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Author Topic: West Somerset Railway - heritage line, Bishops Lydeard to Minehead - merged topic, ongoing discussion  (Read 137412 times)
grahame
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« Reply #345 on: May 28, 2021, 07:54:35 pm »

Sorry if I can't locate this info,

but was their a planned GWR (Great Western Railway) shuttle service from Taunton to Norton/bishops lydiard for summer 2021?

I'm sure it would have been planned way, way back in those Halcyon of 2019 - "what are we going to do in future years" - but I suspect that's been a long way off any closer long term planning.  With two excursions a day from Lydeard to Dunster, there's probably not a business case for the shuttles.

Noting that I offered to help at the Norton Fitzwarren Steam Fair in August for Railfuture but that has been cancelled a few days back.
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broadgage
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« Reply #346 on: June 08, 2021, 02:08:21 pm »

A statement about the much delayed level crossing renewal has been released and may be found here.
http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm#2327

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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.
Witham Bobby
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« Reply #347 on: June 08, 2021, 02:46:10 pm »

A statement about the much delayed level crossing renewal has been released and may be found here.
http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm#2327



The WSR was the first independent railway to install an AOCL (Automatic Open Crossing (Locally monitored) A level crossing without barriers that is observed by the train crew before they proceed over the crossing) (Dunster Sea Lane) in 1976.  It's now going to be the first with the installation of a MCB (Miniature Circuit Breaker)-CCTV (Closed Circuit Tele Vision) at Minehead Seaward Way, 45 years later (well, at least I believe so - I can't think of another crossing of this type on a heritage line)

Edit: MCB-CCTV (Manned Controlled Barrier with Closed Circuit Television ) > Manually controlled barrier level crossing controlled at signalbox by CCTV
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AMLAG
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« Reply #348 on: June 08, 2021, 02:51:30 pm »

It beggars belief that this yet further delay to the main upgrade works to the LC (Level Crossing) at Minehead and the resultant increasingly serious financial situation of the WSR Co.
was not foreseen by Somerset County Council and the WSR Co. many months ago / last year and the work postponed, possibly until the first couple of months of 2022.

In the meantime one wonders if handsignalling over the LC for a couple of trains each way a day might have been possible.

The WSR 'begging bowl' now wanting £1,000,000  will I suspect take some finding.
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broadgage
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« Reply #349 on: June 08, 2021, 03:08:02 pm »

Agree, the whole project does seem to have been poorly planned.
As just one example, a concrete foundation is needed for a transportable equipment room for level crossing related equipment, located beside the line on the London side of the crossing.
Building has proved more challenging than expected.

I fail to see why this foundation was not built a year or more ago, so as to allow a margin for delays, rather than being left until the last minute and then holding up other parts of the work.
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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.
broadgage
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« Reply #350 on: June 17, 2021, 08:42:54 am »

Doubts have surfaced as to the future of the "Qauntock Belle" dining train on the WSR.

The coaches are owned and operated by the West Somerset Railway Association, not by the PLC. AFAIK (as far as I know), profits from dining services go to the Association, but the PLC derive an income from use of their locomotives to haul the train.

http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm
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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 #351 on: June 17, 2021, 09:01:45 am »

Doubts have surfaced as to the future of the "Qauntock Belle" dining train on the WSR.

The coaches are owned and operated by the West Somerset Railway Association, not by the PLC. AFAIK (as far as I know), profits from dining services go to the Association, but the PLC derive an income from use of their locomotives to haul the train.

http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm

As I read it, owned by the association, operated by the Plc, who may no longer wish to operate it as they can't do so to their financial benefit.  With an asset / train that's not in use, the association need to consider what use to them the train itself is ...

Quote
I must prepare you to specifically consider the question of the possible disposal of the QB set when we get to the AGM (Annual General Meeting). We have been in discussion with the WSR Plc for many months and once they have honoured the 2021 bookings they can currently see no future in the operation of a dining train as they cannot see a way to turn a profit.
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infoman
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« Reply #352 on: July 02, 2021, 05:05:12 pm »

Chairman of said group saying they will need one million pounds to continue into next year,item on ITV west country local news on friday 2nd july.
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Lee
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« Reply #353 on: July 02, 2021, 05:24:28 pm »

Chairman of said group saying they will need one million pounds to continue into next year,item on ITV west country local news on friday 2nd july.

Now, if I were Andrew Haines or Sir Peter Hendy, I would be thinking "What an opportunity to prove naysayers like Lee wrong, and build on the Okehampton momentum by pledging the money on Network Rail's behalf to bail WSR out, on the proviso that in future, Great British Railways becomes the senior partner on the Minehead route, and specifies services like this... "
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grahame
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« Reply #354 on: July 02, 2021, 08:31:46 pm »

Chairman of said group saying they will need one million pounds to continue into next year,item on ITV west country local news on friday 2nd july.

Now, if I were Andrew Haines or Sir Peter Hendy, I would be thinking "What an opportunity to prove naysayers like Lee wrong, and build on the Okehampton momentum by pledging the money on Network Rail's behalf to bail WSR out, on the proviso that in future, Great British Railways becomes the senior partner on the Minehead route, and specifies services like this... "

The interest thing is that everything is so up in the air and messed up that it would be a good time for the elements to settle in a new way.
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broadgage
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« Reply #355 on: July 03, 2021, 04:24:19 pm »

I would support a bail out by network rail with them becoming the senior partner in the Minehead branch.

I appreciate that I am probably in a minority in this view, but we should remember that the ORIGINAL INTENT of the WSR was to operate a year round service largely by use of then modern types of DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).

A year round service could use steam in the Summer season, and something more modern for other services. A preserved HST (High Speed Train) is the obvious near term choice, with a battery train being a longer term and greener option.

Hopefully the speed limit on the branch could be increased to 40 MPH or so for modernish steel bodied stock with power doors and air brakes.

Hopefully heritage stock could be allowed to use the short bit of national network track 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 (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 #356 on: July 03, 2021, 08:50:07 pm »

I would support a bail out by network rail with them becoming the senior partner in the Minehead branch.

I appreciate that I am probably in a minority in this view, but ....

In the words of someone I asked for directions once - "lovely place to go, but if I was going there I wouldn't start from here".
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Lee
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« Reply #357 on: July 05, 2021, 01:47:17 am »

I would support a bail out by network rail with them becoming the senior partner in the Minehead branch.

I appreciate that I am probably in a minority in this view, but we should remember that the ORIGINAL INTENT of the WSR was to operate a year round service largely by use of then modern types of DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).

A year round service could use steam in the Summer season, and something more modern for other services. A preserved HST (High Speed Train) is the obvious near term choice, with a battery train being a longer term and greener option.

Hopefully the speed limit on the branch could be increased to 40 MPH or so for modernish steel bodied stock with power doors and air brakes.

Hopefully heritage stock could be allowed to use the short bit of national network track to run into Taunton.

Look at it this way. During recent times, we have seen civil war between WSR factions, key staff redundancies, an inability to run a pandemic rail service while all around were restarting theirs, the Seaward Road Level Crossing debacle, and now this.

Given that the WSR now faces a genuinely existential threat, do we really think that sticking resolutely to the status quo will see off that threat and set a fair course for the future, or is it time to at least consider the alternatives?

Whilst in the UK (United Kingdom), the idea of mixing national rail and heritage operations is viewed as radical and controversial, over here in Brittany it is far more commonplace. The Guingamp-Paimpol line has a national rail service during the winter months, and this is mixed with a steam service timetable over part of the route between Pontrieux-Paimpol during the summer months.

Similarly, once the final phase of the Pontivy Reopening Project is complete, there will be a national rail service between Auray-Pontivy during the winter months, mixed with a heritage tourist train operation during the summer months.

What we are waiting for with Pontivy is the completion of the development, construction and deployment of our own battery trains, which will also provide additional services on non-electrified routes such as Guingamp-Carhaix, Guingamp-Paimpol and Saint Brieuc-Dinan-Dol. These additional services cant be provided at present because a) we dont have sufficient spare DMU rolling stock and b) even if we did, our budget wouldnt stretch to the level of subsidy that, at least initially, would be required to operate those additional services with them.

Our experts tell us that once operational, our battery trains operating costs would be low enough to break even with just a handful of passengers on board per service, and as broadgage suggests for the WSR, we see them as the way forward for such services to be both economically and environmentally viable into the future.

So to conclude, my personal view is that WSR supporters have nothing to fear from switching to operating the Minehead route in this manner. Indeed, I would be far more fearful of the consequences of sticking with the status quo.
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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #358 on: July 05, 2021, 11:27:56 am »

I would support a bail out by network rail with them becoming the senior partner in the Minehead branch.

I appreciate that I am probably in a minority in this view, but we should remember that the ORIGINAL INTENT of the WSR was to operate a year round service largely by use of then modern types of DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).

A year round service could use steam in the Summer season, and something more modern for other services. A preserved HST (High Speed Train) is the obvious near term choice, with a battery train being a longer term and greener option.

Hopefully the speed limit on the branch could be increased to 40 MPH or so for modernish steel bodied stock with power doors and air brakes.

Hopefully heritage stock could be allowed to use the short bit of national network track to run into Taunton.

As one of those involved at the start (and there are ever fewer of us left) I can say that the original intent was indeed to run such a service.  I even got the timetable all sorted out, in 1978.  The DMU service (using not particulalry "new" Park Royal DMUs) that we did initiate, between Williton and Minehead, was, in effect, a part of the intended route-long service.

In those days we had the (unaffordable at the time) prospect of using the former Up Relief Line between Norton Fizwarren Junction and the Up side bay at the country end of Taunton station.  The present arrangement of having to cross trains across both Main Lines at Norton Fitzwarren to and from the branch is going to be problematic, without quite a bit of resignalling.  I understand this can't happen with the present arrangements at Exeter Power 'Box


It would be very pleasing to me to see this happen.  I've always wanted to show that the closure decision by BR (British Rail(ways))(WR) management at Bristol was totally wrong!
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broadgage
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« Reply #359 on: July 05, 2021, 03:58:41 pm »


As one of those involved at the start (and there are ever fewer of us left) I can say that the original intent was indeed to run such a service.  I even got the timetable all sorted out, in 1978.  The DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) service (using not particulalry "new" Park Royal DMUs) that we did initiate, between Williton and Minehead, was, in effect, a part of the intended route-long service.

In those days we had the (unaffordable at the time) prospect of using the former Up Relief Line between Norton Fiztwarren Junction and the Up side bay at the country end of Taunton station.  The present arrangement of having to cross trains across both Main Lines at Norton Fitzwarren to and from the branch is going to be problematic, without quite a bit of resignalling.  I understand this can't happen with the present arrangements at Exeter Power 'Box


It would be very pleasing to me to see this happen.  I've always wanted to show that the closure decision by BR (British Rail(ways))(WR) management at Bristol was totally wrong!

The above views are in my view particularly pertinent in view of the O/Ps long standing connection with the WSR and his detailed knowledge of both present day operations and of the early days.

The merits of through passenger  services all year round have already been noted, but in the longer term we might hope for regular freight traffic. At least one major supermarket is only separated from the line by a fence. Other businesses are near the line and could in future be rail served.
If we are serious about the climate emergency, then we need to make more use of railways and less use of fossil fueled cars, vans, and trucks.

"guilt free port" Imported by sea, distributed to a Minehead supermarket by freight train, and then to my door by battery van.
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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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