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15 hours ago, Zomboid said:

I wouldn't say that. About 10 miles is a sweet spot; long enough for a decent run and to make a long enough activity to be worth a bit of effort to get there (and use the facilities,  cafe etc), but not so long as to be tedious.

 

In that sense the Bluebell is pretty much the perfect size. An extension would be a nice novelty, but they've already got the main line connection and plenty of train ride. If they want a connection to HH then they'd be better off getting the local vintage bus enthusiasts involved and run a service to whichever station has the better road access from there. 

My former company took over the 473 Kingscote to East Grinstead vintage bus using the ex Metrobus RML, painted into a weird Thomas Tilling-esque livery. That was great fun as we did a 472 from Brighton to EG via Uckfield and then the connecting 473 bus link between there and KC and then back from EG to Brighton as a 472 again. A good day out, a great chat and cup of tea with the BRPS chairman at KC station and the chance to add Routemasters to my vehicle type knowledge.

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18 hours ago, Zomboid said:

In that sense the Bluebell is pretty much the perfect size. An extension would be a nice novelty, but they've already got the main line connection and plenty of train ride. If they want a connection to HH then they'd be better off getting the local vintage bus enthusiasts involved and run a service to whichever station has the better road access from there. 

Metrobus 270 already provides that link from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes on Saturdays (used to be Sundays as well, but the County Council withdrew the subsidy).  Mostly used by working volunteers rather than visitors, in spite of a promotion which gives visitors arriving by Metrobus a discount on the Bluebell.
Given that the bus link between Kingscote and East Grinstead used to cost us £35k per year (i.e. costs were £35k above bus ticket revenue, but we had to do it because of the planning permission conditions on the use of Kingscote as a temporary terminus), and we switched to a modern bus because the vintage one was too costly (and not wheelchair accessible), all I can say is, the practicalities and economics simply don't stack up.}
There's also the 121 from Lewes to Sheffield Park on Saturdays.

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1 hour ago, rasalmon said:

Metrobus 270 already provides that link from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes on Saturdays (used to be Sundays as well, but the County Council withdrew the subsidy).  Mostly used by working volunteers rather than visitors, in spite of a promotion which gives visitors arriving by Metrobus a discount on the Bluebell.
Given that the bus link between Kingscote and East Grinstead used to cost us £35k per year (i.e. costs were £35k above bus ticket revenue, but we had to do it because of the planning permission conditions on the use of Kingscote as a temporary terminus), and we switched to a modern bus because the vintage one was too costly (and not wheelchair accessible), all I can say is, the practicalities and economics simply don't stack up.}
There's also the 121 from Lewes to Sheffield Park on Saturdays.

Throwing money into that is still probably a better investment than trying to get a railway into Haywards though...

 

I don't know anything about the finances, but as a punter and occasional volunteer, the vintage bus service seems to work pretty well for the Epping Ongar railway. But that's an entirely different barrel of squid, since they have the tube bringing people in at Epping, no public car parking, and I think it's heavily backed by someone who has a large collection of buses. Makes for a nice multi-mode day out if you're into buses as well as trains.

 

I've no idea if any other railways have found bus preservation to be a help or drain on a regular basis.

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1 hour ago, rasalmon said:

Metrobus 270 already provides that link from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes on Saturdays (used to be Sundays as well, but the County Council withdrew the subsidy).  Mostly used by working volunteers rather than visitors, in spite of a promotion which gives visitors arriving by Metrobus a discount on the Bluebell.
Given that the bus link between Kingscote and East Grinstead used to cost us £35k per year (i.e. costs were £35k above bus ticket revenue, but we had to do it because of the planning permission conditions on the use of Kingscote as a temporary terminus), and we switched to a modern bus because the vintage one was too costly (and not wheelchair accessible), all I can say is, the practicalities and economics simply don't stack up.}
There's also the 121 from Lewes to Sheffield Park on Saturdays.

Marginally related, having used both the 473 and 121 services to visit both offered different experiences.

The 121 was very much a venture into unknown territory for me, a trip to Lewes - then finding the ex Southdown Bus station - then first trip on an ESCC Optare Solo and then relying on the driver/my own infrequent trips to Sheffield Park by car to hit the bell for the right stop - all fun for a Feburary in 2010! :-D
The 473 left a much more lasting memory on me - the trip from London to East Grinstead was uneventful - I arrived early so had to wait for the 473; the trip to Kingscote was equally uneventful I was looking for Imberhorne Viaduct but couldn't see it like I remember on an older Heritage Trip. It was bitterly cold at the Bluebell that day - I was the only First Class Passenger in the Chesham Set and the steam heat was up on full - toasty warm! :-D
I believe Fenchurch (Might've been Stepney) had some issues that day and they debated cancelling the last trip from SP to KC; it eventually ran with Fenchurch rather late (there was talk of a brakevan special) which gave me my experience of travelling by Steam in the Dark (it was winter) just before I arrived at Kingscote it dawned on me that there would be no 473 as we were delayed by 45-60 minutes. Thankfully though the Metrobus Driver waited for us and there was the site of a cold but invitingly lit up Dennis Dart waiting for us to take us non-stop to East Grinstead. 

 

Sorry for the random thoughts but reading these last few posts on linking bus services i'll cease my ramblings now and return to the business at hand! :-)

Gary

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Having provocatively raised the subject of a southwards extension I must thank everyone for their well-thought out responses with which I agree entirely - and so I shall withdraw my suggestion with good grace!

Nice shots of those 20's and new track machines Grizz!

Tony

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4 hours ago, Zomboid said:

Throwing money into that is still probably a better investment than trying to get a railway into Haywards though...

 

I don't know anything about the finances, but as a punter and occasional volunteer, the vintage bus service seems to work pretty well for the Epping Ongar railway. But that's an entirely different barrel of squid, since they have the tube bringing people in at Epping, no public car parking, and I think it's heavily backed by someone who has a large collection of buses. Makes for a nice multi-mode day out if you're into buses as well as trains.

 

I've no idea if any other railways have found bus preservation to be a help or drain on a regular basis.

OK, put another way, £35k a year is roughly the equivalent of having an additional one of the Bluebell's steam locos available for service for ever (£350k every 10 years would do a medium sized loco overhaul nicely, I think).
One could never make a financial case for going to East Grinstead or to Ardingly/Haywards Heath.  But Bluebell got to East Grinstead without using money from revenue, it all came from fundraising/share issues.  So no, you have to consider capital costs funded as such quite separately from operating costs.  You cannot simply add a loss-making peripheral activity on to what is already effectively an operation which is only not loss-making because it's subsidised hugely by volunteer effort.  Bluebell do run buses where it's necessary for the operation, for example when they have to use the National Trust's car park at Sheffield Park.  Many of the Bluebell's volunteers do own preserved buses, but using them to carry passengers on a commercial basis requires a lot more hoops to be jumped through.  It always helps if you have someone with money to throw at a problem.  The Bluebell has never had that luxury.

Edited by rasalmon
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17 hours ago, rasalmon said:

OK, put another way, £35k a year is roughly the equivalent of having an additional one of the Bluebell's steam locos available for service for ever (£350k every 10 years would do a medium sized loco overhaul nicely, I think).
One could never make a financial case for going to East Grinstead or to Ardingly/Haywards Heath.  But Bluebell got to East Grinstead without using money from revenue, it all came from fundraising/share issues.  So no, you have to consider capital costs funded as such quite separately from operating costs.  You cannot simply add a loss-making peripheral activity on to what is already effectively an operation which is only not loss-making because it's subsidised hugely by volunteer effort.  Bluebell do run buses where it's necessary for the operation, for example when they have to use the National Trust's car park at Sheffield Park.  Many of the Bluebell's volunteers do own preserved buses, but using them to carry passengers on a commercial basis requires a lot more hoops to be jumped through.  It always helps if you have someone with money to throw at a problem.  The Bluebell has never had that luxury.

To me, as someone who supports any new railway (and therefore I fully BML2, I don't trust East Sussex County Council though) I reckon Ardingly would make sense in the same way as the GCR's Mountsorrel branch makes sense in that it is seen as a separate attraction, an industrial line as opposed to the main line passenger railway.

The Lavender line would need a new home, is about the right length and a lot of it is laid in flat bottom rail on concrete sleepers, as is most of the Spa Valley railway iirc. An Ardingly to HK shuttle could work as a separate line linking the two railways. plus isn't there a bus that passes the station at Ardingly? The Bluebell can't now be the first preserved railway to have a secondary branch line, nor can it be the first to link to another preserved line, but it can and does build the lines it has to an excellent standard as we've seen from all the pictures from R A Salmon, Tony Sullivan (Is he the Tony that works in the Carriage & Wagon workshop?), The Bartons, Grizz and all the others I don't know of. Keep at it guys you're all awesome!

 

A long way in the future though and the Bluebell was absolutely right to secure the trackbed from adverse development. I just hope to see it in my lifetime (I'm 40)

 

As an aside could a new West Hoathly station be built as an 'accountancy rebuild'? Might be stretching it a bit but with a bit of 're-pointing' and 'resurfacing' you'd have two perfectly serviceable platforms. Did the residents of WH not change their mind once they saw the trains running as I recall reading somewhere and also what slope is the station site on? I know the tunnel in on a quite steep gradient.

 

Right, now I am off for a cup of tea or ten.

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This might be of interest, especially to those who might have served with S&T or have an interest in Signalling. Not a view normally available at this angle, again from the cab of DR73950. This is Kilo Charlie two two, the Kingscote Down Home, a three aspect colour light signal, with a dual route indicator and what appears to be a shunt dummy under the main signal head.....although I am willing to stand corrected by S&T if I’ve got that wrong. This is at 15M 38Ch. 
 

0D5C2D36-5848-42E6-8E71-09FF92E79E3A.jpeg.bf071fb4c4a0da7a314b14a5eec44f78.jpeg
 

198160D1-0ECF-4005-A489-C047FC23F28D.jpeg.6eaca6d314c0b2df555d9f487497ea8a.jpeg

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On 24/02/2021 at 16:17, The Evil Bus Driver said:

To me, as someone who supports any new railway (and therefore I fully BML2, I don't trust East Sussex County Council though) I reckon Ardingly would make sense in the same way as the GCR's Mountsorrel branch makes sense in that it is seen as a separate attraction, an industrial line as opposed to the main line passenger railway.

The Lavender line would need a new home, is about the right length and a lot of it is laid in flat bottom rail on concrete sleepers, as is most of the Spa Valley railway iirc. An Ardingly to HK shuttle could work as a separate line linking the two railways. plus isn't there a bus that passes the station at Ardingly? The Bluebell can't now be the first preserved railway to have a secondary branch line, nor can it be the first to link to another preserved line, but it can and does build the lines it has to an excellent standard as we've seen from all the pictures from R A Salmon, Tony Sullivan (Is he the Tony that works in the Carriage & Wagon workshop?), The Bartons, Grizz and all the others I don't know of. Keep at it guys you're all awesome!

 

A long way in the future though and the Bluebell was absolutely right to secure the trackbed from adverse development. I just hope to see it in my lifetime (I'm 40)

 

As an aside could a new West Hoathly station be built as an 'accountancy rebuild'? Might be stretching it a bit but with a bit of 're-pointing' and 'resurfacing' you'd have two perfectly serviceable platforms. Did the residents of WH not change their mind once they saw the trains running as I recall reading somewhere and also what slope is the station site on? I know the tunnel in on a quite steep gradient.

 

Right, now I am off for a cup of tea or ten.

The major cost of the Ardingly is the replacement of the viaduct, along with renewing formation and ballast.  In the same way as the Bluebell's not using second-hand rail to relay the main running line, it wouldn't be used on the Ardingly either.   Ardingly station site is a mile and a half from the village and the Bus stop, and more importantly several hundred feet vertically!  The station site is not available to the Bluebell, since it's a busy aggregates terminal. If the Bluebell ran there it would be to a minimal station in the cutting on the other side of Avins Bridge from the original.  It would be nice to do so, but making a business case for it is a non-starter, so it has to be for preservation reasons.  Yes, the Bluebell's aim all along is to retain the option for the future.
Tony Sullivan is not C&W, but involved with the locos and particularly fundraising for the 2MT.
West Hoathly station would need new planning permission; the old station platform was on a slight gradient which would not be allowed now, but can be dealtwith that fairly easily.  Re-opening it was specifically excluded from the permission granted after the public enquiry in the 1980s.  The main problem might still be the local residents not wishing to be swamped by cars from visitors, which is why planning permission was refused back in the 1970s.  A local consultation, to find out what the level of support/opposition is, would be the first step.  It's in the long term plan to investigate the potential, but is not a high priority since it adds capital cost, long-term running costs and additional draw on volunteer staffing, for no substantial (if any) financial benefit.

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37 minutes ago, Grizz said:

This is what happens when you don’t pin your track down securely to your base board.....someone comes along and pinches it! :laugh_mini:


D18C4960-418E-42EA-9E84-DACB2C9A52DD.jpeg.6afaad39dcc97c55f84ea4b5ae3c7204.jpeg

 

481F05A7-F66E-49D0-9448-4EAEAE26CE86.jpeg.823ff11d6a0972d10251aef51cd31b2b.jpeg

 

Without context, those images could be taken for an alternate-reality 1960...

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11 minutes ago, andyman7 said:

Without context, those images could be taken for an alternate-reality 1960...


It’s funny you should say that Andyman7, those were my very thoughts when I took the photos. How often have we seen photos from the 1960s, with ballast beds devoid of track. 

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Rock in pond time.....

 

E4 in IEG......but with original boiler. But our E4 has a larger later boiler and smoke box, different safety valve arrangement and ..chimney?. However the same principle is already there. Stepney is an A1X so IEG is not prototypical on that loco either. Or is this yet another case of preserving preservation.....

 

Having lobbed that rock I am now off to work. Have a good one all! 
 

0B183ED2-AF7F-40ED-A1BF-D1FF0673DDF7.jpeg.d74849e53a45fcb19801d26a7bad5258.jpeg

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Well, here's the real thing; Birch Grove was one that had the spring balance safety valves on the dome rather than the direct loaded valves seen on Porchester.  It originally carried Stroudley Goods Green (now there's a livery yet to be carried by any loco in preservation).   It currently carries the very boiler fitted to it in 1912, these were the Marsh I1 design.  I don't think they were much different in size from the originals (the dome is larger, and of course the different safety valves), so just changing the smokebox and saddle, like Fenchurch, would probably suffice.  Or build an I1 around its boiler, and a new boiler for BG ;-)
image.png.d51bbdac760fb9e43c3ec936f211e49d.png

And it's current condition, for comparison (photo by the late Dave Phillips):


 

bg_davep_jan10h.jpg

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I'm sorry to say it, but a replica Marsh Atlantic tank would seem a much more economical and versatile loco for the heritage sector than a full-blown H1 or H2. But I suspect it lacks the glamour needed to attract funds, and I am quite sure such funds will anyway be in shorter supply in the coming years, as life gets back to some sort of new-normal. . 

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