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Project Wareham

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by David R, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    I'm trying to sort out booking a trip. The website doesn't help at all, with the Wareham Tickets away from the main booking bit.

    While on the Wareham bit you cant book a Rover ticket & seats.....................
     
  2. JS Rail Videos

    JS Rail Videos New Member

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    My humble offerings from a trip to the Railway yesterday. Congratulations for everybody involved in making this a regular sight for the Summer months! Rather surreal to see the Swanage services pop up on the information boards at Wareham.

    Featuring 37518, D6515 and 80104 (Running as 80146).

    Enjoy!

     
    David R and Stefan Mlynek like this.
  3. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    No need to modify the signalling at all - run rounds in the siding (or the platforms) are already provided for in the signalling - but the ORR / NR will not let such things take place until the foot crossing is closed.

    This requires the residents of Wareham to stop playing silly buggers and accept ramps being added to the existing footbridge - until then top & tailing (plus various timetable constraints due to not having somewhere to park the Swanage train when a SWT service is due) will continue.
     
  4. gricerdon

    gricerdon Active Member

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    Yes I had the same problem. You can't book the £20 rover which includes the Wareham add on with selected train
     
  5. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Active Member

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    The Freedom of the Line rover ticket includes Wareham
     
  6. Henry the Green Engine

    Henry the Green Engine New Member

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    '(plus various timetable constraints due to not having somewhere to park the Swanage train when a SWT service is due)'

    The unasked but often pondered question suddenly becomes relevant. Why hasn't the Up bay line been relaid? That would provide a stabling point for the train and of course, it is one of the old Swanage bay platforms. Someone rather short-sightedly recently plonked a junction box right on the trackbed so, that will have to be moved. Ironically, part of the resignalling project perhaps?

    The crossing saga may rumble on for years. Reopening the bay would seem the No 1 priority now.
     
  7. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Indeed congratulations to those involved. However, now comes the difficult bit. Will the local population, for whom this is supposed to be for, actually use the service. At one time I had relatives who lived at Swanage and from what I was told, this is by no means a "given". The problem is, of course, the position of Wareham station in relation to the town. When it is no longer the latest "wheeze" of the gricer community, what will the usage settle down at? Fingers crossed time.

    PH
     
  8. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing this. It has certainly whetted my appetite for a visit to Swanage. Travelling along the coast by train, arriving at Wareham and changing onto a Swanage train will make a pleasant change from the usual trek along the A31, which can be a bit of a nightmare during the summer months.

    I hadn't previously noticed that the WCRC rake includes an air-conditioned Mk 2 carriage. It may not be authentic for the line historically (unlike maroon Mk 1s which did appear at times in the 1960s) but I could imagine it may be the most popular carriage in the set if this hot weather continues!

    What were the loadings like? It's hard to tell from the video, but it would be good to see these trains running full.
     
  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 New Member

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    I believe the up bay is also a small nature reserve. Not insurmountable of course but there would be extra cost in relocating the wildlife. In fact I think I read in the local rag that some had recently been relocated to there from elsewhere in the Wareham area.
     
  10. mikechant

    mikechant New Member

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    Yes, but I couldn't see how you could include a reservation for a particular Wareham>Swanage train in with buying a freedom of the line ticket. It's no good buying a freedom of the line ticket and then not be able to board at Wareham due to the train being full!
    This actually put me off visiting for the time being. I'm hoping this issue will get sorted soon.

    Or maybe I'm just missing something?
     
  11. Standard by 4

    Standard by 4 New Member

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    With an expansion of service, one stop up the main line has the potential for a future park and ride at Holton Heath, close to the A35, avoids the drive through Sandford, which can be extremely busy in the summer months, close to a holiday park and potential for a larger carpark than Wareham in the industrial estate, which i am sure is not busy at weekends.
     
  12. gricerdon

    gricerdon Active Member

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    Exactly my point
     
  13. DisusedBranch

    DisusedBranch Active Member

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    Is it 'supposed to be for' the local population, or is that merely an assumption on your part? Because the number of successful 'community railway' projects - which have set out with grand ideas of running viable local shopper/commuter services - can be counted on the digits of less than one hand, as it's a resounding zero.

    However I fully expect that the Swanage Railway isn't that shortsighted and so the idea of such services has played no part at all in the cost/benefit analysis of extending services to Wareham.

    I am sure that any such use of the trains would be welcomed by the SR and any reduction in road traffic between Wareham and Swanage - whether tourist or regular local use - would equally be welcomed by the various local authorities. However, I would be extremely surprised if any of them relied on the idea of local people regularly using the train for anything other than leisure as any basis of their calculations.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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  14. Colin Morgan

    Colin Morgan New Member

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    The A351 through Purbeck to Swanage has been regarded as running at full capacity at peak periods for decades, and local opposition to using the rail track formation through Corfe Castle as a road bypass led to the adoption by Dorset CC of the policy of the reopening of the branch railway as the only viable way of improving the transport network in Purbeck.
    The business case for the trial service is indeed based on expectations of the demand from tourists, leisure travellers and railway enthusiasts. The consultant's report commissioned a decade ago by Dorset CC, which underpinned the case for their providing £3.2m for re-signalling the branch connection, estimated a year round service of 5 return trips a day would lead to 200,000 additional passenger journeys, of which about 170,000 would be tourists and leisure travellers.
    Then growth of both the tourism market and for rail travel within the UK was not foreseen by the consultants. Whilst the appeal of heritage railways was not even considered as relevant because they did not foresee the Wareham service being run by Swanage Railway using heritage trains.
    The present well established service between Norden and Swanage already runs on more days than any other heritage railway in the UK. The evidence of unmet demand for travel from the national network is very strong, partly from the local experience but also by the flourishing services on all of the west country branch services to sea-side resorts with main line connections.
    The first year trial is very much concerned about proving that the Railway can operate with the discipline required to run a timetabled service onto a relatively busy electrified main line without disrupting the operation of the Norden to Swanage service. At the same time, the income from paying passengers has to cover at least our running costs. Assuming that this limited service is as successful as the previous extensions of Swanage Railway services have been in the past, then next year will see a longer running season.
    Swanage Railway continues to make progress cautiously whilst remaining committed to its long term ambition of providing a full year round service that meets the needs of local residents for rail travel for work and leisure as well as for visitors coming for business as well as leisure.
    If you wish to support us please come and visit, spend time in Purbeck to travel on our trains and to experience the many other sources of interest and pleasure on offer.
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    It seems every generation of railway enthusiasts has to re-learn the lessons learned so painfully by the previous one. Swanage thrives as a result of a park and ride facility quite independent of a mainline connection. Establishing such a connection will increase the difficulties (and thus expense) of working.

    As I said before, keep fingers crossed. Also beware the wishful thinking of gricers and politicians.

    PH
     
  16. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Active Member

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    To reinstate the up bay would be a backward step for the following reasons:
    1: More expensive due to more signalling required, more point work required and more track. The signalling set up at Wareham was already set up for arrivals from Swanage to arr in either up or down platforms.
    2: Most of the custom will be arriving from the east and you don't want people having to lug prams, kids, buckets and spades over the bridge. What you want is a jump off/jump on train service..ie same platform.
    3: By running into either up/down platform allows Swanage to run longer trains.
     
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  17. 5914

    5914 New Member

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    My knowledge is a bit old now, but two points have been raised:
    1. Reinstating the bay platform had several negative points when original proof of concept was investigating under GRIP:
    (a) the length of the bay platform would have been restrictive on train length even without a run round facility
    (b) commissioning the bay required 5 signalling units - giving an indicative cost out of all proportion
    (c) if a run round facility was included that isolated this activity from the main line the it required and additional 5 signalling units - again a significant additional cost
    (d) all the operational benefits could be gained by reconfiguring the Down East Sidings, requiring only 1 additional signalling units above the existing provision.
    (e) operationally use of the Down East Sidings over the bay platform meant that, subject to timetabling there could be same platform interchange with London trains SR train arriving in Up platform and shunting to sidings prior to arrival of Up London train and then follow Down London train into the Down platform - all far better for the passenger who may be interchanging.

    2. The business case was not predicated on regular, daily commuters (a market that is, indeed small), still less those travelling from Swanage to Wareham - an even smaller population. The main justification was generating modal shift from road to rail for tourist/visitor traffic in the summer months. This is what the funding was for, and what it will be judged against - not the 'straw man' of daily commuter traffic mentioned above.
     
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  18. David R

    David R Active Member

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    Paul - whilst I agree with much of what you say there are a few pertinent points relating to this situation.

    Firstly I can remember in the late 70's and early 80's when a Park and Ride Scheme modelled on St Ives in Cornwall was first proposed, there were many (including the local authorities) who said that it would never work/had never been done on a Heritage Line before. As far as I know it remains unique.

    Next, this is not a plunge into a full 365 day a year service - it is a 60 day followed by a 90 day trial. Again taking the West Country branches, there must be a good prospect that a Summer Seasonal service aimed at tourists and leisure users could be a paying proposition. It is worth noting that most of the capital cost has been met by grants so the downside risk to the Swanage Railway is limited.

    The Capital Costs of aproximately £5.5m (although large by preservation standards) have been low by Network Rail re-opening/upgrade standards and even the projected capital costs for a more extensive through service (£7m +) look cheap by NR costings.

    I agree that there must be considerable doubt about the prospects of a year round service being a paying proposition, but they are no where near that yet - it is very much one small step at a time - and 40 years ago very few people would have believed that Swanage would ever get this far.

    I see no evidence of over optimism by the Swanage Railway - more a sign of great caution in the one step at a time approach, which is the correct approach in my view. Swanage has already learnt a lesson from it's near crash in 1990 and I do not beleive that it's current Management is in any way guilty of wishfull thinking.

    David R
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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  19. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    OK, Firstly the Wareham area was resignalled around 5 years ago so its not going to be touched for the next 40 years or more, and secondly back in 2010 it cost Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council £3.2million to pay for the relatively minor enhancements at Worgret Junction and Wareham simply to get what we have now - and that was piggybacking on the Pool to Wool resignalling scheme that was planned anyway.

    That location case was 'plonked' there precisely because there is there is zero commercial reason for the bay to ever be reinstated by NR (SWT don't need it, no freight operator needs it and there are some perfectly good sidings available if the residents of Wareham let NR add ramps to the footbridge - which will cost way less than going back and modifying brand new signalling). If the bay was required then you could quite easily have added an extra £1million onto the 32.3 million bill, and adding the bay now will be even more expensive as it would be a stand alone scheme rather than being lumped in with grater changes.

    I have said it before but NR does not exist to facilitate Heritage operations (it accommodates them where they do not conflict with its day job of providing services for TOCs / FOCs) nor should it be expected to make special provision simply because some locals have their heads in the sand over a footbridge. Until the level crossing is removed then the current restrictions will remain.
     
  20. DisusedBranch

    DisusedBranch Active Member

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    Thank you Colin - exactly what I thought. Not PH's assumption at all. Although I did note he wasn't big enough to come back and say "OK fair enough, I got the wrong end of the stick about that."
    Swanage (the town) or The Swanage Railway? Frankly I would dispute both. I think the Norden P&R undoubtedly helps increase numbers and keep some traffic off the A road, but do both thrive because of it? I suspect not.

    While I do agree with many of your thoughts regarding WIBN projects, Paul, it does seem that you look for any excuse to be negative about 'gricers and politicians'. Why not just let the SR enjoy it's moment in the sun, without blowing ominous black clouds in its direction (which seem to be based on flawed assumptions anyway) before the thing has even had a chance to get properly started.

    (Cue an accusation of making a 'personal attack', etc. :Dead:)
     

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