An uncertain future - Seymour Railway Heritage Centre (SRHC)

 

Pinned post created by Barrington Womble

Posted 7 years ago

  MBAX Chief Commissioner

Location: Mostly the Imperial

It seems that the "core activity" of the group has changed.  If SRHC want to hire out everything and not run many heritage trains, I guess it is how it is.  I understand and feel for all the crew who have been put out by the changes, but as I have said, if they make more money out of running grain and containers than out of heritage trips, that it what they are going to do.

From a business perspective, it would be crazy to not follow the path that makes the most turn over with your product.
As the letter stated, the heritage trips need to be propped up by train hire.
I wonder why other TRs do not get as much flack on this page.  Several of them hire out (one very rare in particular) locos, but hardly rate a mention.  Is it the volunteers that have been put out running the smear campaign against SRHC?  


I mean no insult by anything I have posted, so please try not to take it that way.

"Foamer"


I agree with you but there seems little point in contradicting the one way views on this thread bearing in mind there are two moderators warning anyone off anyone who has different ideas. Why bother?

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  tranx Assistant Commissioner

Location: Somewhere in Southwest Sydney
I agree.

When moderators start expressing their opinion about something and start to enter the argument, then they are no longer seen to be impartial and unbiased.

Personally, I dont have a comment about SHRC. I am staying clear of that one and will leave that to those who know the place better than I.

However, I wonder whether the moderators concerned have a vested interest in SHRC? Who moderates the moderators? The administrator Michael Greenhill?
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

I have nothing to do with this SRHC, but I have a feeling one of the moderaters had previously set up the last SRHC website, quote me if I am wrong.  I called in at Seymour Centre yesterday to see waht all this fuss is about, as I have been there visiting a number of times over the years.
The main board still say VISITORS WELCOME, alas on an A4 bit of paper to the tune of Visitors and tours currently under review, the gate was padlocked. I saw a couple of people walking around obvoiusly ignoring anyone who came by. 

Maybe they should take down the current stand that says' visitors welcome' or do they have to contract that one out as well?  It seems there are a lot of people on this thread that would gladly do it for free................ Very Happy
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic


tranx; what gives you or anyone the idea that Moderators have to be impartial?

They are perfectly at liberty to express any opinion they like. Their main functions are to keep threads on track, and jump on any posts which are abusive, threatening etc.

Then there are other people who obviously don't understand that it's not different ideas that are warned off; it's irrelevant rubbish that's targeted.

  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
However, I wonder whether the moderators concerned have a vested interest in SHRC? Who moderates the moderators?
"tranx"

The moderators really need a way to show they have 'taken off their moderator hats' when they post their own opinions in threads. At the moment the bright green or blue I'M A MODERATOR band screams out at you. It makes it hard to tell if they are posting in an official capacity, or as a random railfan.

One would assume moderators can be trusted enough not to go around giving warnings to everyone who disagrees with them, instead referring the matter to a second moderator who isn't involved in the discussion.
  tranzitjim Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

I SUPPORT THE LOCO HIRE - A VOICE OF SUPPORT from a Train buff
With all this negative posting about Locomotive hire, I would like to show my support. Not only that, but explain why I am 100% behind the program to hire out locomotives.


My only objection would be, they MUST be available for use on heritage runs now and then, and this needs to be so with all locomotives. This is valid likewise to both C501 and J515.


The BENEFIT IN GENERAL includes...

**The locomotives are in far better condition today, on account of the recent rebuilds - rebuilds which have been funded by their hire out.

**They subsidise the heritage trips, that makes them more popular as their prices can be kept to a much lower price.




When you have no heritage runs at all during the week, the locomotives would otherwise be just sitting around doing nothing.

If something is left idol for long periods of time, this can in fact be more harmful for the likes of locomotives, as things have the chance to cease up and rust.  You are at risk of starting up a T class on the eve of a heritage trip, only to find out 'it will not run' or 'rust has broken through a pipe' or 'something else has frozen up'.

As for the issue of 'if it aint a locomotive, then do not bother with it', I am not exactly happy about this either. But, I do see the point. Once the current 'restoration jobs' are all out there and getting work, SRHC will,

** Have more money to spend on other things, as they have more locomotives out there earning income.

** Money-flow, time and resources being spent on fixing and restoring 'important historical railway items - being the locomotives' would then be re-directed to many other jobs.  The job they can now do 'will be far superior' to what they would be doing without the LHI (Loco Hire Income)


SO, Locomotive hire is a benefit to.....

*** The Locomotives, They get funding to ensure 'much better rebuilds' 'as required'  AND  They do not sit around collecting rust and cobwebs etc.

*** The rail buffs, They get to see these locomotives out and about, just like what the locomotives where designed for.

*** SRHC, the would become stronger overall.  The money they get, would help them do quite a bit. From Marketing for heritage trips, to improvements to the depots.

*** SRHC tours, when they run, they operate a lot cheaper.  this means 'ALL TRAIN BUFFS GET THE BENEFIT'.  Many train buffs of whom other wise 'could not afford to travel due to the high prices' are now in fact able to travel on a SRHC train.




TO CONCLUDE

The jobs that are being done on other items 'would never get done' otherwise as SRHC would not have the time to fund the purchase of materials or etc.

SRHC are doing an outstanding job, and are in my eyes CHAMPIONS OF RAIL HERITAGE AND HERITAGE TRIPS etc by what they are doing with 'the locomotive hire' program.


It is just a pitty that V/Line have no need to hire some of the cars too.


  Webslave Site Admin

Location: Altona, Melbourne
Yes, the moderator/administrator colour band jumps out at you (probably for good reason), but that's not much different to any other forum currently in existence.  As has been stated, moderators only act when they need to, not when they want to - and they are at liberty to express any view they wish, with the understanding that in doing so they are subject to the same rules as anyone else, and the understanding that other moderators will warn them indiscriminately should the need arise.

Speaking personally, I've read this thread with great interest having been on a few SRHC tours (and had a great time doing so) and helped out around the depot a few times.  If what I'm reading here is anything to go by, it's a bit of a sad state of affairs up north.  It does seem like the focus has shifted away from what it was a couple of years ago when I was last up there, and that's a real shame.  If some people are saying it's started with the President, I guess I could believe that.  I don't know the man personally, but I have been in his presence a number of times both on occasions where I'd been volunteering, and just visiting and I have to tell you, I've never met such a grumpy, rude old man.  I'll never forget one night when a bunch of people had been sitting up in B-Box after a day of washing carriages in preparation for a tour enjoying pizza for dinner when this man (who I later learned was Colin Rutledge) came storming in apparently following a Committee meeting, closed up the pizza boxes while people were eating, and threw them all out onto the stairwell outside in a fit of rage.  What was it all about?  I couldn't tell you, but what a first impression.

In the various times that I met him afterwards, he made no attempt to introduce himself, or get to know who I was.  I am the President of a community organisation, and I'll be damned if I don't make the effort to introduce myself and get to know just about everyone that walks through the door, and we regularly have 50-100 volunteers on site at any one time.  It's nothing major, but I just think he showed an attitude that he was above the place and the people involved.

It seems this was all brought to a head lately by an attempted coup.  I can understand why the coup was attempted, and think many of the reasons were justified, but even I could have told you that this was a man who was going to play 'dirty' to keep his position, and I don't think those staging the coup properly accounted for this.  In other ways, they made it far too easy for him to plant the seeds of doubt into the minds of even the more moderate members, and I think this was a tactical error that is now proving difficult to recover from.  Is it unrecoverable?  No, but what's clear to me is that it's going to require a much better organised and carefully planned approach.  Call it succession planning if you like.  What's inescapable is that this man will not outrun his critics and in turn keep the presidency indefinitely.

To boil down the last several pages on the topic of loco hire, to me it seems the scenario is fairly straight-forward:

Does the 'end' generated from loco hire justify the means?

I would suggest that in this scenario the 'end' is financial stability, and the 'means' is concessions made against the goals the group was established for.  There is certainly room for a balance in this equation, and quite a few good examples have already been given of groups that are managing this well - what doesn't work is if the means is almost entirely eclipsing the goals the group is established for.  Financial stability is important, but it's not the end game - the end game is the reason the group was established.  I'm yet to find a constitution for a not-for-profit that says the key aim of the group is financial stability!  Is it reasonable that the SRHC will hire out plant to subsidise other work and activities that might otherwise prove unaffordable?  Absolutely.  A good Committee will decide how much they are willing to give up in order to achieve the majority of their goals, and that's where I think the SRHC have lost their way.

The trouble is, sometimes you get people, or even groups of people in community organisations that find themselves in a position where they can afford to acquire capital items at a significantly reduced (or in some cases nil) cost by virtue of the fact that it's a not-for-profit and people are charitable.  What then happens is they do the sums and work out that they can make far more money for the group by commercially hiring such items externally, even if it means that those within the group will not get enjoyment of them, and that's considered collateral damage and easy to justify since the money will pay for the upkeep of that item.  It's a false economy for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that your benefactors who either gave or gave the item at a discount to you will arc up saying that's not why you were given the item.  Also attractive to this way of thinking is that at least some of your labour comes for free - and if you've got a large capital item on your balance sheet that cost you nothing and you're able to maintain at a discount, why wouldn't you hire it out?  Well, the trouble with this approach is that eventually crosses the line from being a not-for-profit into a commercial business that operates illegally under a not-for-profit status until such time as it's eventually found out.  Not-for-profits are not some kind of safe-haven tax-dodge that you can make money on thinking that nobody will notice.  People notice eventually, and by stage it doesn't take long for the jumper to unravel.

To those who may choose to look in and think "they're hiring out locos to maintain ________, what's the big deal?" or "they're hiring out locos to subsidise the cost of __________, what's the big deal?", I'd urge you to consider what actually goes in those blank spaces.  This is a group that is no longer running tours (or on the very, very rare occasion they do they hire in non-heritage locos for a fee), no longer takes visitors, and prefers paid labour to volunteers - so what is this actually subsidising?  If we're subsidising the wear and tear on the locos caused by hiring, where's the economy in that?  Eventually you end up with a locomotive that is unserviceable, unhirable, and fit only for static preservation, and you have no more dollars in your pocket than when you started.  If you'd hired it a little less aggressively it would have been available for heritage tours (and at little cost to the organisation and the passengers), and you wouldn't have nearly as many critics to answer.
  Foamer GEEWONG

Location: Geelong
The great work I was referring to, was the work by YVR.
Womble:

I did see the N class hauling the latest SRHC trip and also stated in several places that it was not a good look.
 

With this "intervention" of sorts, what are you trying to achieve?  Things are not going to change if SRHC do not need volunteers as stated.


With a vested interest, maybe you need to step down as a moderator when posting here.  

I have seen elsewhere that you have taken pictures of ELZ grain trains.  Is that a benefit to Victorians?  To the train nuts it is a wet dream to see this stuff running about the network.  If you don't support it, why take photos?  


What SRHC is supposed to do and what is does seem to be two very different things.  I agree.  They have been entrusted to preserve lots of Victorian history, yes it may be immoral to hire out things they do not own, not run heritage tours citing excuses as to why, kick out and poorly treat members and volunteers and so on.  Do you think it will change?  What will it take to change it back to the "good old days"?


Can the SRHC survive if they stopped the hire and focus on what they set out to do?  I bet the funds will dry up and it will be another ARHS museum, static hulks of their former self.

  Webslave Site Admin

Location: Altona, Melbourne
**The locomotives are in far better condition today, on account of the recent rebuilds - rebuilds which have been funded by their hire out.
"tranzitjim"


Trains need rebuilds the more they run, ergo the more hiring = more rebuilds.

**They subsidise the heritage trips, that makes them more popular as their prices can be kept to a much lower price.
"tranzitjim"

If you're running them at all, and to what extent have you seen subsidy?



*** SRHC, the would become stronger overall.  The money they get, would help them do quite a bit. From Marketing for heritage trips, to improvements to the depots.
"tranzitjim"



Where's the evidence of this, Jim?

*** SRHC tours, when they run, they operate a lot cheaper.  this means 'ALL TRAIN BUFFS GET THE BENEFIT'.  Many train buffs of whom other wise 'could not afford to travel due to the high prices' are now in fact able to travel on a SRHC train.
"tranzitjim"

Again, where's the evidence?


What you're saying is a nice theory that the disgruntled would completely understand if that's the way it was being run, but the fact is that it's not.  There aren't any tours, people aren't allowed in the depot, and there's little evidence that the money coming in from hires is going anywhere but onto repairs and maintenance required to keep the locos out on hire.  Who gets the benefit there?  Your train buffs might, the hirer certainly does, and let's just say you have a President that would love to run his own loco hire business except he personally has no rollingstock and no venture capital?  He certainly does.


  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic


Foamer - please read what has actually been written about loco hire; not what you think might have been.

There has been little or no comment that all loco hire should cease.  Some loco hire is undoubtedly beneficial.

What members are saying is that loco hire dominates, trains are not run, members are locked out, and SRHC has lost sight of it's raison d'etre. It really isn't difficult to understand if you read the thread carefully.

  Foamer GEEWONG

Location: Geelong
I believe I posted a question, rather than a statement.  Followed by my opinion. 
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic

I believe I posted a question, rather than a statement.
"Foamer"


 

Yes, you did.  I am trying to point out, as gently as I can, that your idea of stopping the hire is irrelevant. Nobody has suggested it. Why not stick to the issues at hand?

  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
Tranzitjim - I dispute the piece about locos being in a better condition. Running the old warhorses on a 6 car pass run to Tocumwal every few months is going to preserve them better than flogging them on 3000 ton grain trains 7 days per week!

Others have summed it up nicely. The gripe is not incidental loco hire which is fine untl it stops you doing your core activity which appears to be the case with SRHC. As an example, Puffing Billy has earned money from external jobs like rebuilding the pedestrian bridge at Somerville and refurbishing staff ticket boxes, et. al. It hasn't ever meant that we had to stop running trains because our staff or assets were being used on these external sources of income.

Additional to the loco hire issue, there also seems to be the anecdotal treatment of the current membership which is something that needs to be looked at even if no locos were being hired to anyone.

Personally I'm disappointed to hear the stories about the current President. I've known the man for 30 years and have had many enjoyable days under his leadership of the old Signals Branch at PB. He instructed me as a signal fitter, taught me how to drive Caseys (at 1 speed!) and taught me how to drink. Come to think of it, just about all on the same day! He always acted as traditionalist and advocate for heritage matters which is why I was quite surprised to see Seymour start to self destruct in the manner it currently appears.
  Foamer GEEWONG

Location: Geelong

I believe I posted a question, rather than a statement.
"Foamer"


 

Yes, you did.  I am trying to point out, as gently as I can, that your idea of stopping the hire is irrelevant. Nobody has suggested it. Why not stick to the issues at hand?

"Valvegear"


I am pro hire.....


  VBAndy Chief Commissioner

Everyone is pro hire, its to what degree thats debated. The issue that is becoming more of a priority to me as time and this debate goes on, is the fact SRHC have numerous rare items entrusted to them and stored at their depot. We're continually in discussion regarding the hiring of government owned locomotives, but what of the goverment owned rollingstock thats left to sink in to the ground it stands on? We've touched on things like the E and S cars, but what of Yarra, State Cars 4 & 5, the XYZ set, Dining Car, Avoca, Parlour Car and so on?

So many unique items of our state's rail heritage are shoved up the back of a shed in Seymour right now, some of which hasn't left that shed for many years as it is. So whilst we are showing concern for the future of the government owned diesel fleet and the basic pass cars, we shouldn't forget these "big ticket" items. Up until this point SRHC have been able to use these exhibits during depot tours, now there is no tours, what purpose do these rare vehicles have at a society clearly not interested in that area of the rail industry?
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Okay.

Access into the sleeping cars was made via a set of properly constructed alloy steps, with handrails. The only thing I can think of which would be unsafe about them is that the are not 'fixed'. No near hits or incidents ever happened by people using these steps that I am aware (or that have been reported...).

It would be very easy to make it safe, or more to the point; have safe walkways to the sleeping cars. Adequate light is available from the floodlight fitted to the cleaning shed. This was on at all times when people stayed overnight. It would not be hard to drop some roadbase between the tracks, or construct a proper crossing point for access. It would cost two-tenths of f*ck-all to pay for it.

The only point I can think of is that there is no sprinkler system in the carriage sheds. This was supposed to be fitted up years ago, but alas, hiring diesels takes priority. You can service a diesel or two for the cost of installing the sprinkler system. Makes you wonder what VicTrack must think about it, as pretty much all of the operation wooden cars, plus the sleeping cars belong to them. It's great they're in a shed, but if some ghoul sets fire to one of the carriages, the lot will go up.

"Barrington Womble"


I was going to ask if the sleeping quarters, whether they are wooden or not are fitted with smoke detection etc, but you seem to have also picked up the most obvious flaw to having safe sleeping quarters.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
What great work? All work conducted is purely for the purposes of furthering the hiring racket. It goes in a circle of hire, directly affecting the potential longevity of the assets entrusted to the society. For example, when was the last time anyone saw Yarra? Now the public cannot enter the depot and tours are seemingly extinct, when will enthusiasts and the general public alike get to admire this government owned asset? Certainly not possible whilst its stored in a shed at a loco hire depot that doesn't utilise the vehicle because they don't run heritage trains!
"VBAndy"

Spot on. I couldn't have put it any better myself! 8)
"Barrington Womble"


Indeed, and I thoroughly agree, although it was nice when C501 used to venture over here on freights so that we SAers could once again hear it scream up the hills. That said, I would rather the opportunity to travel to VIC and ride behind it maybe...
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned

 

With this "intervention" of sorts, what are you trying to achieve?  Things are not going to change if SRHC do not need volunteers as stated.
"Foamer"

Why does any sort of intervention take place?
Simply to let those who won't listen to you on mutual terms to listen to you by other means, if you are not satisfied with something that is happening. I know for a fact that the people high up in the SRHC are watching. If they weren't, then the newsletter wouldn't be so defensive. They know their plan is flawed, and we know that they know.


With a vested interest, maybe you need to step down as a moderator when posting here.
"Foamer"

A vested interest in what exactly? Your point and question is irrelevent. I am entitled to my opinions, and views, and I will express them at my own discretion. Being a moderator has nothing to do with anything I'm saying.

I have seen elsewhere that you have taken pictures of ELZ grain trains.  Is that a benefit to Victorians?  To the train nuts it is a wet dream to see this stuff running about the network.  If you don't support it, why take photos?
"Foamer"

Because this is the only way I can enjoy seeing some of the locomotives I have been involved with in the past, and for purposes of record (my photos may be to the benefit of Victorians when I'm dead and buried - ever think of that?). If El Zorro used 3 CLP's; an A2, and 5711 to haul their train I'd photograph it, the same as I'd photograph a couple of NR's on the steel train. Your argument is not very strong. 


What SRHC is supposed to do and what is does seem to be two very different things.  I agree.  They have been entrusted to preserve lots of Victorian history, yes it may be immoral to hire out things they do not own, not run heritage tours citing excuses as to why, kick out and poorly treat members and volunteers and so on.  Do you think it will change?  What will it take to change it back to the "good old days"?
"Foamer"

I certainly think a new leadership would do wonders, and as stated before the whole hiring regime looked over; assessed, and ammended where required. No over the phone type arrangements, everything would be in writing. Money for the hiring would be payed by the company hiring the locos on time with no delays.

The way to get things back to the "Good old days"...I don't know if it could go back that far, as many consider the "Good old days" to be when the group was called the Seymour Loco Steam Preservation Group, and I would also hazard a guess that it was prior to 1990 when the volunteers there were highly qualified railway fitters, drivers et al...This was before my involvement.

The whole emphesis on paid employees over volunteers would be abolished. The more volunteers you have, the stronger your group is. You need volunteers to run trains; both T.O's and servicing crew. More trade qualified volunteers would be encouraged to join up, and help out. Not frightened away, or treated in the listless manner that prevails currently.


Can the SRHC survive if they stopped the hire and focus on what they set out to do?  I bet the funds will dry up and it will be another ARHS museum, static hulks of their former self.

"Foamer"

You continually ask the same derpish questions, and you have been given the answer: GO BACK AND READ THE THREAD FROM PAGE ONE. YOU WILL FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR INANE QUESTIONS IF YOU BOTHER TO READ THE WHOLE THREAD. I can't put it to you any simpler than that.

I don't think you really have any idea of what you are talking about, so please do us all a favour...
  Foamer GEEWONG

Location: Geelong
Well addressed up until here.
I have read this thread many times, but all I get is sour grapes by people who have been left out of a group that has moved away of what it once was.

It takes lots of money to restore something, even if most of the labour has no or minimal charge attached to it.  Money has to come from somewhere.
Can the SRHC survive if they stopped the hire and focus on what they set out to do?  I bet the funds will dry up and it will be another ARHS museum, static hulks of their former self.

"Foamer"

You continually ask the same derpish questions, and you have been given the answer: GO BACK AND READ THE THREAD FROM PAGE ONE. YOU WILL FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR INANE QUESTIONS IF YOU BOTHER TO READ THE WHOLE THREAD. I can't put it to you any simpler than that.

I don't think you really have any idea of what you are talking about, so please do us all a favour...[/quote]

Honestly, what makes you or anyone else any more versed on the subject? We can have have an opinion as well. No need to get personal or snappy.
  Serviceton_Kev Chief Commissioner

Location: Fecking here!
Well addressed up until here.
I have read this thread many times, but all I get is sour grapes by people who have been left out of a group that has moved away of what it once was.

It takes lots of money to restore something, even if most of the labour has no or minimal charge attached to it.  Money has to come from somewhere.
"Foamer"

Can the SRHC survive if they stopped the hire and focus on what they set out to do?  I bet the funds will dry up and it will be another ARHS museum, static hulks of their former self.
"Foamer"



You continually ask the same derpish questions, and you have been given the answer: GO BACK AND READ THE THREAD FROM PAGE ONE. YOU WILL FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR INANE QUESTIONS IF YOU BOTHER TO READ THE WHOLE THREAD. I can't put it to you any simpler than that.

I don't think you really have any idea of what you are talking about, so please do us all a favour...


Honestly, what makes you or anyone else any more versed on the subject? We can have have an opinion as well. No need to get personal or snappy.




You just don't get it, do you? It's not just sour grapes by former volunteers...it's because of what is happening!! How thick are you?

  Foamer GEEWONG

Location: Geelong
Be nice!
 

Did I hit a sore spot?
Well covered in many past posts.

  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Be nice!
 

Did I hit a sore spot?
Well covered in many past posts.

"Foamer"
No, you didn't "hit a sore spot" - you're just a twat.



  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic

Foamer - the only sore spot you're going to hit is the one where you keep bashing your bone head against the wall by failing to ( or being incapable of ) reading and understanding perfectly plain English.

The subject is concern by current financial members.


Get it now?

  Foamer GEEWONG

Location: Geelong

This is better than fishing.....

 

[edit]And then you are caught.  I suggest you no longer bait and wriggle. Seymour's situation couild  get less important to you here - HINT. And you have a reminder issued tonight too.[/edit]

  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
Okay.

Access into the sleeping cars was made via a set of properly constructed alloy steps, with handrails. The only thing I can think of which would be unsafe about them is that the are not 'fixed'. No near hits or incidents ever happened by people using these steps that I am aware (or that have been reported...).

It would be very easy to make it safe, or more to the point; have safe walkways to the sleeping cars. Adequate light is available from the floodlight fitted to the cleaning shed. This was on at all times when people stayed overnight. It would not be hard to drop some roadbase between the tracks, or construct a proper crossing point for access. It would cost two-tenths of f*ck-all to pay for it.

The only point I can think of is that there is no sprinkler system in the carriage sheds. This was supposed to be fitted up years ago, but alas, hiring diesels takes priority. You can service a diesel or two for the cost of installing the sprinkler system. Makes you wonder what VicTrack must think about it, as pretty much all of the operation wooden cars, plus the sleeping cars belong to them. It's great they're in a shed, but if some ghoul sets fire to one of the carriages, the lot will go up.

"Barrington Womble"


I was going to ask if the sleeping quarters, whether they are wooden or not are fitted with smoke detection etc, but you seem to have also picked up the most obvious flaw to having safe sleeping quarters.
"Aaron"

Yes they are. Each sleeping car has a smoke detector fitted to the ceiling at either end of the corridor. It would merely be a case of replacing the batteries in them to make them somewhat safe.

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