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Author Topic: Llangollen Ry  (Read 635 times)
Witham Bobby
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« on: March 01, 2021, 02:29:35 pm »

Sad news from the banks of the River Dee

https://llanblogger.blogspot.com/2021/03/llangollen-railway-plc-asks-bank-to.html?spref=fb&m=1&fbclid=IwAR0sK1mP-_9M3Cpc2hfek8yfQWigB-PWmvssgi0OcVSqgFKQW

This will not be the last news of this sort, I suspect
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 02:50:30 pm »

Very sad indeed.
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broadgage
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2021, 07:56:24 am »

Very sad, the recent covid lockdowns must have made a bad position worse, but it would appear that serious losses predate the pandemic.
Two recent but pre pandemic years show substantial losses, and there is also a reference to "engineering contract disputes" that predate the present management.

Hopefully somone can purchase the assests from the official receiver and re-open the railway.

Hopefully the planning system will be used to prohibit use of the track and buildings for other purposes.
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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.
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2021, 10:42:38 am »

It looks like this may be another example where the COVID pandemic has accelerated processes that were already underway.

Will all existing heritage railways survive? The Llangollen Railway passes through some exceptionally lovely countryside, though its options for change are more limited than those of lines with main line connections. It can only ever be a tourist day out, whereas other lines may be able to adapt to become useful transport links in a greening economy.

But it is possible that COVID restrictions on international travel may go on for a very long time. Will domestic tourist attractions like this soon be busier than they have been for years?
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broadgage
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2021, 04:09:19 pm »

Agree.
UK (United Kingdom) holidays may become more popular, which will potentially benefit heritage lines.

Restrictions on overseas travel may remain for longer than restrictions on internal travel.
Even without any restrictions , some holiday travelers may avoid overseas destinations for fear of infection, or restrictions being reimposed whilst they are abroad.
Some people are avoiding air travel due to the hassle factors of security checks etc.
Others are avoiding or reducing air travel due to climate change concerns.
Brexit may make European holidays less attractive, more hassle factor and paperwork, customs checks etc.

Despite the present challenges, I see a brighter future for UK tourism, and for heritage lines in particular.

A coal burning steam locomotive is inherently "ungreen" and I would hope that heritage lines could try and be a bit greener in other respects.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21624.msg265437#msg265437 Link to an earlier post about greening heritage lines.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 04:14:26 pm by broadgage » Logged

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.
Lee
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2021, 04:20:23 pm »

It looks like this may be another example where the COVID pandemic has accelerated processes that were already underway.

Will all existing heritage railways survive? The Llangollen Railway passes through some exceptionally lovely countryside, though its options for change are more limited than those of lines with main line connections. It can only ever be a tourist day out, whereas other lines may be able to adapt to become useful transport links in a greening economy.

Really? Which ones?

Members explored and put together probably the best case regarding Minehead:


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



Don't like guessing ... wanted a bit of light relief from something else so had a play, and had a couple of nagging wonders if it would work.



* Crossing National Rail services at Williton ONLY
* Terminating at platform on Seaward Road directly beside / behind Butlins
* National Rail trains do not use Minehead heritage station which can be locked secure out of hours

Early train all year off Minehead handles connecting London and Bristol commuters
Second train is for Bristol / Cardiff ... school and commuters in to Taunton
Third train is hospital / shopping / leisure traffic
18:00 caters for commuters returning home from Minehead (pity about it being much earlier in summer?)
21:00 is final train for homebound people;  Bristol connection at Taunton M-F

First train off Taunton provides for commuters into Minehead
Next two in winter provide for daytime arrivals (time difference no great problem in summer?)
16:30, 17:55 and 19:30 are school / commuter returns (pity 16:30 is earlier in summer)
Late train inbound at 22:30 for the night owls

Norton Fitzwarren, Doniford, Crowcombe and Stogumber services possibly thinner than need be, pointing joerneys towards Taunton in the morning, back later in the day.

* Heritage trains cross at Crowcombe, Williton and Blue Anchor
* Heritage YELLOW timetable used - peak services only minor mods.
- Only mix of heritage and National is from 18:09 to 18:30 - cross at Crowcombe.
- Diesel heritage services call at Minehead (Seaward Road)
- Only first outbound / last inbound steam trains call at Seaward Road to avoid cutting into service time

Keeping an eye on both day trips out from Butlins and arrival / departures from there.

Some summer / through train concerns as might be a bit tight; want to avoid double change?  How about longer layover at Bishops Lydeard which allow for staff PNBs (Personal Needs Break)?    How important is through Bristol service during day in summer - are connection at Taunton for London ad the north more critical?   Changes at Bishops Lydeard - run National Rail terminators to bay so that it can be cross platform to / from heritage and National Rail will not get in way of steam run around.

Connections at Bishop's Lydeard quicker in one direction, slower in other for mechandising
All have some allowance for making up time
All services except 16:15 off Minehead have National Rail connections (no NR» (Network Rail - home page) train avaiable)

However, as we all know, there are a myriad of reasons why we probably wont be able to get that over the line.

Swanage was for many years the "Heritage Community Railway in waiting" but even they have found the final hurdles a lot harder to overcome than they ever imagined.

I dont want to be unduly negative though - More than happy to read members thoughts on what could possibly work.

But it is possible that COVID restrictions on international travel may go on for a very long time. Will domestic tourist attractions like this soon be busier than they have been for years?

I really hope RS is wrong on the prospects for international travel. As much as i am hugely grateful for the fulfilling and often fascinating work I have over here, it was always my intention to take work on both sides of the channel, and I hope to get back to that as soon as I possibly can.

In more general terms, I am actually reasonably optimistic that at least some of the favorite foreign destinations of the British holidaymaker will be available to them this summer, albeit with the obligatory face masks, possible "vaccine passports" etc. - https://www.itv.com/news/2021-03-02/work-begins-on-plan-for-return-of-international-holidays-in-may-as-global-travel-taskforce-meets
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2021, 04:52:51 pm »

It looks like this may be another example where the COVID pandemic has accelerated processes that were already underway.

Will all existing heritage railways survive?

A question I asked over 12 years ago (August 2008) on my blog.

Quote
Preserved railways - struggling to the future?

After Dr Beeching and with the demise of steam traction on our mainline railways, a wide selection of preserved lines (re)opened using the old track, or the old trackbed where it had to be relayed. These lines had been closed under the Railway's Rationalisations plans, so they tended not to have had a heavy traffic flow in the recent past. They were run using withdrawn BR (British Rail(ways)) stock, the trains on them tend to be very old. They were set up in a flush of enthusiasm by people keen to retain, for nostalgia and future generations, the railway scene as they had known it.

So, some 20 or 30 years on, you see some of the lines an services facing a shortage of volunteers, rolling stock which is getting progressively harder to keep in service, track wearing out, and a passenger flow that's sparse even on the busiest few weekends of the year.

Longer article continues ... ((here))

The Llangollen Railway passes through some exceptionally lovely countryside, though its options for change are more limited than those of lines with main line connections. It can only ever be a tourist day out, whereas other lines may be able to adapt to become useful transport links in a greening economy.

But it is possible that COVID restrictions on international travel may go on for a very long time. Will domestic tourist attractions like this soon be busier than they have been for years?

I wish I had a crystal ball - I don't - rather, I'll make a demi-educated guess.

The Llangollen line has a lot going for it.  It is within attractive "day trip" reach of Liverpool, Manchester, The Potteries, and the West Midlands.  It's in a holiday area - plenty of places to stay.  Lots else to do in the area which is likely to attract the same balloon of people looking to do multiple things in a day or holiday, but not so similar it competes head on. At a distance, other attractions of transport interest make a holiday in the area for those types very attractive indeed. The countryside is lovely, the line has interesting engineering features and it's got about the optimum journey time for the most attractive and "profitable" trip.  The natives are, I think, reasonably friendly.

It also has issues. It is not reachable by rail; not sure what public transport on the road into Llangollen is like, but there's no rail link as at (for example) Taunton to Bishops Lydeard; that can be fixed and may become a necessity for survival as we move towards zero carbon.  There is no realistic option of a secondary public transport role for the line - but then there's a very sad and frustrating lack all across the heritage sector of success in this area, so far.

Things I don't know - what / whether there is to do / see as additional attractions at the new Corwen terminus or indeed how close it is to Corwen. Nor do I know the amount, standard suitability for purpose of rolling stock on the line or the financial arrangements for its being there.  I don't know the state of the track, earthworks and other engineering, fencing, etc - nor do I know how much volunteer support there is to help oil the wheels - bearing in mind the old ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) figure that £1 spent on a volunteer brings in £4.20 in benefit.

Conclusion?  There are some issues and metrics that will never be ideal, but there should/could be a working product there even in a reduced heritage transport sector.  It rather depends on whether there's an inspirational and enthusiastic person or group of people to take it forward, and whether they'll be allow to though all the complexities of doing so without being tied down by historic encumbrances.



While I have been writing, Lee has posted. I will read him further in a minute, but at first glance he appears to be confirming that use for heritage and regular traffic in the area has - even for obvious cases - been an unachievable goal. So, perhaps, its not a practical concern here at Llangollen.

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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2021, 02:03:24 pm »

I'd dismissed Llangollen as impossible to get to without driving until the heritage railway had a special event that particularly attracted my attention.  I decided to look into it in more detail and found it had an hourly or better bus service only taking 20 minutes from right outside the nearest main line station at Ruabon, better than many non rail-served towns in GWR (Great Western Railway) land (though it does seem counter-intuitive that Wales isn't GWR territory any more!).  As well as the heritage railway it has superb walking, both level along the canal (the genuinely iconic Pontcysyllte aqueduct is little more than a stroll away) and more challenging elsewhere, glorious scenery, a range of eating and shopping options and an excellent B&B I found.

I do hope the railway recovers; I'd been looking forward to a return visit.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2021, 01:39:56 pm »

Things still not looking very good for Llangollen, but possibly more hopeful for others:
https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/coronavirus-lockdown-roadmap-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-for-heritage-railways-943715
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Andy
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2021, 02:04:49 pm »

Things still not looking very good for Llangollen, but possibly more hopeful for others:
https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/coronavirus-lockdown-roadmap-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-for-heritage-railways-943715


I hope it works out for them - it's a line I'd like to visit. Here's hoping that as restrictions are lifted and travel abroad is difficult, heritage railways will enjoy a bumper season.
 
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