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Passenger Numbers: 2014 onwards
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Peter Share



Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 312
Location: W'hampton

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:47 pm    Post subject: Passenger numbers/Suggestions Reply with quote

Occasional variations or additions to services will always be an attraction.
The "Stourport - Wribbenhall loop trains with side by side running (which unfortunately I missed) were a prime example. Calling at Eardington is another, providing the correct loco and coaches are used (I understand it is a heavy pull from a stand northwards from Eardington.
What about timetabling a nonstop run on suitable occasions?
It only needs a little imagination. If it is not achievable from an operating point of view, a polite explanation is acceptable to most people.
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Bryan Clarke



Joined: 12 Jan 2011
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Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter. Be careful not to fall into the trap of believing all the unfounded rumours. This is yet another of the endemic head winds encountered when trying to make forward progress or change on the railway, excuse the pun. The example given was not for 8 coach trains, but something more becoming, different, in keeping and 'local'. There is indeed a heavy pull away from Eardington - but there are equally or even more demanding standing starts from several other stations, two with the added problem of curves, and one with check rails. I don't have footplate experience, but observations from line walking strongly suggest this to be the case. Before the all important question of length is raised - I have graciously donated towards one solitary platform brick, and will certainly sponsor many more in the future. Length is not a long term problem.

Your general comments however should be welcomed. A little variety and excitement in life is a good for business, and for everyone involved in the railway !
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Stato



Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Posts: 547
Location: Here there & everywhere

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bryan Clarke wrote:
My take, for what it's worth is that although 250.000 paying passengers might seem a long way off, it's clearly not impossible as we have been there before.


What a great thought. Lets get distributing those timetables everywhere. Spread the word!
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Peter Share



Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 312
Location: W'hampton

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:33 pm    Post subject: Eardington Reply with quote

Bryan

IfI gave the impression that I was meaning (say) 2857 on 8 stopping at Eardington, that was not the intention. Something like 7714 or 1501 or, in due course, 4150 on 3 was my thought.

Peter
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Simon G



Joined: 13 Jul 2007
Posts: 238
Location: Kidderminster

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How are passenger numbers calculated for those with an annual pass? If customer a used to previously travel on the railway 6 times a year they would have been counted 6 times, but if you count the annual pass as one, then you lose x number of passengers per pass.

Or is there an average figure used?
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KJEvans



Joined: 08 Feb 2010
Posts: 1245
Location: Kidderminster or Edinburgh

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon G wrote:
How are passenger numbers calculated for those with an annual pass? If customer a used to previously travel on the railway 6 times a year they would have been counted 6 times, but if you count the annual pass as one, then you lose x number of passengers per pass.

Or is there an average figure used?

I seem to remember being told/reading it was 8 for the year. Of this leads to possibility that the total figure is an underestimate of the true figure, which personally I think it is.
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Danny252



Joined: 01 Oct 2009
Posts: 1171

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KJEvans wrote:
Simon G wrote:
How are passenger numbers calculated for those with an annual pass? If customer a used to previously travel on the railway 6 times a year they would have been counted 6 times, but if you count the annual pass as one, then you lose x number of passengers per pass.

Or is there an average figure used?

I seem to remember being told/reading it was 8 for the year. Of this leads to possibility that the total figure is an underestimate of the true figure, which personally I think it is.


I recall reading that those in the offices were of a similar opinion, and that they were looking at generating a better estimate.
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Stato



Joined: 01 Jun 2005
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Location: Here there & everywhere

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stato wrote:
Bryan Clarke wrote:
My take, for what it's worth is that although 250.000 paying passengers might seem a long way off, it's clearly not impossible as we have been there before.


What a great thought. Lets get distributing those timetables everywhere. Spread the word!
The interweb is only 1 way of selling the SVR and I think it isnt reaching all of our likely visitors by a long way.

Still the best method by my reckoning is get the paper timetable out on the high street and to friends & work colleagues. If we all gave out 20 timetables this year (12000 members) thats up to some possible 240000 further visits. It aint rocket science just plain simple foot soldering and talking.

So how many timetables can you get out there?
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David McFall



Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 33
Location: Stourbridge

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am concerned to chase passenger numbers as a measure . I have several non enthusiast friends who use the railway .

They find it expensive and difficult to afford. One family live in kidder and use a pass .they use the line every week to bring their enthusiastic young lad on the train. They arrive with packaged supplies organised to save money and who really can blame them.

Anyone buying these tickets must first do a calculation of savings before buying. Passenger numbers stop therefore being relevant .

What I really find is that we match coaches to passenger numbers really well and that a lot of our trains are full. I wonder how many of our casual visitors would list this as a negative. Having paid for your yearly trip on the SVR to struggle to find a seat as I now see more often must reduce our return custom

I know I would be unhappy if I had paid for a family and was unable to sit comfortablly .A lot of research is needed . Where have we lost passengers from ? Weekdays when our service doesn't give enough flexibility , running the DMU as a full service train would help with this and continuing to Bridgnorh does help . we stopit at Bridgnorth were the driver and gaurd have to sit around ? Best use ?

Maybe weekends when I think we used to run more trains.

We need to answer some of these first perhaps the ticket system could be used to survey customers by email for feed back ?


I know this all costs and there are no easy answers. I have often thought I would except a well presented deisel train in a busy timetable to allow me to use the service better rather than have steam only and have to long to wait at each station . . It may also draw more volunteers to staff these trains from other age groups ..






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michaelh



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 919
Location: Droitwich Spa

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bryan Clarke wrote:
My take, for what it's worth is that although 250.000 paying passengers might seem a long way off, it's clearly not impossible as we have been there before. Something to aspire to is never a bad thing.




The bottom line is that numbers HAVE to increase to make the railway viable and to be able to invest in the future. Bumping along the bottom should not be seen as acceptable by those in charge. If these increases can not be achieved by increasing normal service numbers, other options should be considered.

I'll get my hat !


Perhaps the question is - What has changed since the days of 250,000?
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J-Green



Joined: 17 May 2010
Posts: 807
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An international recession, the longest fall in wages' value in real terms in several decades...?

And before anyone says that 2008/9 were years of recession, well, it really started biting 2010 onwards for most people - and that's when the numbers started to fall. The SVR by my understanding depends largely on daytrippers rather than people holidaying in the locale, and it would appear that day-trips have succumbed to people's budget management. Railways depending on local holiday makers on the other hand, including the Swanage have done very well, presumably because of people choosing to holiday in the UK rather than abroad as a cost-saving exercise.

So whilst there is always room for improvement in marketing, advertising and so on, perhaps we ought to acknowledge that there are large scale outside factors impacting on visitor numbers - numbers that perhaps are largely meaningless in these days of 'added spend'.

Regarding the suggestions made, we as enthusiasts must exercise caution in presenting attractive opportunities and experiences to us as attractive in the wider market. A non-stop train? An irritation for the walker. An Eardington stop? There's very little to do in Eardington.

The suggestion for timetable alteration has more potential, but perhaps the railway is waiting on the development at Bridgnorth including the enlarged and uprated car park before endeavouring to attract too many people to there as the start of their day out.
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michaelh



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
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Location: Droitwich Spa

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clearly the recession will have had it's effects - it would be interesting to see how other local paid for attractions (not just railways) have done. I think I remember seeing somewhere that the Safari Park was doing well?

It will be interesting to see if the fuel price reductions have much effect on numbers.
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Knotty



Joined: 07 Apr 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Kidderminster

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stato wrote:

Quote:
The interweb is only 1 way of selling the SVR and I think it isnt reaching all of our likely visitors by a long way.


I was at Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford on Avon today, in the visitors centre there was a "what's on" display,where I picked up a Didcot Railway Centre 2015 timetable. As Shakespeare's birthplace is a major UK tourist attraction centre is this an advertising opportunity not to be missed?

John
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Bryan Clarke



Joined: 12 Jan 2011
Posts: 209
Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting post from David McFall.

A similar experience was the reason for my original post, which included a comment about the timetable. We live in Bridgnorth, and have many visitors during the year, none of whom are 'railway enthusiasts'. Our last invite to four guests for a ride down the Valley ended up being rather embarrassing, and certainly our last. We booked a return Highley. On arriving at Highley an engine house visit and a coffee were suggested. On seeing the entry price, our four visitors said they thought it was too expensive - they had little interest in seeing loco's at the price advertised. So we adjourned to the Ship for a bite to eat and a drink. The cost per person of the food being somewhat similar to that of the engine house entry charge. This change in plan resulted in us missing our expected return train. As a result we spent a wet and windy 90 minutes stuck on the platform at Highley, the station being deserted. As you can imagine the comments about the railway were not complimentary. I spent the time of the conversation staring at 'that fence' for the whole wet and windy 90 minutes.

Since this unfortunate experience we have never invited guests to travel on the railway. A rough guess of lost custom is 20 - 30 seats a year plus additional spend. If Dave and I are just two of many with similar experiences, then lost revenue will be considerable.

This particular experience has nothing to do with the recession, although I am sure that event has had some impact on passenger numbers. The point I am trying to get across is that the current timetable at certain times of the year or week is not customer friendly to many of our passengers.

On the additional points of attracting new passengers by offering something a little different or collaboration with venues close to the railway, I notice there is little consensus. A shame, but one can but offer ideas in the hope that someone with vision, might just see some merit.
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P Thornhill



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bryan Clarke wrote:
. We booked a return Highley. On arriving at Highley an engine house visit and a coffee were suggested. On seeing the entry price, our four visitors said they thought it was too expensive - they had little interest in seeing loco's at the price advertised..


The interesting thing here using the current fares is that BN - HY with (Paid) admission to the Engine House (13.00 rail fare plus 6.00 EH admission) means it works out exactly the cost of the freedom of the line ticket which is 19.00 this year.

I must admit I have never really looked at the shorter journeys in detail before as I always buy full line tickets but when you realise the cost is the same it does make the shorter trip with a trip into the Engine House seem poor value for money, I do wonder if it would be better if the Engine House was free with all travel tickets or maybe included BN or KR to HY as once you take the 6.00 admission fee off the freedom of the line both rail fares come to 13.00. Hopefully the increase patronage from free admission would lead to increase takings in the Cafe and shop to cover any current sales of EH admission income (does anybody have any figures on how many visitors it gets and what percentage have actually paid an entrance fee as opposed to freedom of the line tickets?). If the answer is not many then maybe it is something to consider.

In the situation Bryan posted, if the Engine House was included in the fare most of that wouldn't of happened and they would of come away happier (hopefully!). I understand that the main business is in selling freedom of the line tickets and of course they should be the core, but at the same time, that is not a reason not to try and catch some of those who for whatever reason cannot make a full line trip, at the moment I can see for the casual customer that the Engine house entry fee can come across as quite negative as you've paid the fare for the train trip which is the main reason to visit and then find out you have to pay nearly 50% of the rail fare again to get into a side attraction.

Now in this case not only did the people Bryan brought to the railway go away feeling unhappy but they also ended up taking their money off the railway and going elsewhere to eat when originally that money was going to be spent on the railway.
Think about a family of 4 spending 7.50 a head in the cafe, get 10 families visiting the cafe who wouldn't of before and that's 300 in sales.

As I said earlier in this post maybe something to think about.
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