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Author Topic: West Somerset Railway - heritage line, Bishops Lydeard to Minehead - merged topic, ongoing discussion  (Read 106569 times)
devon_metro
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« Reply #75 on: April 21, 2013, 08:03:58 pm »

It was tried half heartedly about five years ago, but was not a success. However, I think that was down to the fact that it was only announced when most people would have already made their arrangements (or, more to the point, those people who might have holidayed at Minehead had a rail connection been available, had by then made alternative plans.)

So if it's going to work it needs to be in place at the start of the year, so that people can plan accordingly.




It was also expensive I believe!
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John R
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« Reply #76 on: April 21, 2013, 08:42:24 pm »

Yes, I seem to recall thinking at the time that as an "add-on" from Bristol to Minehead it wasn't cheap, particularly when thinking that the profile of people likely to be taking their summer holidays at Butlins Minehead would imply a relatively limited budget.
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TonyK
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« Reply #77 on: April 21, 2013, 09:00:57 pm »

As with any other railway service improvement, a bit of money will have to spent in "priming the pump", and the traditional source is the local authority. I wonder if this has been looked at by Somerset CC from a business case point of view?

As for Butlins being an indication of a low budget, I had a look at an apartment for 2 adults, 2 children in May. Regular price is over ^1000.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #78 on: April 21, 2013, 09:11:43 pm »

That will be the West Somerset Council that is already on the verge of going bust, then?  Roll Eyes

See Why West Somerset Council is at risk of going bust  Lips sealed
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
TonyK
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« Reply #79 on: April 21, 2013, 09:14:01 pm »

That will be the West Somerset Council that is already on the verge of going bust, then?  Roll Eyes

See Why West Somerset Council is at risk of going bust  Lips sealed

One and the same, which is why I was never confident.
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broadgage
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« Reply #80 on: April 24, 2013, 10:22:34 am »

IMHO, through trains form the national network onto the WSR is an idea whose time has come.
It may not happen just yet for the reasons already given, but I predict that within a few years we will see regular through services.

Taunton to Minehead is the obvious route, but from furthur away would be a possibility as well.
The large station car park at Bishops Lydeard is regulary well filled in the summer, and many more passengers come on the limited bus service. Presumably many of these customers would use a through train if one existed.

As well as traditional family holidays, Butlins regularly hold large scale religous events and music festivals, these attract huge crowds many of whom dont drive.
Those attending music festivals probably enjoy a drink, and at the religous events many seem to choose not to drive.
Busses dont provide a suitable alternative for these numbers.

On a "butlins day" local chaos often results.

Through trains would considerably relieve matters. At busy times full length loco hauled trains would be well filled, with DMUs being a realistic alternative at less busy times.
I wonder if some of the rules regarding the national network could be relaxed if heritage trains are running at only modest speeds and for short distances on the national network.
Would It really be that dangerous to allow a couple of preserved locomotives and say 8 MK11 coaches to run into 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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
ChrisB
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« Reply #81 on: April 24, 2013, 11:08:23 am »

Sounds as though Butlins might get asked for a contribution.....:-)
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Puffing Billy
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« Reply #82 on: April 24, 2013, 10:53:25 pm »

I would love to see regular through trains from Minehead and/or Bishop's Lydeard to Taunton and beyond, but cannot realistically see this happening for some time to come. Mr Conibeare mentions trains "continuing" beyond Taunton onto the WSR, which suggests to me that he envisages the possibility of tweaking the existing  GW timetable to extend current Taunton terminators to Bishop's Lydeard (I do not think regular running beyond BL would be realistic, because the WSR runs at virtually full capacity in summer). This might make the service more economic to GW, but would it be easy to operate in practice? There are no signal boxes between Taunton and Bishop's Lydeard, but (I believe) two junctions with ground frames. Would this necessitate the GW service carrying a guard or pilotman - perhaps someone versed in signalling practices could explain? In the longer term, is the possibility of WSR themselves running through to Taunton not a more likely prospect?

In any case, I think the primary aim has to be improving access from the national network to the WSR itself, with the benefit to Butlins' clients - at the moment at least - a secondary consideration. Butlins relies heavily on its proximity to the motorway, and while high summer on the M5 is my idea of hell, there is much to be said for the convenience of a big family car packed full of luggage. As for the train attracting customers off the buses, the bus does have the advantage that it drives right into the holiday camp. Butlins is only a moderate stroll along the seafront from Minehead station, but those with heavy luggage might be put off. The line does run right along the back of the camp - perhaps a "Butlins Halt" between Dunster and Minehead would be a possibility!
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6 OF 2 redundant adjunct of unimatrix 01
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« Reply #83 on: April 24, 2013, 10:57:01 pm »

The m5 is not the issue, the a38 around carhampton is a major bottleneck
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #84 on: April 24, 2013, 11:04:30 pm »

... perhaps a "Butlins Halt" between Dunster and Minehead would be a possibility!

Please pardon my sense of humour, but I couldn't help but envisage such a halt thus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyuwBW9lNa8  Tongue Roll Eyes Grin
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
TonyK
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« Reply #85 on: April 24, 2013, 11:16:00 pm »

The m5 is not the issue, the a38 around carhampton is a major bottleneck

More of a problem is the A39, all the way from Bridgwater. I have had the misfortune of driving to Minehead on a summer Saturday more than once. Whether you go via Bridgwater or via Taunton, it is top-start all the way from Williton. Coming home one day, heavily laden with family, we got stuck behind the departing Butliners by the station. Having crawled past the supermarket in a very long time, I noticed the corner of a road atlas sticking out from underneath the great pile of stuff on the rear parcel shelf. I thought if we could get it, we could find another way home. 20 minutes later, as we neared the roundabout 200 metres further, my daughter managed to free it. Triumph was short-lived though, because it was an atlas of France. It may still have been quicker to return to Bristol via Paris and Lyons, but we gave up. These days, I know the area well enough to find my way home by a number of routes, but never find myself there on Saturdays.

Prices are a bit steep, but offers can be had. WSR have discounted Day Rover tickets, but you will have to move fast, as the offer ends on Friday 26 April. You can buy a day rover for an adult for ^10.00, which is ^7.00 off the usual price, valid for one day's unlimited travel until 1 January 2014. Details here. WSR are good with local residents, too, offering a pass for half price travel. It costs ^10.00 for 2 years, and is available to anyone who is a council tax payer in the post-codes around the railway.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 11:29:54 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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6 OF 2 redundant adjunct of unimatrix 01
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« Reply #86 on: April 25, 2013, 01:29:32 am »

I'm sorry I did mean the a39... It's been a while since I was up there but you are correct williton as soon as you get to the petrol station
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bignosemac
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« Reply #87 on: April 25, 2013, 02:14:59 am »

I remember a summer Saturday journey to Porlock for a family gathering when I was a kid.

There were two cars from Taunton and my step-dad decided to turn left at Cedar Falls and head for Wheddon Cross and Horner. We arrived in Porlock a full 15 minutes before my grandparents, who had crawled along the A358/A39 with the holiday traffic.
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broadgage
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« Reply #88 on: April 25, 2013, 08:56:27 am »

------- Butlins is only a moderate stroll along the seafront from Minehead station, but those with heavy luggage might be put off. The line does run right along the back of the camp - perhaps a "Butlins Halt" between Dunster and Minehead would be a possibility!


This was seriously considered a few years ago, and like through running might be worth revisiting.
A loop  off the WSR main line into Butlins car park was proposed. This would require several hundred yards of track, 2 points and protecting signals, a platform, and 2 small bridges to carry the loop over a small stream and adjacent footpath/cycleway.
A halt actualy on the line would be less useful as though nearer to Butlins than Minehead station it would still be a bit far with luggage, and would still need one bridge.

A halt actualy on the main line would also be liable to cause delay to other services during loading and unloading at busy times.
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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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #89 on: April 25, 2013, 01:11:18 pm »

 There are no signal boxes between Taunton and Bishop's Lydeard, but (I believe) two junctions with ground frames. Would this necessitate the GW service carrying a guard or pilotman - perhaps someone versed in signalling practices could explain?

There is a Signalled route into and out of the West Somerset in both directions. This has had to be done to allow Network Rail stone trains onto the WSR. Some deal between NR and the WSR that provided all the materials for the latters new triangle at Norton Fitzwarren. From Taunton access is gained via the Down relief, and is signalled with a Lunar Light Junction Indicator (Feathers!) onto the WSR. Also the route out is signalled as well. Both are Colour lights controlled from Exeter panel (until Didcot takes over!). This was also part of the necessary works to allow NR trains onto the WSR. I would assume that the section runs now from the junction up to Bishops Lydeard, but please correct me if this is not the case on the WSR.

I believe this does make a through service more possible. I hope one can be implemented in the future, but as one of the previous contributors to this thread has pointed out. It does need to be 'primed' and planned well in advance
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