Canberra ARHS

 
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

Therein lies something for THNSW to work on with the government to make value calls on what items are of heritage value in both static and operational capacity, and make the allowances for where they are best based at to serve their purposes.
a6et
And care bugger all where the volunteers who put together and maintain the loco live - let them commute.

If 6029 had been somewhere else other than Canberra, would it have been restored. No, please don't answer that!

While no doubt some of your ideas have merit, you have assumed far too much from the start without substantiation and now seem to be inadvertently steering your argument around to being one of fact.

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  a6et Minister for Railways


Therein lies something for THNSW to work on with the government to make value calls on what items are of heritage value in both static and operational capacity, and make the allowances for where they are best based at to serve their purposes.
And care bugger all where the volunteers who put together and maintain the loco live - let them commute.

If 6029 had been somewhere else other than Canberra, would it have been restored. No, please don't answer that!

While no doubt some of your ideas have merit, you have assumed far too much from the start without substantiation and now seem to be inadvertently steering your argument around to being one of fact.
bingley hall
Bing where have I put down the work of the volunteers on the garratt or for that matter on any of the groups? Whether you have any idea or not about what I have also done in a volunteer capacity for more than one of the groups in the past may surprise you.

Likewise with the garratt, have I ever said other than the great work that has been done at Canberra by the workers there, yes I have questioned aspects relating to it, but having worked on more than enough of them over a period of 8 years and the conditions on them I think I have a bit of knowledge about them also, and not stuff read from books or the like. I have no doubt that it would never have run again had it been for the people in Canberra.

All I am saying in regard to the other areas relating to it, and it is not just directed at 6029 and the Canberra ARHS, but I also am seeing the situation whereas it along with other steam operations could be benefited by having some of the overheads that they are forced into by the simple fact of their geographic location.  When I say forced, its not based on them having to be where they are and no where else.

Canberra has been the ideal spot for them and the volunteers to get it back on the road and conduct the initial tests and the like. Thing is this, and please tell me you ideas as to how and where the museum can get the best cost recovery from, in operational areas?  You can not tell me that the costs to run 6029 in steam be that LE or on a train from Canberra to Sydney is a cheap exercise. The recent two weekend successful shuttles was an ideal situation for them, and was a good venture but could they have made more without the empty workings each end of the trip?  That question is the same for all of the societies as it stands now, even running from Thrllmere and back costs with generally no revenue on the trips as they start up.

As for the LES idea. I am only promoting something that could be of a huge benefit for all the steam operators, in a similar but smaller way than how York is a benefit for many of the English societies. A central location where there are the facilities and staff. And that is not taking away the work carried out elsewhere in England on the steam fleet. Just that York from my understanding is there for larger operations, no different to workshops in the NSWGR days had with major depots doing varying work on their engines with the 3 major workshops carrying out the main overhauls.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria

Therein lies something for THNSW to work on with the government to make value calls on what items are of heritage value in both static and operational capacity, and make the allowances for where they are best based at to serve their purposes.
And care bugger all where the volunteers who put together and maintain the loco live - let them commute.

If 6029 had been somewhere else other than Canberra, would it have been restored. No, please don't answer that!

While no doubt some of your ideas have merit, you have assumed far too much from the start without substantiation and now seem to be inadvertently steering your argument around to being one of fact.

Canberra has been the ideal spot for them and the volunteers to get it back on the road and conduct the initial tests and the like. Thing is this, and please tell me you ideas as to how and where the museum can get the best cost recovery from, in operational areas?  You can not tell me that the costs to run 6029 in steam be that LE or on a train from Canberra to Sydney is a cheap exercise. The recent two weekend successful shuttles was an ideal situation for them, and was a good venture but could they have made more without the empty workings each end of the trip?  That question is the same for all of the societies as it stands now, even running from Thrllmere and back costs with generally no revenue on the trips as they start up.
a6et
We would have loved to have had passengers on all our trips. The trip up the Illawarra Escarpment on the Monday coming back from Wollongong did have passengers on. The problem that the ARHS had with these transfer trains was finding the crews to run it. When the transfers happen on a week day and generally departing Canberra at 3-4am in the morning to meet paths in Sydney, its very hard to find the crews needed. Locomotive crews were fine, it was the on board staff that was difficult. Then deal with the fact it was only a one way journey, you needed to find your own way back.
  a6et Minister for Railways


Therein lies something for THNSW to work on with the government to make value calls on what items are of heritage value in both static and operational capacity, and make the allowances for where they are best based at to serve their purposes.And care bugger all where the volunteers who put together and maintain the loco live - let them commute.

If 6029 had been somewhere else other than Canberra, would it have been restored. No, please don't answer that!

While no doubt some of your ideas have merit, you have assumed far too much from the start without substantiation and now seem to be inadvertently steering your argument around to being one of fact.

Canberra has been the ideal spot for them and the volunteers to get it back on the road and conduct the initial tests and the like. Thing is this, and please tell me you ideas as to how and where the museum can get the best cost recovery from, in operational areas?  You can not tell me that the costs to run 6029 in steam be that LE or on a train from Canberra to Sydney is a cheap exercise. The recent two weekend successful shuttles was an ideal situation for them, and was a good venture but could they have made more without the empty workings each end of the trip?  That question is the same for all of the societies as it stands now, even running from Thrllmere and back costs with generally no revenue on the trips as they start up.
We would have loved to have had passengers on all our trips. The trip up the Illawarra Escarpment on the Monday coming back from Wollongong did have passengers on. The problem that the ARHS had with these transfer trains was finding the crews to run it. When the transfers happen on a week day and generally departing Canberra at 3-4am in the morning to meet paths in Sydney, its very hard to find the crews needed. Locomotive crews were fine, it was the on board staff that was difficult. Then deal with the fact it was only a one way journey, you needed to find your own way back.
LowndesJ515
Mate, I have no issues with it at all, and its not a good position to be in and problem no doubt is on how to resolve it.  Its one thing for returning home and something we dealt with on a regular basis in steam days, going to Goulburn, and being sent home passenger (same with BMD and Lithgow, same when I was at WCK in each direction, you could go to barracks and rest, perhaps a return job may come up or you got on the next Pax service or rode in a brake van on steam hauled services or the back end of a cab on diesels.

In many respects its a no win situation. It would be one thing I guess if you were located at Goulburn, which may help a bit in getting the staff home could be a bit easier.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
What happening with 1210? safe, stored ?

Regards,
David Head
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
What happening with 1210? safe, stored ?

Regards,
David Head
dthead
1210 was somewhat halfway through being re-activated. The boiler was ready to be lifted out of the frame for inspection. All the parts are locked away. What happens going forward with all the rollingstock is anyone's guess at the moment.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
Getting the funds to get them out of the hole is one issue.   Ensuring they have the viable business plans, capital for expansion/replacement/maintenance works etc so they don't climb out that hole to fall into a deeper one is also important.  This is what the administrator will be looking at.

Someone above mentioned their trips are running at a profit.  It's good news if they are but it is also necessary to ensure the 'profit' comes after an allowance for the maintenance and rollingstock on the train.  The direct costs of fuel, access paths, staff for the run are easily seen as the cost of a particular tour.  It contribution to the maintenance of all the equipment used on the run (even for carriages painting, new floor coverings and upholstery wear and tear, cleaning etc) that can often be forgotten and that doesn't include a provision for the locomotives next major overhaul!  It's these hidden costs that can catch you out and yes each trip an organisation ran made a profit but the organisation can still lose millions.

It's not just a problem for rail - heritage/touritst or commmercial operator, other capital intensive projects have similar problems/issues
As I have said several times, a big issue with/for preservation societies is the distance that they are from the money making resource base, that generally being Sydney.  The distance that even Thrilmere has to run to and from Sydney as empty trains before starting a revenue earner, eve back to their home base has costs such as track access for 80k's both ways when empty.
ARHS Canberra has the travel distance of 321K/s unless it has paying customers. Both are big costs and more so for a garratt.

The shuttle trips that were carried out by the garratt paid up money but they still had non revenue components in the itinerary, add the running time test in and more non revenue costs have to be covered.  Thing is that there is no way those costs cannot not be removed nor even reduced unless a change takes place, meaning having the operational fleet of locomotives and carriages stationed within the Sydney area.

The ideal location is the LES, and room needs to be made for them.   Realistically the only way for that to happen is for the government to make the LES available for that purpose, likewise to have the facility made suitable for the maintenance of the operating fleet as well.  

While it many not be seen as being ideal for the Canberra ARHS, it would certainly resolve a huge part of their costs when planing on trips, with the garratt being closer to where the revenue is to be made. The only time its different would be when their tours and the like are on the Southern areas, but at least there is a better chance of running a booked out train from Sydney to the Southern Highlands to start a program then from Canberra itself.
Besides the maintenance costs back at the depot, can you tell us your thoughts on what it costs to run these trips you mention above? I'm interested to know.
I have to admit to having no real idea on those costs others would be certainly better to bring that up.  I understand the loco crews are paid staff, so wages have to be considered for the 3 men in the cab. How many others are involved and are paid adds to that.
The track access fees also have to be paid, other items such as oil and water need to be considered. One of the biggest costs is coal. I have read different costings on that and based on a full tender of coal, being 18tons, with quality coal of the steaming variety likely costing around $100.00 tonne, you can see the cost there alone. My thinking say just on the Gosford shuttles the other weekend including the run from Sydney to Gosford, the time trial and then the 2 day shuttles and back to Sydney would have taken at least 2 bunker loads somewhere then in the vicinity of say 34tonnes as safe measure. Lets not also forget the diesels and crewing that is needed as well.

The cost is huge and as I have read a couple of statements the museum have said they made money on the Gosford and the Illawarra shuttles which is great and shows the crowd pulling ability of it.  I would also believe that other steam also has crowd appeals especially when the programs run are well promoted and the public interest is captured.

When you consider the costs that was also likely part of the shuttles that included the running to and from Canberra at the conclusion of the trips, I assume the garratt stayed in Sydney or somewhere and not run back to Canberra in between, as that would add more to the costs.  It does point out how much better it would be to have the operating engine fleet and carriages stabled at the likes of the LES and/or space made available over at the front end carriage shed that still has items stored there.

Therein lies something for THNSW to work on with the government to make value calls on what items are of heritage value in both static and operational capacity, and make the allowances for where they are best based at to serve their purposes.
a6et
I can tell you that the Central West trips back in June, through ticket sales, kiosk, donations, souvenirs etc. The total income for the 4 weeks was around (and i'll round it off) $280k. The direct cost for the 4 weeks was $65k. Many other stories like this throughout the year when it came to Heritage, it was a good wicket.

We never really wanted to the use the Large, for our operation when we go away was way too big for the Large.
  tbuff Station Staff

Perhaps it is necessary to review what has happened over the course of 2016.  This thread started with

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/canberras-heritage-rail-society-in-crisis-of-confidence

and in the past week the following was in The Canberra Times

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-railway-museum-closes-its-doors-as-organisation-manages-debt-20161118-gsslcl.html

Obviously the $500K debt referred to in the article didn't come about in the past 12 months.  The previous executive have some explaining to do to the volunteers and supporters.  In January the Society had "Titanic" symptoms and simply shuffling the deck chairs did not work.

To say that all of the trips run at a profit is naïve.  There appears to be a total lack of financial management for the Society to get so far in debt.  The volunteers should hold their heads high as they are the ones who make the trips so popular.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
Perhaps it is necessary to review what has happened over the course of 2016.  This thread started with

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/canberras-heritage-rail-society-in-crisis-of-confidence

and in the past week the following was in The Canberra Times

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-railway-museum-closes-its-doors-as-organisation-manages-debt-20161118-gsslcl.html

Obviously the $500K debt referred to in the article didn't come about in the past 12 months.  The previous executive have some explaining to do to the volunteers and supporters.  In January the Society had "Titanic" symptoms and simply shuffling the deck chairs did not work.

To say that all of the trips run at a profit is naïve.  There appears to be a total lack of financial management for the Society to get so far in debt.  The volunteers should hold their heads high as they are the ones who make the trips so popular.
tbuff
The 'total' picture became apparent in mid October this year.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
Has there been any elaboration on what LowndesJ515 spoke of last year?
  Duffy Chief Commissioner

Location: ACT
The liquidator has yet to report back. So no.
  Dave46 Station Master

The liquidator has yet to report back. So no.
Duffy
Anyone know who or what is behind the rather weird website which now appears at arhsact.org.au ?  Images of Indian trains, content which is outdated and refers to the Michelago railway still operating, reference to Byron Bay demolitions and property development in Canada?  Infers that the Museum is open Sundays.  Very misleading info for anyone who happens upon it.

David B
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Very misleading info for anyone who happens upon it.

David B
Dave46
It's just fake news.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Don't anyone go and book a tour or anything through this website - smells like something designed to fleece people who are unaware.
  Duffy Chief Commissioner

Location: ACT
ARHS and its assets remain under the control of the liquidator.  The domain name registry has probably lapsed and been purchased by someone who is trying to make a quick buck out of charletans. If you google "Canberra Railway Museum", the search results will show its "Permanently Closed" along with links to various news sites telling of the closure and the facebook page which shows no change, so really anyone going to arhsact.org.au probably has it bookmarked, ie, members of the general public are unlikely to end up there.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Apparently the liquidators have handed down their report.

There is some commentary here

https://arhsliquidation.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/first-blog-post/

Interestingly the writer says that the report "The document is also written as a straight up facts sheet. Supposition and suspicion are not included, leaving people to draw their own conclusions with regard to the content."

....and then goes on to provide plenty of supposition and suspicion themselves.
  Duffy Chief Commissioner

Location: ACT
I think some of the questions posed are pretty close to the mark.
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
I have no immediate knowledge of ARHS Canberra but I can appreciate the blog writer's observations, having been involved for many years with another non-government organization.

The mixture of paid staff, obedient and loyal bookkeepers, over-confident elected officers can be toxic, particularly when important financial information is withheld from members or, as in our case, supplied but buried in long and inadequately explained tables of fine print. Luckily in our case one of our board members did notice. It still took several years to replace the president and for the CEO to retire, fortunately just before the need for a liquidator.

Sometimes the problem starts when there is a shortage of volunteers for the board and the CEO helps out by head-hunting officers who are then co-opted or elected unopposed. The co-optees tend not to doubt the CEO's strategic direction nor his month to month numbers. All goes smoothly until the cost of a growing paid staff exceeds actual income, rather than the optimistic projections that volunteer board members are often shown. Again I don't know if this applied to ARHS Canberra.

Lesson: if you believe in the purpose of an NGO and you have any administration, engineering or financial skills then be prepared to volunteer for the board. Once there read the business papers carefully and don't be afraid to be unpopular by insisting on plausible accounts and a balanced budget.
  ssaunders Train Controller

Apparently the liquidators have handed down their report.

There is some commentary here

https://arhsliquidation.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/first-blog-post/

Interestingly the writer says that the report "The document is also written as a straight up facts sheet. Supposition and suspicion are not included, leaving people to draw their own conclusions with regard to the content."

....and then goes on to provide plenty of supposition and suspicion themselves.
bingley hall

Agree, it's no straight up fact sheet and seems to be trying to weave a story of their own.

ss
  Gaz170 Junior Train Controller

Location: Gold Coast
This page also makes interesting reading https://arhsliquidation.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/project-lans/

Buying more carriages when you can't maintain the ones you already have?

I hate to be critical of a volunteer group where I'm sure many worked very hard but there seems to be a lot more to all this than we are hearing.  I just hope once all the dust settles all the locos and carriages can stay with those who did the hard years to restore them.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
a lot of volunteer groups grab things before they disappear, even if they can't use them immediately.  The pros are the equipment is saved and often restored. The con is the recovery costs drain time, money and other resources from other projects.

If you can make it work you look fantastic but if it falls for some (often unforseen) problem then you look foolish.

It's why every preservation group needs a business plan - to ensure they don't lose focus on their sustainability regarding volunteers, space, finance etc.  It also helps identify trends and take actions to protect what they have.

Canberra isn't the first group to come upstuck - there are several other preservation groups and individuals who have had similar problems and others probably will in the future as some individuals can't learn lessons from other groups.
  ed31880 Train Controller

Does anyone know how many paid employees Espee had?
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

When an enthusiast society transitions from a static museum to an operating railway there is a need to have experienced and professional people in charge of the organisation. They can be retired, and their renumeration minimal but they need to have held similar positions in Business or Government. The top two, the CEO and the CFO should both have held positions equivalent to a Company Director in an organisation with assets and revenue in excess of  that expected by the now operating rail enthusiast group. The situation at Canberra evolved because the operating arm carried out a snow job on the enthusiast organization. Appropriate directors would have recognised this for what it was and called a halt to the games pretty quickly.
Neill Farmer
  ssaunders Train Controller

Does anyone know how many paid employees Espee had?
ed31880

From reading through past newsletters and emails passed on....it may not be complete but I'm sure someone here can make adjustments to the below.

1 full time Bookkeeper - admin person
1 casual part time accountant as commercial manager two weeks per month.

1 full time CEO and driver
1 full time heritage loco rollingstock manager
1 full time heritage loco fitter come heritage driver
1 full time heritage train and museum ticket seller
1 part time casual labourer
1 full time compliance manager and driver

1 full time ESPEE coordinator and driver (who used a pool of casuals and volunteers)

And in the fine print it appears at the end of 2015 they put on a guy for $10K per month to be GM and oversea operations. But he/she only lasted 2 months and was gone Dec 2015. Why they would do that when they did is anybodies guess.

I guess one question is how much was everyone paid, workers in Canberra generally get paid more than other places except Sydney and Melbourne. If they had to pay $100K for a loco manager in Canberra versus say $65K for the same in Central Victoria or NSW then your fixed costs can be large.

We all know heritage costs a fortune to run and the above demonstrates it.

ss
  Duffy Chief Commissioner

Location: ACT
A few corrections to the above list:
-1 full time heritage loco rollingstock manager
This role was created after a restructure was decided upon. The former CEO filled it until he decided to move on in about July 2016
-1 full time heritage loco fitter come heritage driver
Otherwise known as the asset manager, this guy did just about everything, including carriages, locos, depot infrastructure, Espee work.
-1 full time ESPEE coordinator and driver (who used a pool of casuals and volunteers)
To be clear, to my knowledge Espee never used volunteers. It was a commercial business. Using unpaid labour wouldve been a very big no-no...

Youve also left off our Operations Manager. As well as coordinating all heritage operations, he took over a lot of the marketing, worked espee trains and pitched in around the depot as an extra pair of hands when it came to the crunch.

As for the COO/GM, I dont think anyone knows the full story of why or how he was put on, particularly given the tenious nature of the finances at the time. I believe he left for that reason as well.

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