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  • Minehaed Rail Link Group: October 30, 2018
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Author Topic: Minehead Rail Link Group  (Read 37457 times)
Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #105 on: March 01, 2020, 06:03:23 pm »

You can have all the derogations you like, but the line currently operates under a Lightt Railway Order with a maximum speed of 25mph

I'm not sure how many commuters would give up their cars fir that.
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« Reply #106 on: March 02, 2020, 10:10:59 am »

You can have all the derogations you like, but the line currently operates under a Lightt Railway Order with a maximum speed of 25mph

I'm not sure how many commuters would give up their cars fir that.

In fact, the 1975 Light Railway (Transfer) Order, which gave the present WSR the right to operate the railway under lease from SCC(resolve) gives permission for DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) type trains to run at up to 40mph.  In 1976, we learned from HMRI (Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate) that for them to permit this, the DMU trains would have to be subject to main-line safety inspections and maintenance regimes overseen by BR (British Rail(ways)).

At the time, new installations, such as the AOCL (Automatic Open Crossing (Locally monitored) A level crossing without barriers that is observed by the train crew before they proceed over the crossing) level crossings at Dunster Sea Lane, Leigh Wood and Roebuck Gate, were laid out with 40mph in mind

The exorbitant cost of BR inspections of the rolling stock was one of the project's killers, in the 1970s.

I have to say that I'm not fully aware of the impact of more recent legislation on the limits set out in the 1975 Order
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broadgage
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« Reply #107 on: March 02, 2020, 08:28:07 pm »

I certainly hope that 40 MPH could be permitted, that would be competitive with road transport.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #108 on: May 05, 2020, 03:26:36 pm »

A Joint position statement ((here)) has been published ...
Quote
Following discussion, the WSRA and the WSRST expressed their support for the PLC, while regretting the concern caused to the members of the S & D Trust

I find myself getting lost ...

Here are the main actors:
WSRA- West Somerset Railway Association
WSRST - West Somerset Railway Steam Trust
WSRPLC - West Somerset Railway PLC
SDRT - Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust

Bit parts :
ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) - Office of Rail and Road
HRA - Heritage Railway Association

Characters appearing in other episodes:
SC - Somerset Council - owners of the railway
Minehead Rail Link Group - looking for a return of general daily services connecting at Taunton
GWR (Great Western Railway) - Great Western Railway - operator or trial service to Bishops Lydeard last year and further potential there
NR» (Network Rail - home page) - Network Rail - organisation to interface to at Norton Fitzwarren / Taunton

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #109 on: May 05, 2020, 03:42:43 pm »

...and a response:

Quote
Chairman's response to WSR plc, WSRA and WSSRT joint statement

The S&DRT notes the helpful joint statement by the WSR plc, WSRA and WSSRT issued on 1 May.  Whereas we might take some issue with the suggestion that, hitherto, we were not minded to enter into any discussions, we are grateful nevertheless to the WSRA and WSSRT for bringing about that discussion now.

We also note the position statement provided at the same time by the WSR plc.  There are a number of matters in that statement with which we might take even greater issue or of which we might question the relevance but we do not think it helpful to do so publicly at this time.

We welcome the involvement of the Heritage Railway Association and look forward to engaging in discussions via that body.

Ian Young, 3 May 2020
Source: Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust
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« Reply #110 on: August 21, 2020, 06:51:40 pm »

The ideal outcome IMHO (in my humble opinion) would be to offer a regular timetable, all year round. But to vary the type of train used according to the season.
High tourist season=heritage coaches hauled by a steamer.
Shoulder season=Alternate heritage and modern DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit).
Off season=modern DMU, with a battery train as a longer term ambition.
I agree, with the slight variations that hydrogen might be more likely than a battery train over that distance and that the heritage trains in the shoulder season could be steam-hauled, heritiage DMU or a heritiage diesel loco hauling coaches depending on what the heritiage railway operator feels like running. Essentially there would be a base timetable year-round (with the possibility of extra services being added in the high season eg. on gala days) with the heritiage operator picking and choosing which services they want to operate and the remainder being covered by a modern train. This would benifit the operator of the modern train (assuming said operator is a large train operating company like the current FirstGWR or a reinstated British Rail) since it would release stock in the high season to strengthen services elsewhere without the problem of either having insufficient capacity in the high season or needing to store excess stock in the winter.
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« Reply #111 on: August 21, 2020, 07:51:35 pm »

The ideal outcome IMHO (in my humble opinion) would be to offer a regular timetable, all year round. But to vary the type of train used according to the season.
High tourist season=heritage coaches hauled by a steamer.
Shoulder season=Alternate heritage and modern DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit).
Off season=modern DMU, with a battery train as a longer term ambition.
I agree, with the slight variations that hydrogen might be more likely than a battery train over that distance and that the heritage trains in the shoulder season could be steam-hauled, heritiage DMU or a heritiage diesel loco hauling coaches depending on what the heritiage railway operator feels like running. Essentially there would be a base timetable year-round (with the possibility of extra services being added in the high season eg. on gala days) with the heritiage operator picking and choosing which services they want to operate and the remainder being covered by a modern train. This would benifit the operator of the modern train (assuming said operator is a large train operating company like the current FirstGWR or a reinstated British Rail) since it would release stock in the high season to strengthen services elsewhere without the problem of either having insufficient capacity in the high season or needing to store excess stock in the winter.

What a load of out-of-comfort-level, off-the-board ideas as far as so many of the established people in the heritage operation, and established people in national network rail, will be concerned.  Which - perhaps - is exactly what is needed. 

Needed - a strong, respected charismatic visionary who says "we can do this" and pulls together all the various strands with their enthusiasm and expertise to harness the whole, and sits down and negotiates with all the wider parties.
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Lee
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« Reply #112 on: August 21, 2020, 08:45:47 pm »

Needed - a strong, respected charismatic visionary who says "we can do this" and pulls together all the various strands with their enthusiasm and expertise to harness the whole, and sits down and negotiates with all the wider parties.

Think I know just the man - But it may depend on whether there will be port and stilton...
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« Reply #113 on: August 22, 2020, 02:11:07 pm »

This is IMHO (in my humble opinion) another example of the regrettably fragmented nature of the West Somerset Railway.
Getting all the groups that make up the WSR to agree is bad enough, without considering the challenges presented by network rail and GWR (Great Western Railway).

I can think of various possibilities as to what type of train to use, but in my view the important factor is to get an ALL YEAR round service operating at least between Taunton and Minehead.
Steam would be expected in the holiday season, but at other times almost anything that is safe, reliable, comfortable and of sufficient capacity would serve.

Most passengers would be satisfied by any of the following.
Class 159 or similar.
Preserved HST (High Speed Train).
Heritage DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).
Preserved diesel loco and coaches.
A new battery loco hauling heritage coaches.
A newly built battery train.
A battery train converted from existing stock.
Steam, too expensive for regular use in the off season, but a possibility if needed.

More important than rolling stock is persuading TPTB (The Powers That Be) to allow 40/45 MPH running on the WSR, and to permit heritage stock on the short bit of network rail track to Taunton.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #114 on: August 22, 2020, 03:41:42 pm »

This is IMHO (in my humble opinion) another example of the regrettably fragmented nature of the West Somerset Railway.

There is an irony in my suggestion of having a strong, charismatic, knowledgable, respected person added in. With an objective of getting people together, perhaps outside their comfort zones, to give of their very best for a railway that works for everyone - the leisure / heritage guest, the volunteer / enthusiast, the resident of the area, the holiday visitor, and the economy of the area served.

The irony is that we seem to have too many groups and perhaps factions involved already.

One of the organisations involved, and with a foot in both the local economy and the heritage operation, is Somerset Council.  They are the owners - landlords - of the trackbed, and they have a significant wider responsibilities to residents and the economy too.  The Council does not always get a good press on transport issues, and tends to be on an election cycle which may not be conducive to long term solution, but perhaps - just perhaps - it could be the sponsorship organisation that invests into our charismatic campaigner and partner described above, and provides him / her with a stable base, and a re-assurance of longevity of the role over a number of years.  Any similarity to Community Rail wasn't intentional - but it does provide those echoes from successes already in the South West in Devon and Cornwall, in the Severnside area, on the Heart of Wessex, and in the Three Rivers area around the Solent.  And haven't they been thoroughly supported by their county councils?

I have some specific operational type thoughts... which I will not yet share as I let the above thoughts sink in and be argued over.
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Lee
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« Reply #115 on: August 22, 2020, 04:34:11 pm »

This is IMHO (in my humble opinion) another example of the regrettably fragmented nature of the West Somerset Railway.
Getting all the groups that make up the WSR to agree is bad enough, without considering the challenges presented by network rail and GWR (Great Western Railway).

I can think of various possibilities as to what type of train to use, but in my view the important factor is to get an ALL YEAR round service operating at least between Taunton and Minehead.
Steam would be expected in the holiday season, but at other times almost anything that is safe, reliable, comfortable and of sufficient capacity would serve.

Most passengers would be satisfied by any of the following.
Class 159 or similar.
Preserved HST (High Speed Train).
Heritage DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).
Preserved diesel loco and coaches.
A new battery loco hauling heritage coaches.
A newly built battery train.
A battery train converted from existing stock.
Steam, too expensive for regular use in the off season, but a possibility if needed.

More important than rolling stock is persuading TPTB (The Powers That Be) to allow 40/45 MPH running on the WSR, and to permit heritage stock on the short bit of network rail track to Taunton.


Told you so  Grin

You've got my vote, sir.
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« Reply #116 on: August 22, 2020, 08:45:45 pm »

More important than rolling stock is persuading TPTB (The Powers That Be) to allow 40/45 MPH running on the WSR, and to permit heritage stock on the short bit of network rail track to Taunton.
Rolling stock comes into the 40/45mph running issue though; in my previous post in this topic I was in agreement that a year-round timetable with the rolling stock in use being heritage at certain times of year would be the ideal outcome. I didn't suggest it was a realistic outcome, the additional cost of maintaining the heritage stock for 40/45mph in order to keep to the same timetable could sink the idea. That said, the loco list on uksteam.info suggests 3 locos have been approved for use between Battersby and Whitby only (as opposed to full mainline certification) each with a top speed of 45mph or greater. Thus the issues are not necessarily completely insumountable although the less-ideal outcome of a different (slower, timed for heritage stock) timetable in summer (with a change of train required onto a modern DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit)/battery/hydrogen shuttle in summer) might be a better one to aim for simply because it could be easier to acheive. The key point is getting a modern national rail through service between Minehead and Taunton in winter.
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« Reply #117 on: August 23, 2020, 09:53:30 am »

I have some specific operational type thoughts... which I will not yet share as I let the above thoughts sink in and be argued over.

Now digging a little deeper under the surface, there are numerous issues to be resolved (note - "resolved" and not "hurdles that will stop dual use") ...

Timetable, slowness, frequency

For a trip during a holiday - and probably for an arrival for that holiday or return, extra transit time is not an issue and 85 minutes from Taunton to Minehead is not a problem.  For an occasional trip from Minehead to Taunton for residents, it may be OK too.  For a daily commute, over an hour on the train would quickly pall - though with more modern facilities such as WiFi on the train ...

Sense in working towards a 55 minute transit, with 85 minutes during the day, April to October.  For an initial season, enthusiasm for the new mode might mean that it grew in spite of 85 minutes end to end.

With an 85 minute running time and single train, you're looking at a train every 3 hours. Reduce the running time to 55 minutes and you have a train every 2 hours.  The loop at Williton may well be in the right place for doubling of this frequency and staying clockfacish but any delays in one direction will get mirrored into the other direction

Intermediate Stations

What service do you offer at smaller communities such as Crowcombe, Stogumber and Doniford?  Trains to all call at Norton Fitzwarren? Do Minehead to Taunton passengers really want all those pauses and what is the effect in the timetable?

Differential costs and fares
Ongoing funding and mixed models

An anytime day return from Exeter to Barnstaple is £13.00, and from Par to Newquay is £10.20 ... Minehead to Bishop's Lydeard is shown as £28.00 for this year. Not quite "apples for apples" and various discounts available - but they tend to be more generous in percentage terms on the national rail lines.

It costs money to run a railway, and the fare-box income on a slower line is not going to directly pay the total costs unless premium fares are charged and paid in significant numbers.  Otherwise the benefit to the community / local economy has to be paid to help the service meet its bills.

You will have finances that don't work if you reduce fares to network levels on heritage trains (and overcrowded trains, I suspect). And you will end up carrying lots of fresh air if you charge £28.00 return from Minehead to Taunton, even if you reduce that to £21.00 for holders of a £10.00 resident's railcard.

Changes at BLD or mainline stock
Connections or through at Taunton
Main line paths and capacity at Taunton

Getting heritage rolling stock up to main line standards - both for safety and to ensure reliability that means that failures are rare - could be significant and add costs / ticket price. It's a different matter sharing Grosmont to Whitby tracks with thin local diesel services than sharing with four trains per hour, 100 m.p.h. plus expresses.

Running round at Taunton - likely to be an issue during the day if single loco and coaches used.  I *think* the bay on the town side would be available for a unit or top'n'tail but that involves crossing over the main lines in both directions. "Pity the bays and extra track were lost" - yes, but restoring them is likely priced out and there are other more pragmatic options.

There is ... sense ... in running service - peak and evening in summer, all day n winter, from Minehead into Taunton and 'often' linking them on to the Cardiff service - with a train every 2 or 3 hours, that's one extra set, though as more of those trains carry on from Cardiff via Exeter it becomes an issue. A more detailed look at options needed, with a note that as services speed up from 85 minutes to 55 minutes between Taunton and Minehead there's a need to avoid too many significant timetable changes away from the area.

Daytime, summer ... national rail trains turn back and connect with heritage at Bishop's Lydeard.  But - can that station cope (and will the passenger with luggage for Butlin's be happy).  Time taken probably not an issue, and cost might not be - but the hassle of multiple changes (see "last mile Minehead" too) might be.  And with luggage too?

Maintenance Regime

Current setup is for 25 m.p.h. and allows for significant off season closure. Recent landslips in Scotland and problems on Heart of Wales and Conwy Valley, past issues at Dawlish and Cowley Bridge emphasise the magnitude and safety issues of having a railway on which trains can run faster than within visual stopping distance.  The Minehead line may have significant engineering issues just to the west of Blue Anchor.

The use of Network Rail and national network experts could perhaps do wonders for works with minimal effect on 18x7 service, but at what cost financially an in terms of displacing people who are enthusiastically keeping the line in running order at the moment.

Keeping the volunteer volunteering
Opposition. Retain; time invested; bus drivers

There is a wonderful heritage of volunteers doing so much for the West Somerset Railway.  For some of them, the picking up of tasks by the daily team will be a boon and let them concentrate on what they enjoy, but for others there's a concern that all the stuff they've done and enjoyed will be changed out of all recognition or relevance, to the extent it will not be enjoyed any more. 

Community Rail (though there's an official stop on stations friends group volunteers doing any more than weekly light gardening at present) can and does pick up the use of volunteers and an old ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) (now CRN(resolve)) report suggests that each £1 spent on supporting volunteers brings £4.20 in return. Could we transform volunteers into volunteers - and supportive ones - on the new, dual use railway?

Our poll that ended on 1st March - ((here)) informed us somewhat on which elements of the past members of the Coffee Shop wanted to see preserved in a heritage operation and the question arises as to which of those that people want can be retained and how in a new operation.

Early West Somerset objectives were to run a year-round Taunton service, but that raised opposition from bus drivers on the route, supported and championed by their representatives.  The concern was over jobs, and services to communities that were not near a station.

There will - always - be a few objections.  From experience, we have had "noise from more trains" for example.  But a coming together in a positive approach of all mainstream parties would do wonders for political support. Should that overwhelming desire be there to get things done, I'm sure that MPs (Member of Parliament) and other elected people will be doing their darnedest to support it, rather than sitting on the sidelines or saying wonderful words which are not backed up by actions, or have the effect of kicking the project into the long grass

Level Crossings and staffing

I think I read that 7 staff had to be on duty to run the line prior to its closure. Level crossing, manually signalled loops.  While you can get trained volunteers for these roles during the day in summer, can you do so from the first to the last train on a cold and wet February.  I have no doubt that current volunteers are reliable and committed, but not every volunteer fits that description and the organiser does not have the tools to influence volunteers to perform when they would rather not than an employer has over paid staff.

Semaphore signalling, signal boxes, level crossings - all staff-costly, and all things that people vote to retain on the move from preservation to heritage to dual use. Perhaps the solution lies in the retention of (say) Blue Anchor as an exhibition piece and allow for modernisation, perhaps with a heritage veneer, elsewhere.

Development away from the railway

It's 50 year since the daily train service from Minehead to Taunton ceased, and in those 50 years housing and other developments have not been biased towards station sites - thus reducing the skew towards making the railway useful.  Now - with a long term daily train service, we could and should see a swing of that pendulum.  But it will take time.

Security at Minehead

Staff really not needed on platform duty for the very early or late trains - BUT what about the security of the resources there and indeed of trains parked up overnight if that happens (and it would be logical, like Weymouth)

Other stations along the line have similar issues but I would have thought to a lesser degree.  Minehead could potential be mitigated by the provision of a National Rail platform to / from which trains run, situated just behind Butlins. Lots of discussion on that one too!

Final mile to Butlins
Final mile to Taunton Town Centre

Minehead Station feels well situated - but is it well situated for the residents and for the holiday maker traffic at the holiday camp?  Would the train attract people, or would that final 800 yards or so be the straw that broke the camels back and push many people off the train and into their cars for the whole journey to their holiday?  Big question I should have raised earlier - what / how would support from Butlins' be?

And a last point in a very long post indeed ... Taunton Station to Taunton Town Centre ...

Footnote - a guess at what a National Rail service could look like

Year 1:
80 minute journeys ...
From Minehead at
05*45, 07#05, 09z00, 12w00, 15w00, 18:00 and 21:00
From Taunton at
07:05, 10w30, 13w30, 16z30, 18#00, 19:30 and 22*30

Year 2 onward:
55 minute journeys
From Minehead at
06*15, 07#30, 08z30, 10w30, 12w30, 14w30, 16w30, 18:00 and 21:00
From Taunton at
07:30, 09w30, 11w30, 13w30, 15w30, 16z30, 18#00, 19:45 and 22*30

* - First / last trip of day
# - Through Bristol train / stables at Minehead
w - winter service only
z - all year; in summer then/from running Bishops Lydeard Shuttles

and finally

A post not designed to answer, but to raise questions and issues all in the one place. Will I get a shell-shocked silence from members, or strong reaction?
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« Reply #118 on: August 23, 2020, 04:24:51 pm »

As regards fares, one possible solution might be to charger higher fares (similar to the present fares) for peak season heritage trains, and lower fares (similar to those elsewhere on network rail) for the of season trains.

To avoid disadvantaging local residents who travel regularly including during the heritage season, offer monthly season tickets all year around but based on the off season fares.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #119 on: August 23, 2020, 04:47:47 pm »

These are my thoughts on grahame’s proposal:

Here on the Guingamp-Carhaix line we are in a similar position in that we are a branch line with restricted speed limits. We are about 10km longer than the Taunton-Minehead route, with 2 mandatory intermediate stops (Mousteru and Callac) and 6 request stops (Coat-Guegan, Pont-Melvez, Plougonver, Les Mais, Le Penity and Carnoet-Locarn). Average daytime end to end journey time is 65 minutes, with around 1 or 2 request stops requiring passenger calls per journey. Peak journeys have a few minutes extra added as all request stops generally require passenger calls. There tends to be a few minutes extra added to journeys that pass each other at Callac too, although this is generally because of waiting time due to the timetable not being clockface as it needs to connect with mainline trains that are generally at different times per hour.

Taunton-Minehead through trains in winter would likely have 3 mandatory intermediate stops (Bishops Lydeard, Williton and Watchet) and 7 request stops (Norton Fitzwarren, Crowcombe Heathfield, Stogumber, Doniford Halt, Washford, Blue Anchor and Dunster). An average daytime end to end journey time of 55 minutes has been slated, and it wouldn’t surprise me in winter to see around 1 or 2 request stops requiring passenger calls per journey. Peak journeys may well see all request stops generally requiring passenger calls, so it may be wise to allow 60 minutes end to end for such journeys, but as for example with the Barnstaple line, it is at these times you would look to serve all stations in any case.

However, as the timetable is slated to be clockface-ish, it may well be that you could pass trains in less time and more efficiently at Williton than you can at Callac. Add to that the fact that you have allowed slightly more time per km for Taunton-Minehead than we get on Guingamp-Carhaix, and I believe that an overall winter through service with the above calling pattern would be viable.

However, if you do ultimately decide to miss out some station calls, then one thing to particularly watch out for though would be the transition between Year 1 and Year 2 timetables. With an initial 80-85 minute Year 1 end to end journey time, the temptation would be to call all trains at all stations in order to demonstrate to everyone along the line the potential benefits. However, if you then decide to drop some calls in the faster 55 minute end to end Year 2 timetable, you risk needlessly antagonising those affected, and potentially turning them into opponents of the overall project. Far better in my opinion to have a fairly solid view of your preferred calling pattern from Day 1, and only allow minor deviations from it.

Fare-wise, having different fares for the National Rail services to the Heritage Rail services seems the only logical solution. I just don’t see how you arrive at an acceptable compromise between the two.

In my mind, optimal solution is as grahame’s final timetable suggests. Through National Rail trains all day Taunton-Minehead November-March, from April-October peak and evening through National Rail Taunton-Minehead, daytime National Rail Taunton-Bishops Lydeard, change to Heritage Rail Bishops Lydeard-Minehead. Special dispensation for special occasions such as Santa Specials etc.

In terms of the maintenance regime, I would agree with the concept of modernisation with a heritage “veneer”. However, this should be done in such a way that during Heritage Rail operating hours, Bishops Lydeard-Minehead can be handed over completely to WSR to operate, with the aim of allowing them to function very much as they normally would. In order to facilitate this, I wonder whether legal and Health & Safety rules would allow for an Intermediate grade of railway worker, somewhere between Network Rail employee and WSR volunteer. The idea being that Network Rail could train WSR volunteers in how to use the modernised equipment on the line between Bishops Lydeard-Minehead, with the younger volunteers perhaps having the option to step up to Network Rail apprentice status. The benefits of this would be twofold – Firstly, WSR volunteers could continue to enjoy performing operational tasks on the modernised railway, and Secondly, it would help to bring through both the Network Rail employees and the Heritage Rail volunteers of the future.

I believe the best vehicle for achieving this would be the type of locally-managed Micro-Franchise first mooted by the SRA» (Strategic Rail Authority - about) for the Cornish Branch Lines in the 2000s, and briefly resurrected as a concept by the Buxton-Barnsley ACORP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) regime in the mid-2010s. It would be led by a Chair and Deputy Chair - The Chair would be fully focused on the key reforms that would need to take place, and determined to see them through, while the Deputy Chair would work with those long-standing supporters and volunteers who would not be at all sure all this change is a good idea, and reassure them that it will all be ok. The Chair ideally should be a grahame-type, and the Deputy Chair a Peter Blackburn-type. That’s only based on my own experience of course – A RichardB-type with appropriate deputy would work just as well.

The board or committee they would lead would include liaison officers from Network Rail and GWR (Great Western Railway) to ensure seamless interface with the National Rail Network, and a high-ranking officer from WSR to ensure equally seamless interface with Heritage Rail activities. Key local politicians at MP (Member of Parliament) and local level, particularly given Somerset County Council’s pivotal ownership role, should also be on board.

All of them will need to agree a workable plan and unite to put it to volunteers and travelling public alike, as only then do I believe it will get the widespread support it would need to really become a runner. If just one of those groups or individuals breaks ranks, then that could be enough to spark the level of opposition that could lead us to the type of binary choice we would all want to avoid – National Rail “The only way this will work is if WSR are removed from the playing field” vs WSR “We are quite happy running a Heritage Railway thankyou, and we will make your life a legal and PR (Public Relations) hell if you try and remove us from the playing field”.

I am sure that many of us can see an agreed way forward – Let’s work together to find and achieve that.
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