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Pacific Power: 22 to 26 September 2016 (replaced ASG)
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Sheila K



Joined: 30 Nov 2012
Posts: 39
Location: Wolverhampton

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are correct. Peppa Pig weekends would be avoided by enthusiasts. I once came to a Thomas Weekend - never again. Santa specials are held in the run up to Xmas, and YES I have travelled on one of those in the past with my nephew and niece, and found it very well run. However, none of theses events are held on a weekend that should have been an ASG, for enthusiasts!
Perhaps when all revenue from catering, shops, etc. is counted up, and not just numbers travelling who bought tickets, the Railway will have made a big profit, and if so I am very pleased. I don't travel on the Severn Valley Limited, because I personally find it too commercial, but love eating on the Venturer, which is run by enthusiasts.
I repeat, that this is a forum ( or should be) for people who care about the SVR, and we should all be able to voice an opinion.
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Sheila K, Wolverhampton
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hearn_p



Joined: 15 Nov 2003
Posts: 5713
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe2027 wrote:
Fifteen thousand visitors may be a pyrrhic victory, when this event has caused some loyal members like myself to stay away. IMHO, most of the people that visited to travel behind and see the FS are fans of the FS, NOT of the SVR.

The FS fans either travelled behind Tornado and then switched trains to travel behind the FS, or vice versa. After that, they probably went home.

Will the FS fans come to visit the SVR? Most probably not, as they are infatuated by the FS and only the FS. The FS is like a pop star or a premier league footballer to them


Simply, none of us can yet know, it's guesswork. "Fifteen thousand visitors may be a pyrrhic victory" doesn't however to me make it sound like you want to be hopeful it is a success.

I can give some anecdotal evidence. I have spent six days helping on the social media side. with huge interest. 654 FB page views in the last six hours, 125k engagements in the last week. There have been many compliments and several promising to come back to explore further.

There has been much handwringing on this forum over passenger numbers in recent years, yet here is an event which is opening up the SVR to literally thousands of new visitors, with the potential for revisits. And we have their details to market to them.

In terms of additional sales, the GM said this week they were going well with a sell out of merchandise on the cards.

There have been some enthusiasts repeating they missed the traditional ASG in various forms, countered by others saying there are clear reasons why. It's in the 2017 Timetable.

Patrick
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Sheila K



Joined: 30 Nov 2012
Posts: 39
Location: Wolverhampton

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 2016 ASG was in the timetable, until it wasn't !
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Sheila K, Wolverhampton
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Graham



Joined: 21 May 2011
Posts: 921
Location: The banks of the River Severn as it meanders through the sun dappled leafy glades of Worcestershire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...we should all be able to voice an opinion

I don't know why you are reiterating this point as if you somehow feel you are being prevented from doing so, although it does seem to me that those who are complaining don't have a specific opinion on what should have been done differently, just a vague feeling of dissatisfaction.
What do you think should have been done differently?

The only genuine legitimate criticism I have seen is that of people being turned away at Kidderminster when there were actually seats available.
This must have been particularly frustrating for those who wanted to ride on a train, then had to settle for watching from the lineside as they were told it was full, only to see it go past with empty seats.
This may have been a misunderstanding between platform and ticket office staff, or an inability to adapt a fixed plan to changing circumstances, or it may have been deliberate to save seats for the crowds expected to board at Bewdley who never materialised. I'd be interested to know, but then it's not so important to me that I can be bothered to ask via the official channels.
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Graham Phillips
Acting deputy assistant junior under minion, Bewdley Wagon Department.
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Graham



Joined: 21 May 2011
Posts: 921
Location: The banks of the River Severn as it meanders through the sun dappled leafy glades of Worcestershire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...654 FB page views in the last six hours, 125k engagements in the last week...

Add to that all the TV and press coverage.
If you think hiring The Scottish Engine for a day is expensive, try buying a 30 second advertising slot on early evening TV.
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Graham Phillips
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Derby4



Joined: 21 Mar 2009
Posts: 1742

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To some extent Sheila has a point, the enthusiasts' highlight of the SVR's year--the ASG--was dropped in favour of an essentially non-enthusiast event, but as others have said, this was an opportunity that simply could not be turned down, and getting back to reality hopefully has put some cash in the coffers for the day to day expenditure on loco overhauls, infrastructure repairs and renewals and all the other things on the big shopping list on the GM's desk.
It is a fact, sadly, that the SVR cannot rely just on enthusiasts travelling and spending to keep the railway as a going concern, we do need non-enthusiast events, Thomas, Peppa, and others, to supplement revenue. Look at our mid-week trains, how many enthusiasts travel versus ordinary public, coach parties and the like?

Some might wonder if the SVR is moving too far in a particular direction, but be that as it may, lets hope for a return to normality next year, with a good balance between enthusiast and non-enthusiast events, It is in fairness a fine dividing line.

Clearly from the GM's comments this event has been a success in passenger numbers, and hopefully revenue-wise. The only issue that perhaps needs looking at in the management debrief is why more tickets were not sold for the non-Scotsman trains when clearly these trains ran on some days with spare capacity.

Well earned breather for the volunteers before Santa arrives!!

Rob


Last edited by Derby4 on Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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mrmover



Joined: 31 Jan 2007
Posts: 868
Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derby4 wrote:

Well earned breather for the volunteers before Santa arrives!!

Rob


Which in itself is a non-enthusiast event. Like it or not, without these events the Railway simply will not exist, or at least not in anything likes it's current form.
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Doune1965
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone who has just spent 4 out of the 6 days working hard on the lineside patrols and at Bridgnorth I found it a nicer atmosphere than a normal gala, very hard work, however the passengers many of whom had not visited before made the point they would be back again, so hopefully lots of new supporters. As gets said often in other threads we have got to get to new people, well the last six days saw that in spades.

It really does frustrate me that rather than saying well done on carrying 15,000 some just want to go back over the same ground. We did that when it happened. Many of us may not have looked forward to it, but we have worked really hard to make a success of it.

At no other event I have seen in over 20 years have I seen paid and volunteer staff working up and down the line together for 6 days on the trot. The staff from the offices at Kidderminster were all out working on the line helping with the event.

It seemed our visitors were very grateful for all the help rather than some I have come into contact at previous gala's who appeared to expect everything.

Now please can we look forwards to November and Santa operations, rather than looking like a veiled attack on the army of volunteers and staff who have all worked very hard.
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michaelh



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

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doune1965 wrote:
As someone who has just spent 4 out of the 6 days working hard on the lineside patrols and at Bridgnorth I found it a nicer atmosphere than a normal gala, very hard work, however the passengers many of whom had not visited before made the point they would be back again, so hopefully lots of new supporters. As gets said often in other threads we have got to get to new people, well the last six days saw that in spades.

It really does frustrate me that rather than saying well done on carrying 15,000 some just want to go back over the same ground. We did that when it happened. Many of us may not have looked forward to it, but we have worked really hard to make a success of it.

At no other event I have seen in over 20 years have I seen paid and volunteer staff working up and down the line together for 6 days on the trot. The staff from the offices at Kidderminster were all out working on the line helping with the event.

It seemed our visitors were very grateful for all the help rather than some I have come into contact at previous gala's who appeared to expect everything.

Now please can we look forwards to November and Santa operations, rather than looking like a veiled attack on the army of volunteers and staff who have all worked very hard.


Well said! I spent several days volunteering - preparation/event itself and everyone I came into contact with enjoyed it - both passengers (who had paid premium fares) and the volunteers and staff who worked extra long hours to make the event a success.
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Michael Howard
Heritage Railways supporter since 1968
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hearn_p



Joined: 15 Nov 2003
Posts: 5713
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheila K wrote:
The 2016 ASG was in the timetable, until it wasn't !


True, so we won't know until September 25th 2017 if it has taken place. I. for one, am not going to spend a year quibbling over whether it will when the Railway has said it will take place and there's nothing to suggest it won't.

Patrick
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hearn_p



Joined: 15 Nov 2003
Posts: 5713
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham wrote:


The only genuine legitimate criticism I have seen is that of people being turned away at Kidderminster when there were actually seats available.
This must have been particularly frustrating for those who wanted to ride on a train, then had to settle for watching from the lineside as they were told it was full, only to see it go past with empty seats.
This may have been a misunderstanding between platform and ticket office staff, or an inability to adapt a fixed plan to changing circumstances, or it may have been deliberate to save seats for the crowds expected to board at Bewdley who never materialised. I'd be interested to know, but then it's not so important to me that I can be bothered to ask via the official channels.


Agreed, with some small caveats.

I suspect "seats on the train" wasn't the pinch point. I think that having more people on the trains has more people on the [in use] station platforms, such as Highley Bewdley and Bridgnorth P2 where there is potential for crush loading.

Secondly there was some flexibility:

Quote:
We sold further non-Flying Scotsman/Tornado train tickets from Thursday to Monday during the event


and the daily debriefs showed it. I'm not sure how much was local flexibility (stations deciding themselves), nor whether there was enough flexibility.

There were apparent inconsistencies with messages both during the event ("no travel tickets on sale") and in advance ("don't come unless you have a ticket").

But none of this suggests the event was other than successful, well planned and well managed. I can envisage possible reasons for all these points, and I'm sure the review will cover them and others. Like Graham it would be nice to have feedback.

Patrick
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Derby4



Joined: 21 Mar 2009
Posts: 1742

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seen on another forum, there is to be a TV programme towards Christmas featuring a one-hour real-time journey on FS from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, along the lines of the previously shown sleigh ride, canal boat journey and more recently the country bus through the Yorkshire Dales.
Hope the SVR are eventually able to sell a DVD in conjunction with the BBC, -it should be a winner.
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Graham



Joined: 21 May 2011
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Location: The banks of the River Severn as it meanders through the sun dappled leafy glades of Worcestershire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having thought about the empty seat problem a bit more, if Kidderminster sold enough return tickets to fill every train leaving Kidderminster, then every train returning to Kidderminster would also have to be full. As soon as Bridgnorth start selling return tickets, or Kidderminster passengers decide not to get the next available return train, the later trains become overfull.
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Sam aka Corn



Joined: 05 Feb 2013
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree with the ASG being turned into a wholly "non enthusiast event" because as a railway enthusiast (and working member) I came to see the sole surviving Gresley A3 and an 8 year old Peppercorn A1 haul the longest Gresley varnished teak set of coaches seen since the 1940s. But there was also a significant number of people who just wanted to see the most famous steam locomotive in the world.

This event had to cater to both crowds and I think it achieved this reasonably well, there were empty seats on the non FS services but this was probably due to an expectation of "gala passengers" who constantly change trains and spend all day doing so, rather than more casual passengers. Overall an event that brings 15000 people to the railway can't be a bad thing !
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Sam Blacktop

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hearn_p



Joined: 15 Nov 2003
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kidderminster Shuttle September 27th

Quote:
More than 15,000 tickets were sold and an estimated 30,000 extra spectators visited during a six-day period


Patrick
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