Tuesday 12 April 2016

A Tale of Three Steam Galas

Steam Galas - How Hard can it be?

Well that question depends on what you're aiming for. This week has seen the tales of three 'Steam' Gala's with various results - good or bad - from each of them.

First, we must mention the 'Pacific Power' event, this is the posh confusing name for Scotsman at the Severn Valley Railway. Tornado will also be there, of course one of them will always be running arse first but we will skim past this minor detail.

'Unprecedented demand'

This was the phrase coined that really sent us over the edge. Had anyone at Kidderminster seen the News, seen the Railway Magazines, seen the BTP Wanted Posters? A magnificent cop out of a phrase at the end of a hellish 48 Hours for the Severn Valley.

Here's the story in brief:
  1. Announce Scotsman Tickets are to be Sold online only,
  2. Build the Hype,
  3. Ticket Sales go Live,
  4. Website Dies.
A website dying as all tickets were released at once was more of a safe bet than Rule the World was for Take That fans.

Put yourself in that panicked room at Kidderminster - What would you do next?

That's right, sell them from the window of the Office at Kidderminster only.

Then Sell Out

Cue the uproar from hundreds of disgruntled customers. It was a shambles of the highest order but we will take our foots off the pedal of bashing further. They apologised and Scotsman fans retreated to the line side at Norfolk. Ah.

While this Kidderminster shambles occurred, over in a remote part of Wales something quite extraordinary was happening. 


That rare word on Heritage Railways these days, a Steam Railway going out of its way to recreate a period of History with the finest of detail. The Llangollen did it and smashed it.

The praises for this Railway have been humming across the internet as two Manors recreated the 'Cambrian Coast Express' in scenes that must have surprised those sat in sunshine by the River Dee capturing the sight. Yes its been done before, but what's wrong with recreating something that works so well?

In a world of Scotsman, crowds, trespassers, colossal amounts of money and the cancellation of enthusiast events to make way for them - this was a waft of fresh air blowing from the West across the large bank balances of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Will it replace the bank balance bonanza that an A3 brings to a Heritage Railway?


Will it galvanise those that saw it and tick a huge box for enthusiasts who are a low percentage, but downright important to any Heritage Railway?


We really do hope here at BM that the wave of 'sell out' events replacing Enthusiasts Galas begins to calm down and enthusiasts are allowed to put their Gala creations in front of the crowds. 

Our Third and Final Tale. A Steam Gala disappearing into a Hybrid Diesel Gala. There's lots to say here, but lets take the Severn Valley debacle and the loss of a Spring Steam Gala on the NYMR in one chunk and collectively let out a dignified but disappointed..


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