attraction might lie. As to the question of materiel, or heritage assets: for the tourist market, steam sells. Unless the route is particularly scenic, steam traction is a must. There are a number of new-build, or all-but new build steam loco projects underway as the heritage rail industry adapts to keeping a reliable fleet of kettles running well beyond their sensible scrap dates, but you have to think that the trend must be for the fleet to slowly reduce in size. Where is a family more likely to go for a day out: Ludgershall to ride in a Mk3 carriage behind an industrial 0-4-0, or Alresford..?
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 06:58:16 pm »

A very coherent and germane posting, RS. 

Where is a family more likely to go for a day out: Ludgershall to ride in a Mk3 carriage behind an industrial 0-4-0, or Alresford..?

You neatly summarise my present thoughts.
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1014
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2013, 04:20:43 pm »

Hello there,
This is my first post so I had better introduce myself.
I am not a regular user of FGW but I love to travel by rail and I live near Andover. I volunteer at Didcot on 1014 (hence the name) and look forward to seeing her on the ex. GWR!
With reference to the Ludgershall to andover line (ex MSW Cheltenham to Southampton) rumour has it that together with shrinkage of army camps big movements are in hand for the repatriation of troops and vehicles from Afghanistan.
I believe that together with Ashchurch Ludgershall is closing and all the vehicles are going to Lyneham. The real estate is to be used for married quarters for the new super garrison at Tidworth. This means that the line will no longer be needed and indeed will get in the way of any development. So on the one hand the line will become obsolete and on the other the population will expand by 2-3000 so the line could become even more useful as a commuter line into Andover. This means of course that the bus company will not want competition. Food for thought!
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bignosemac
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 04:30:06 pm »

Thank-you for that first post and introduction, 1014. Food for though indeed.

Welcome to Great Western Passengers' Forum!  Smiley
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ChrisB
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 03:21:05 pm »

I confidently expect a further renewal of the just-won franchise, probably for another 23 months with the resultant little effect in improvement of services. Isn't it 2017 for electric services? Thus the turbos won't be available until then....and a new Government might have other ideas for them by then?
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 10:10:12 pm »

Pots and kettles to point this out, I know, but methinks this has strayed a little from the Tiddly Dyke...

Edit: Hadn't quite clocked the fact that the Swindon & Cricklade is also part of the old Tiddly Dyke. I don't mean them.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 10:17:30 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2016, 04:29:06 pm »

A meeting with some local politicians today who represent Ludgershall or part thereof lead me to look up / see what's online.

A rail tour that uses the line later this summer:
http://www.ukrailtours.com/product/the-andover-fist/

Old plans:
http://www.go-op.coop/plans/
http://www.parrypeoplemovers.com/ppm-uk-map-south-of-england.htm

Discussions I have heard recently include one or two of the peak Salisbury to London services running from Ludgershall instead, as the London peak trains are much busier further in and the spare Andover - Salisbury capacity could be used to Ludgershall.  Also an idea floated about a Ludgershall to Basingstoke shuttle.  Links / reference would be appreciated if anyone has any.
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