Crisis in Carriage and Wagon

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Levisham Signal Box Lever Frame - Photo courtesy J H Warr
Hiring of 2-car Class 101 DMU

There has been much discussion this week on the Plc Boards Decision to hire in a 2-car DMU (as reported in my post last week). The reason given (for the hiring) is to provide some certainty in the provision of warm trains in the Autumn and winter and to be sure that adequate lighting of passenger compartments can be provided. The discussion has centered around why we are hiring in a unit when we already own a 3-car unit that is parked in a siding at Grosmont awaiting repairs.

Many people take the view that as we advertise ourselves as a Steam railway we should at all times aim to run steam trains. Indeed we have the ability to run a DMU sized steam train with No 29 and three coaches.

So what are the issues at play here? Well, we can trace most of the problem back to the capacity of our Carriage and Wagon Department to keep on top of the continuing deterioration of the Mk1 carriage stock. In simple terms the coaches are rusting away faster than we can repair them. As I understand it, our own 3-car DMU is mechanically fit but requires serious attention from C&W to bring the condition of the bodywork back to a state suitable for passenger use. As there is no spare capacity in C&W the work is still on the ‘to do’ list.

The DMU vehicles are not the only revenue earning vehicles that are awaiting attention. About 20 years ago the Pullmans were stripped for asbestos removal. One vehicle (Pullman Parlour Car ‘Garnet’) was left in a dismantled state and has been residing in the ‘long siding’ at Pickering ever since. Given the demand for our Pullman Dining services this vehicle, if fitted out as a Kitchen/Parlour car (similar to ‘Robin’), would be capable of earning the Railway over £40,000 per year.

So what are the future prospects? Well, the Board has recently given approval to the construction of a hardstanding outside the C&W workshop which, when completed, will increase the throughput of vehicles. In the longer term a team is quietly working on plans to develop a carriage storage shed at Pickering but this is not going to happen anytime soon as a site has to be agreed and grant funding applied for.

Much attention is devoted to the overhaul programme for steam engines but the position with passenger carrying vehicles is equally dire. The Railway should be considering (and perhaps is considering) interim measures such as contracting out some of the work, to reduce to number of vehicles out of service awaiting repairs and improving the general availability of carriages.

Locomotive 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’

As forecast in last weeks post, 60007 returned from Southall last Wednesday bringing some relief to the number of steam engines available for traffic. Yesterday, Sunday, saw the locomotive back in NYMR service.

Locomotive 45428 ‘Eric Treacy’

As with 60007 Black 5, 45428 also returned to active service last week bringing further relief to our hard-pressed staff at Grosmont MPD. Hopefully 76079 and the Q6 will also be available for the main holiday season.

Swinging Sixties Weekend

This last weekend was a gala weekend celebrating the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Live tribute bands were playing at both Levisham and Goathland with food and drink available, a special timetable in force and with some half decent weather everyone was able to have a good time. Appreciation needs to be shown to all the many unnamed people who work long hours behind the scenes to make this sort of event a success. In two weeks time it will be the ‘Seventies’ event - watch out!

AGM and Battersby Running

Next Saturday, 21st June is the Railways AGM which is to be held in the Memorial Hall at Pickering. Proceedings start at 09.45hrs when the Plc AGM will take place. This will be followed by the Trust AGM at 10.10hrs. After this, presentations from Steven Hogg (Financial Overview) and Phillip Benham (Review of 2013 and Forward Look) will precede a Question and Answer session which should be finished by 12.30hrs.

However for those who wish to travel on the Battersby excursion there is a choice of the 12.00hrs from Pickering for those wishing to do the whole run from Whitby to Battersby or the 13.00hrs from Pickering for the Grosmont to Battersby section.

Fish and Chip Specials - The Quayside Express

Last Friday saw the first day of the Quayside Express operating. This is a tie-up between the NYMR and the Quayside, the UK’s Fish and Chip Shop of the year 2014. Each Friday pre-booked passengers can sit in a reserved coach on the last train of the day from Whitby to Pickering and enjoy a Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas supper, all for £6.80 extra. Cutlery and condiments are provided. As the publicity says:
“Day trippers can take in the sea air, stroll along the beach and work up an appetite for a slap-up fish and chip dinner on the last train home!”

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