Rail Heritage Review - All Aboard! A fresh start for Transport Heritage in NSW

 
  Dover Chief Train Controller

Hi Everyone,

Today the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian released the Rail Heritage Review and has supported it's recommendations.

Rail Heritage has been very fortunate in the level of funding it's received in the last period, but as the report highlights there have been some pretty major shortcomings within the sector.

After scanning the report, I'm pretty happy that it 'tells it as it is' and gets to some home truths about the sector. It'll probably make some people feel uncomfortable about what is about to happen, but that comes with all change. I think that what's been recommended is needed and is a step in the right direction.

Have a read and a good think about the report. I think that, so long as we get behind it and actually want it to work, something really good could come out of this change. I hope that rail heritage will be strong when my kids are old enough to participate and am looking forward to the removal of the politics and issues that have dogged the sector of past.

The report and media release can be found here: http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/publications-reports/transport-heritage-report

Dover

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  SJB Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
After reading the report front to back, it seems an ideal way forward.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
What I've read so far is rather interesting. It will be interesting to see how much is actually implemented in the long run.
  7006 Locomotive Driver

It is a game changer with some groups like 3801 Limited not happy with this new direction. Will also mean that smaller groups can be associate members. It was interesting to note the new Transport Heritage NSW can take back items of heritage importance to the State that are now in private hands, where does that leave groups like DSRM?

The final result with all these changes will mean more Government control as well as funding for all rail heritage items. Transport Heritage NSW needs to apply for accreditation so it will be interesting to see if this will cover all the associate members as well?
  fernhill Chief Train Controller

I have only read the media release but.....
Funny wasn't that the same brief of the Office of Rail Heritage and we can see how they joined everyone's hands together. I always look forward to investment and recognition of volunteers but this is just moving the deck chairs.   What about some detail of how all these   volunteer groups are going to be helped and joined together because I doubt that there we be any better success unless a good solid charter of how and who and what the aims are.  Will there be some independence and some open way to discuss issues in a democratic way.

I feel a bit of detail would help because at the moment it sounds a bit like Scully's media release.  And look what that gave us
  fernhill Chief Train Controller

Sorry, I meant Watkins, not Scully's media release
They were changing so often back then
  fernhill Chief Train Controller

Read the report
Where's the rest of it?  Seems to be missing a lot of information and not quite sure how they got to the conclusions when it says it was looking at across the spectrum of rail heritage activities especially the; $$$ section, how the proposed model is anymore sustainable and inclusion of volunteers across the state.  
Also not sure if Puffing Billy can simply be transferred as a business model but an excellent one to study.
Keen to hear the experts analysis on a number of issues it says it is going to investigate but simply missing.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

I have only read the media release but.....
.........

I feel a bit of detail would help because at the moment it sounds a bit like Scully's media release.  And look what that gave us
fernhill

How ridiculous.  Only reading the media release then saying "not enough detail".

Read the whole 117 pages.  It is a fascinating read if you are truly interested in preservation.

3801 Ltd are the big losers.  But so are the Board of Directors of RTM who will all be spilled.

I agree with the findings and find it amazing, as a Victorian, to see that Thirlmere and mainline steam tours in NSW are currently being propped up to the tune of over $6 million per annum from the NSW Government.  The good side to it all is that this report ensures that an equivalent amount is to be given each year from now on, to all those who join the party.  That also includes Zig Zag, Lachlan Valley, Loftus Tram Museum and the Bus Museum.

All in all, a sensible approach.  Which makes me nervous that the fractured groups in NSW won't accept it.
  SJB Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I would hope that this report and its resulting implementation will act as a catalyst for healing old wounds between the various groups.
  fernhill Chief Train Controller

How ridiculous.  Only reading the media release then saying "not enough detail".

Read the whole 117 pages.  It is a fascinating read if you are truly interested in preservation.

3801 Ltd are the big losers.  But so are the Board of Directors of RTM who will all be spilled.

I agree with the findings and find it amazing, as a Victorian, to see that Thirlmere and mainline steam tours in NSW are currently being propped up to the tune of over $6 million per annum from the NSW Government.  The good side to it all is that this report ensures that an equivalent amount is to be given each year from now on, to all those who join the party.  That also includes Zig Zag, Lachlan Valley, Loftus Tram Museum and the Bus Museum.

All in all, a sensible approach.  Which makes me nervous that the fractured groups in NSW won't accept it.
DalyWaters
I have read the  report

There seems to be gaping holes in it

I suggest that we get the whole report to read and then make a judgement
  mccormickkennyg Beginner

Hi Everyone,

Today the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian released the Rail Heritage Review and has supported it's recommendations.

Rail Heritage has been very fortunate in the level of funding it's received in the last period, but as the report highlights there have been some pretty major shortcomings within the sector.

After scanning the report, I'm pretty happy that it 'tells it as it is' and gets to some home truths about the sector. It'll probably make some people feel uncomfortable about what is about to happen, but that comes with all change. I think that what's been recommended is needed and is a step in the right direction.

Have a read and a good think about the report. I think that, so long as we get behind it and actually want it to work, something really good could come out of this change. I hope that rail heritage will be strong when my kids are old enough to participate and am looking forward to the removal of the politics and issues that have dogged the sector of past.

The report and media release can be found here: http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/publications-reports/transport-heritage-report

Dover
Dover
Media coverage says it all

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/railing-against-the-sidetracking-of-history/story-e6frgczx-1226646324316
  c3526blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: in the cuckoos nest
Hi all,

I have not read all of the report but the sections that I have read leave me somewhat disappointed.  I have made the following observations:

1)  The so called independent report was arranged by the government.  The report has sat on the Minister’s desk for around twelve months.  Why has the report not been released during this time?  It appears as though there has been some severe massaging of the original report but who (apart from the authors) can say what these changes (if any) were.

2)  The report includes many spelling errors, errors of fact and inconsistencies.
Some examples are: -
a) On P35, Figure 8.  Did the Igloo really cost $33.0M?  Did the Thirlmere project only cost $0.2M?
b) On Page 37 both Dorrigo (DSRM) and Goulburn to Crookwell Heritage Railway (GCHR) are missing from the list, also Casino and NERI etc.

One would ask the question “Has anyone with knowledge of the Rail Heritage Sector (RHS) in NSW (or even Australia) proof read the report before it was released?”

3)  It is distressing to see that the forecast upgrade at Thirlmere ($15.0M) ended up costing $35.0M, an over expenditure of $20.0M or over 130%.

4)  The restoration of 3801 has been poorly managed and the public (and the RHS) has not been kept informed of the problems and delays.  One can read more about the boiler issues in the British magazines than we hear in Australia.

5)  The NSW Government will have to find many $M for the Broadmeadow precinct.  Here's hoping!

I shall finish reading the report and digest the remaining sections but I am definitely underwhelmed by the parts that I have read.

A quick summation appears to be that we will get a Super RTM (to be known as THNSW), but will this operate any differently from ORH as far as the “small” groups are concerned?  The group 3801 Ltd must be shell shocked as I haven’t heard anything from them, or is the volcano about to erupt?

The reviewers did a good job of listening to the heritage groups but is the (original) report what the government wanted to hear?

I see some significant opportunities for resource and information sharing between groups.  Hopefully fostering of this will be part of the charter of THNSW.

Happy hoping,

John

PS;  Welcome aboard for the busses and trams.  I hope that your journey ahead is a smoother one than the RHS has had over the last thirty years.
  mccormickkennyg Beginner

Sir Humphrey Appleby 's answer to 'Rail Heritage Review and recommendations'



(a) that it leaves important questions unanswered

(b) that much of the evidence is inconclusive

(c) that the figures are open to other interpretations

(d) that certain findings are contradictory

(e) that some of the main conclusions have been questioned


Points (a) to (d) are bound to be true.


In fact, all of these criticisms can be made of a report without even reading it.
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
Sir Humphrey Appleby 's answer to 'Rail Heritage Review and recommendations'



(a) that it leaves important questions unanswered

(b) that much of the evidence is inconclusive

(c) that the figures are open to other interpretations

(d) that certain findings are contradictory

(e) that some of the main conclusions have been questioned


Points (a) to (d) are bound to be true.


In fact, all of these criticisms can be made of a report without even reading it.

mccormickkennyg
You should be PM, if not treasurer!
  fernhill Chief Train Controller

This is what I found as well. Many mistakes, outcomes that are not backed up by content and not all the $$$$ ad up.
It seems to have been produced by spin doctors to get the desired outcome.

I respect the 3 independent authors but I dont know if this is their report. We may have to verify this with the authors directly.

Until then I do not think much has changed from the previous Government or may be Gladys is right and getting a straight response from Railcorp is - lets just say problematic for the moment.
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
OK now I've read the entire report, I can respond.

It's a game changer, that's for sure. Big time. A lot is said which I agree with, especially the recommendations at the end and the fact that unlike ORH, the new entity will be an accredited operator. Far too little is said about operators on their own right of way - in particular Zig Zag, in light of the enormously bright lights they point at Puffing Billy, Zig Zag easily being the NSW equivalent to that operation.

However I have big reservations about folding RTM into the new entity and giving that membership exclusive voting rights in the first few years.. They're trying to resolve the absolute septic tank that has become Trainworks, but I'm not sure that's how it should be done. Yes RTM has a large membership but that membership is very inactive and (in many cases, pardon the discrimination) rather senior. (There's a good chance a significant chunk of it has retirement homes on the address labels and that deleting deceased members off the list is an annual chore that takes weeks).

I would have preferred to see RHNSW incorporated separately but with the "individual members only" rule still applying - and then simply require everyone who wants to be part of it to join up separately from day one for a reasonable , say, $20 per year or something. Only then can we get a truly "fresh start". There should also be specific purpose of RHNSW to become the single accredited heritage (main line) operator in NSW, with ownership of the respective rolling stock staying with whatever group owns it now (well, maybe with the exception of resolving the 3801 issue).

Only in this way can a train genuinely consist of a run of locos and carriages owned by different owners but operated by a single crew. And only in this way can operations be made large enough to be able to suck in and train new crews and give them enough weekly runs to be able to qualify before they die.

The authors have certainly talked to everyone and presented a true picture of the scene in NSW as it stands. It's my opinion that it's too late, but I guess this is one of those times we'll just have to close our eyes, have faith and jump. And maybe make sure one's RTM membership is paid up.

ZM
  mccormickkennyg Beginner

Upon closer reading im not with the "Puffing Billy" is a heritage cash cow model

In 2012 Puffing Billy lost $200K!

http://pbps.puffingbilly.com.au/media/uploads/PBPS_Annual_Report_2012.pdf
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
It was interesting to note the new Transport Heritage NSW can take back items of heritage importance to the State  
7006
Nah not quite right there.

Under the new regime it simply means that groups that in order to receive a grant for funding, a vehicle need not necessarily be listed on the s137 register. That is in stark difference to the old ORH way of doing things.

I imagine the criteria for funding will change a lot too - they'll be looking at the outcome of the funding in regards to benefits to the public, not just benefits to heritage.

ZM
  Duffy Chief Commissioner

Location: ACT

However I have big reservations about folding RTM into the new entity and giving that membership exclusive voting rights in the first few years.. They're trying to resolve the absolute septic tank that has become Trainworks, but I'm not sure that's how it should be done. Yes RTM has a large membership but that membership is very inactive and (in many cases, pardon the discrimination) rather senior. (There's a good chance a significant chunk of it has retirement homes on the address labels and that deleting deceased members off the list is an annual chore that takes weeks).
zordmaker
Having seenmaintained the membership lists of one of the states other mainline operators, I can fairly safely say that this is not limited to the RTM, both in terms of participation and age.  Its an industry wide issue, hence why the report highlights as the 10th recommendation:
- A renewed effort to recruit younger members.
  Alonzo Trumbull Beginner

Location: Central Coast
It is a laudable goal to try and encourage young people to become involved in rail heritage organisations but let's not lose sight of just why it is that older members of the community form the bulk of members and active volunteers (not just in rail either). Older people have life experience, skills and knowledge that make them useful, they remember the "real" railway as something from their younger days and they want to celebrate and share what it was like with the younger generation who weren't as lucky (yet!). Perhaps even more importantly, people who have or are nearing retirement or those well short of that but whose kids have grown up and left home, have the time to give and very often are not restricted by the demands of work or other commitments and can make themselves available when full time workers just cannot.

Everyone with an interest and willingness to commit to our rail heritage should be welcomed by us all, with open arms and a willingness to assist, teach and also learn ourselves. Unfortunately I don't thin k it's something we do well.

I have been involved with rail heritage (in NSW) since the late 1960's, I began as a school kid and despite all the will in the world, by the time I got to my early 20s, other interests took over. In fact, it was already a bit of a struggle by late teens as nature took its course and a young man's fancy, etc, etc. Since then I've drifted in and out of the scene as sport, family, work and geographical limitations all imposed their restrictions and I've been involved with RTM, 3801 Ltd, PHM, ARHS and a few others and for quite a few years now I have been a loyal but increasingly dissatisfied RTM volunteer (those who know me would be shocked to hear what I have to say). I come from possibly the last generation when being an admitted rail fan doesn't send people scurrying for the DSM (the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, bible for the world of psychiatry), and so do many of my life long friends, but there really are only a few of these who stayed the distance without a break and there are many whose active involvement petered out in their 20s who never rekindled the flame, many more than those like me who left and came back.

However, I see a problem that is and has been growing in the rail heritage movement in NSW, and which is like some insidious disease, and it has to do with some, not all, but some of the younger people in our 'industry'. It is certainly a disorder which I believe afflicts RTM and it is also now emerging at PHM and I am told there have been outbreaks in other places as well. It's not limited to younger colleagues but they do seem to suffer a more virulent form. I refer to the tendency of some to see themselves as heritage rail wunderkind and possessing knowledge and skills far beyond that of mortal man (and it goes without saying, in fact even more so, far, far superior to women), especially if the mortal happens to be an "older" person or somebody who wasn't born with a copy of the Safe Working Catechism in their hand. The fact that these immortals gained their knowledge from "older" people in the first place seems to be forgotten. The symptoms of this disease are arrogance, rudeness and complete intolerance for others and the insecurity this masks is hidden behind the shield of entrenched cliques. The worst sufferers are also very good at blackmailing their organisations with threats to walk out and such like and in at least one instance have been able to create the ridiculous impression they are indispensable and they get away with it.

For too long now, cliques have ruled the day and they do so by some pretty obnoxious and nefarious means. I have not been hassled because I suppose I've been around long enough and the ring leaders think I'm on their side, but over the years I have seen many competent or potentially valuable and fine volunteers lost because of the disadvantage they suffer at the hands of the cliques. I have tried to raise the issue in the past but it's a bit like trench warfare without a helmet, raise your head above the parapet and you risk getting it shot off. I admit I've been too timid to speak out and I know I'm not alone.

This industry survives on Volunteers and the Report makes that clear. It will only prosper into the future if we build the volunteer workforce and treat them all properly and I don't think that occurs in some key areas. It's time for a clean-out, get rid of the cliques and those who abuse the privilege they have to work with our wonderful rail heritage. Right thinking people in the organisations know who the culprits are and they owe a duty to the whole movement to put a stop to this form of abuse and bullying. There is a very big hint in the report which recommends a job spill at RTM and open competition for jobs and the hint should be taken. At the very least it needs to be brought out into the open, no longer should it be the elephant in the room.

Unless the clique system can be broken once and for all, it doesn't matter what recruitment you engage in, you'll lose the best people because they won't tolerate the nonsense and childishness, they'll vote with their feet. The only way to do it is to have a clean out, we all know who the perpetrators are and
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
Alonzo,

Whilst tempted to tip a bucket on those supposedly narcissistic gen y millenials (raised by the saintly boomer generation...), I'm not convinced them younger folks are (wholly) deserving of criticism. Thanks to central bank policy making, feminism and socialist governments determined to redistribute wealth, the average man has never been so demurred. The dsm is a damnable influence of misandric thought, and likely to diagnose him with autistic tendencies. Can't have a man enjoying himself, after all, when he could be out there being a wealth producer, for the govt to steal from.

The typical young bloke has also had less opportunity to gain practical skills, when the feminised team-based education system has schooled him in useless learning, such as how to deconstruct the social impact of reality tv. As well as prescribing him legalised amphetamines for the crime of being a boy, with lifelong neurochemical implications.

As you say, preservation societies themselves have been slow to acknowledge the new reality. Many of us work two jobs, nights and weekends. And from talking to older rail fans in their sixties, preservation groups have always been highly politicised. Just suggest a different colour for a favourite locomotive, and watch the hackles rise. Given the politics of the average workplace, who needs to pursue that sort of conflict on a recreational basis?

I have every sympathy for the rail fan that clicks off a few photos, and walks away.

With the current wave of boomers retiring, this is as good an opportunity that preservation is likely to get to complete projects requiring volunteers. The demographics are not encouraging. The halcyon days of train interest groups at schools are long gone, young men interested in trains are labelled as foamers, losers or garage dwellers, and the choice of recreational activity with no commensurate censure is higher than ever. Try taking photos in view of rail staff, to see what I mean.

Add to that a highly regulated safety culture dictating the minutiae of such dangerous tasks as how to unfold a ladder, and its hello, static museums. The growth of a litigious culture and overregulation requiring public liability insurance and a paramedic for every carriage (well, joking, but not far off....) has not helped, either. Given these circumstances, the road to a static display is disappointing, yes, but not unsurprising.

So a review might be a positive thing, but IMHO it's just a re-arrangement of the deck chairs. Oh well. Let the beatings continue ...
  a6et Minister for Railways

Sometimes a huge amount of truth comes out in both the last two posts. Yet, on one side we have the put down of the oldies who worked on the railways in the old days, but are told they don't really know what they are saying owing to the order of senility that arises in the minds of those who are young enough to know it all.  That is counter balanced by saying that with the baby boomers retiring they now have time on their hands to go out & get involved, in other words do the tough & dirty work but, their other practical skills that include the teaching side of things is pushed aside by the new generations of text book knowledge or some ramblings by a person who sat lineside studying linesiders "how to" books.

Problem is that while there are many boomers who have been involved & wanted to become involved are often shoved aside, owing to they not being "part" of the association, or clique or whatever other name its to be called.

Like others, I had my time trying to help & that was when I was still working on the job, raising a family & the usual paying off of a lot of the other usuals, & time was not available to me.  Although when I did provide my services for free by handing in my working sheet to the organisation so they did not have to submit it to the railways to have them pay for my wages for the day, I became an outcast until the next trip was arranged & didn't take long for the phone to ring to see if I would "like" to work for day.  Oh what a difference was the tone on the phone, but if I couldn't no matter the reason, the tone was certainly a different one.

Sadly for me, as a boomer, my health would prevent me from doing much for them anyway, except perhaps do the occasional driving, but then again so many others have come after me that would rightfully believe they are in front & worked for the right to sit in the left hand seat, that I would not get a look in.

The thing is for me though, unless there is some sort of sensible forward planning, that includes using those who are left that had the practical experience rather than just the written theory of things, the problems of skills will always be there.  In the 60's there were a few Text book drivers, & if rostered with them you could be assured that the trip would be harder than one who drove by his practical skills.  That also applied to many of the fitters, especially the valve setters rather than use the slide rule & diagrams. they relied on looking at & realising the condition what he was working on.

As for the feminist aspect of these jobs, I do not believe that the gender aspect should be any issue, the only issue should be totally centred on whether or not the person can actually do the work entrusted to them, & to do it correctly.  Same aspect of all be willing to listen & speak, which ensures learning, above all else, respect & that word crosses age & any other barrier that is thrown up.
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
a6et,

I recall work done for a preservation society (to remain nameless, for obvious reasons) as an awkward experience. Cliques, turf issues and wariness reinforced the distinct impression of an outsider. I'm not inclined to seek a repeat.

A prediction: as engineering issues continue to emerge, full gauge preservation outfits will become rarer. Operations that run narrow gauge (2"6' and less) may have a better chance of survival.

The training and skills succession issues are real, and ongoing. But as you say, unless fostered by the dominant culture within each group, there is little chance of those skills being passed on.
  Duffy Chief Commissioner

Location: ACT
It is a laudable goal to try and encourage young people to become involved in rail heritage organisations but let's not lose sight of just why it is that older members of the community form the bulk of members and active volunteers (not just in rail either). Older people have life experience, skills and knowledge that make them useful, they remember the "real" railway as something from their younger days and they want to celebrate and share what it was like with the younger generation who weren't as lucky (yet!). Perhaps even more importantly, people who have or are nearing retirement or those well short of that but whose kids have grown up and left home, have the time to give and very often are not restricted by the demands of work or other commitments and can make themselves available when full time workers just cannot.

Everyone with an interest and willingness to commit to our rail heritage should be welcomed by us all, with open arms and a willingness to assist, teach and also learn ourselves. Unfortunately I don't thin k it's something we do well.

I have been involved with rail heritage (in NSW) since the late 1960's, I began as a school kid and despite all the will in the world, by the time I got to my early 20s, other interests took over. In fact, it was already a bit of a struggle by late teens as nature took its course and a young man's fancy, etc, etc. Since then I've drifted in and out of the scene as sport, family, work and geographical limitations all imposed their restrictions and I've been involved with RTM, 3801 Ltd, PHM, ARHS and a few others and for quite a few years now I have been a loyal but increasingly dissatisfied RTM volunteer (those who know me would be shocked to hear what I have to say). I come from possibly the last generation when being an admitted rail fan doesn't send people scurrying for the DSM (the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, bible for the world of psychiatry), and so do many of my life long friends, but there really are only a few of these who stayed the distance without a break and there are many whose active involvement petered out in their 20s who never rekindled the flame, many more than those like me who left and came back.

However, I see a problem that is and has been growing in the rail heritage movement in NSW, and which is like some insidious disease, and it has to do with some, not all, but some of the younger people in our 'industry'. It is certainly a disorder which I believe afflicts RTM and it is also now emerging at PHM and I am told there have been outbreaks in other places as well. It's not limited to younger colleagues but they do seem to suffer a more virulent form. I refer to the tendency of some to see themselves as heritage rail wunderkind and possessing knowledge and skills far beyond that of mortal man (and it goes without saying, in fact even more so, far, far superior to women), especially if the mortal happens to be an "older" person or somebody who wasn't born with a copy of the Safe Working Catechism in their hand. The fact that these immortals gained their knowledge from "older" people in the first place seems to be forgotten. The symptoms of this disease are arrogance, rudeness and complete intolerance for others and the insecurity this masks is hidden behind the shield of entrenched cliques. The worst sufferers are also very good at blackmailing their organisations with threats to walk out and such like and in at least one instance have been able to create the ridiculous impression they are indispensable and they get away with it.

For too long now, cliques have ruled the day and they do so by some pretty obnoxious and nefarious means. I have not been hassled because I suppose I've been around long enough and the ring leaders think I'm on their side, but over the years I have seen many competent or potentially valuable and fine volunteers lost because of the disadvantage they suffer at the hands of the cliques. I have tried to raise the issue in the past but it's a bit like trench warfare without a helmet, raise your head above the parapet and you risk getting it shot off. I admit I've been too timid to speak out and I know I'm not alone.

This industry survives on Volunteers and the Report makes that clear. It will only prosper into the future if we build the volunteer workforce and treat them all properly and I don't think that occurs in some key areas. It's time for a clean-out, get rid of the cliques and those who abuse the privilege they have to work with our wonderful rail heritage. Right thinking people in the organisations know who the culprits are and they owe a duty to the whole movement to put a stop to this form of abuse and bullying. There is a very big hint in the report which recommends a job spill at RTM and open competition for jobs and the hint should be taken. At the very least it needs to be brought out into the open, no longer should it be the elephant in the room.

Unless the clique system can be broken once and for all, it doesn't matter what recruitment you engage in, you'll lose the best people because they won't tolerate the nonsense and childishness, they'll vote with their feet. The only way to do it is to have a clean out, we all know who the perpetrators are and
Alonzo Trumbull
2 sides to every story matey.  Cliques of older volunteers exist in much the same manner as you have described above.
  prrs2 Beginner

Interesting topic and point of view. obviously in this day and age as there is generational change these issues will arise. A fitter from the days of steam or indeed a driver with any experience is now retired from main line work. Most fitters are now into there 80s and 90s and struggle to remain involved, there input however has been invaluable. Drivers are of much the same age and now as a younger generation of crews work our tours the training passed down to them is self evident in the success of these tours. The RTM has an exceptionally high standard in its operations as far as reliability and performance are concerned, considering to the locos it operates namely 3526 and 3642, both the most difficult of classes, (according to most old hands).  The argument that we will not be able to maintain mainline steam does not wash. 3642 has been a dog since it left Goulbourn. probably for many reasons no one person to blame however since its recent overhaul by gen y, New tyres bearings liners etc it has performed faultlessly, according to one of the last most respected original steam crews, the best pig he has ever driven.  mistakes have been made in the past by all, by both generations. This is thanks to the training given by the old hands to a new generation. It will all continue, but in this day and age it is a full time job to keep it all alive, no longer a weekend hobby. If you have issues bring them up calmly with the persons you think you should but always enter a discussion with an open mind. Allot has been achieved in this state in preservation, allot more could have been so to could a lot less, we are here now and steam is still going. It is sad that issues come out such as this on these public forums where many people comment that are not involved, sounds like no one on this thread however. so it easier to remain incognito,

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