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Christmas 2015
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cherry_p



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 1876
Location: Solihull

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today's total is 25169 [78% of total Santa Special + Herald]
Same week last year was 21726 [67%].
So figures continuing to look good.
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mrmover



Joined: 31 Jan 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cherry_p wrote:
Today's total is 25169 [78% of total Santa Special + Herald]
Same week last year was 21726 [67%].
So figures continuing to look good.


Is there any way of increasing the capacity in view of the demand? Additional trains, additional dates, additional carriages? It seems a pity if we cannot capitalise on a business opportunity that presents itself to us.
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oliver



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Bridgnorth

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is there any way of increasing the capacity in view of the demand? Additional trains, additional dates, additional carriages? It seems a pity if we cannot capitalise on a business opportunity that presents itself to us.

We have this debate on here every year and the answer is that the operation cannot be increased/expanded due to the operational restrictions of the railway (line already at max capacity), demand on staff (often the same staff), and logistical issues such as getting people through the grottos swiftly enough without there being total chaos. Don't forget that the trains are already running with 8 coaches and there is one train every 45 minutes arriving at Arley and that is alot of people. Any more and Arley would be overwhelmed. My view is that the santa operation works and does not need changing.
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mrmover



Joined: 31 Jan 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oliver wrote:
Quote:
Is there any way of increasing the capacity in view of the demand? Additional trains, additional dates, additional carriages? It seems a pity if we cannot capitalise on a business opportunity that presents itself to us.

We have this debate on here every year and the answer is that the operation cannot be increased/expanded due to the operational restrictions of the railway (line already at max capacity), demand on staff (often the same staff), and logistical issues such as getting people through the grottos swiftly enough without there being total chaos. Don't forget that the trains are already running with 8 coaches and there is one train every 45 minutes arriving at Arley and that is alot of people. Any more and Arley would be overwhelmed. My view is that the santa operation works and does not need changing.


Yes, I fully appreciate that capacities have been reached with our current operation, but there could be scope to soak up some of the additional demand by running a similar service from Bridgnorth to Highley. Yes, of course I appreciate that it takes additional resources in terms of locos, stock and most importantly manpower, but the line is not at capacity at the northern end. It might be a matter of making it a more commercial operation, with, heaven forbid, seasonal paid staff to carry out some of the roles. Just a thought, that I know others have also expressed in the past
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hearn_p



Joined: 15 Nov 2003
Posts: 5744
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further differential pricing of some of the trains is the other issue that comes up each year.

The morning is sold out already, for example, suggesting the public value those trains more.

Patrick
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cherry_p



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 1876
Location: Solihull

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please forget any ideas of running Santa off Bridgnorth; it wouldn't work as well as the existing operation to Arley; and as we say every year when people ask about doing so, where are you going to get the extra locos, coaches and in particular, people from? Bear in mind that the Grotto operation at Arley is organised, and largely run, by people who work at Bridgnorth the rest of the year.
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Danny252



Joined: 01 Oct 2009
Posts: 1171

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cherry_p wrote:
Where are you going to get the extra locos, coaches and in particular, people from?


Especially considering that the SVR has had to hire in locos for several years just to run the current service...
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P Thornhill



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One way of increasing capacity would be to run an extra weekend maybe?I've noticed several other railways are using the last weekend of November for Santa Specials this year.
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KJEvans



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

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

P Thornhill wrote:
One way of increasing capacity would be to run an extra weekend maybe?I've noticed several other railways are using the last weekend of November for Santa Specials this year.

Is it too early though? In previous years I'm sure there have been spaces on the first weekend (maybe going back a few now).
Next year Christmas eve is a Saturday while in 2017 it is a Sunday giving 4 full weekends in December for Santa Specials so 8 days vs this year's 7. That would give us an extra 4475 seats assuming it is a full 13 departure day.
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GWR=Gresley Was Right...to learn from the Great Western
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cherry_p



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 1876
Location: Solihull

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

P Thornhill wrote:
One way of increasing capacity would be to run an extra weekend maybe?I've noticed several other railways are using the last weekend of November for Santa Specials this year.
This has been considered before, and the reaction at the time is that it's too early, and although some people wouuld be prepared to come, we wouldn't get enough to make it worthwhile. The one difference now is the way we vary the fare between successive weekends, which is a big help in filling the earlier days, but how far would you need to drop the fare for the end of Nov to make it worthwhile? I'm sure the matter will be discussed again in the debrief meetings.
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cherry_p



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 1876
Location: Solihull

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cherry_p wrote:
P Thornhill wrote:
One way of increasing capacity would be to run an extra weekend maybe?I've noticed several other railways are using the last weekend of November for Santa Specials this year.
This has been considered before, and the reaction at the time was that it's too early, and although some people would be prepared to come, we wouldn't get enough to make it worthwhile. The one difference now is the way we vary the fare between successive weekends, which is a big help in filling the earlier days, but how far would you need to drop the fare for the end of Nov to make it worthwhile? I'm sure the matter will be discussed again in the debrief meetings.
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KJEvans



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

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today's update gives Santa Specials as 55 full and 10 limited availability (out of 89). 1 Santa Herald is full with 3 limited availability (out of 6) and both carol trains are full.
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GWR=Gresley Was Right...to learn from the Great Western
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P Thornhill



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cherry_p wrote:
P Thornhill wrote:
One way of increasing capacity would be to run an extra weekend maybe?I've noticed several other railways are using the last weekend of November for Santa Specials this year.
This has been considered before, and the reaction at the time is that it's too early, and although some people wouuld be prepared to come, we wouldn't get enough to make it worthwhile. The one difference now is the way we vary the fare between successive weekends, which is a big help in filling the earlier days, but how far would you need to drop the fare for the end of Nov to make it worthwhile? I'm sure the matter will be discussed again in the debrief meetings.


Yes I did wonder when I mentioned it tbh. I guess the problem as you say is that although supply outstrips demand in the later weekends but you cannot get enough of them to transfer to the earlier weekends to make it worthwhile, shame really as if they did that would be the easy answer! As I said before it was just a thought as I noticed seemingly more than usual starting with the last weekend of November although I too do question if it was too early (Although saying that I am sure that about 20 years ago there used to be SVR Santas in the last week of November or have I imagined that?).

I discounted my other idea to increase capacity by turning over the Santa heralds to the grotto operation. I imagine that the railway would do that if they could cover all the staffing needs which I can remember you saying could be challenging enough with just the weekends (+ Xmas Eve) let alone midweek dates to cover as well.

Still I suppose it isn't the worst problem to have. Much better to have to much demand than none at all.
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mrmover



Joined: 31 Jan 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Shropshire

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether we like it or not, Christmas is stating earlier and earlier. The big retail stores have all been showing their Christmas adverts on TV since the beginning of November. John Lewis, Boots, M&S all released their Big Production Numbers last night. Black Friday is in November, so why not capitalise on the early availability of a captive market. The last week in November, discounted tickets, extra bums on seats. So those people might otherwise have travelled in December at a higher cost - well it seems as if the tickets could be sold to others who might otherwise be disappointed.
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BigBobby61



Joined: 01 Jun 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Birmingham

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I ask mrmover, do you actually know what the operation at Arley consists of and do you volunteer in any way to it? A couple of our members work every weekend from the beginning of October to Xmas Eve, most of the others volunteers involved with the set up also work most weekends. We are only a small group and there is a lot involved so any other extra workings would probably turn the few volunteers we have got away, certainly I would have to think twice before offering my services again.
So mrmover, please feel free to offer your services to help run this very profitable event, I'm sure you will be welcomed. Kidderminster are always in need of people to set Xmas up, due to the Remembrance Day Service, they have to delay the set up then rush to get it finished.
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