Thursday 30 March 2017

What makes a Great Gala?

We're tight

Heading to a Steam Gala can cost a fair few quid. As Brexit is confirmed we have a sh*t load of money saved from not going to Benidorm for a week, thousands spare that would have gone on green sambukas thrown back up in the best All English Cafe in the Costa Del Sol. So now Brexit has gifted us all of these new fancy pounds - we can all head to a Steam Gala with bulging pockets. 

As we look forward to the 'Strctly Bulleid' Gala on the Swanage, we can see a very bold statement of intent in the category of Steam Galas. Five Bulleids all together providing the best Park & Ride for Corfe Castle since a York Bendy Bus. Surely this Gala should feature in the A to Z of putting on a Gala. It ticks all the boxes in big green ticks.

The North Yorkshire Moors are repeating the performance of 'that A3' last year with 'Royal Scot'. One engine, One Railway, fill your boots. Very different but very 'limited edition' to those who have a ticket. You're getting a paid for seat behind Royal Scot with a Black 5 pushing you up a Bank. No doubt this slot will be filled by a celebrity engine each year. 

Catching the Disiesel 

Bring on in Round Two the Diesel Gala. Yes we've taken the mic out of flailing, Yes it baffles us all - but these Galas just seem to get bigger and bigger. The SVR bagging a Class 88 is a real coup, a real coup that will no doubt be fully guarded against rogue railwayana hunters in the dark mists of Bewdley. Could you run a week of Severn Valley services solely behind a Class 88? Would our boots be filled? Chances are there is the clientele and friends of our friend Kevin who could fill a weeks worth of trains behind a Loco behind a box.

Instead, the Class 88 coup will be almost saturated behind what will be a stream of guest Diesel. The wide eyed flailers will 'Peak' (get it?) on the Saturday and go home on Sunday. Two days and all done.

There is an argument that every day is a Gala in the NYMR at the height of summer and they simply can't fill an already full railway with more Engines until that double track is laid.

As we plan to head out on Tour, it is interesting to follow up our other rambling on waiting for Steam Gala details to be released, to work out - what would actually make us Peak. 

Are we heading to Exclusive Galas with your favourite engine in a booked seat on the Railway cleared especially for you?

Or do you want more engines, more trains, more thrash and more crammed carriages? 

Thanks to Brexit, we can cancel those EasyJet flights and mull over where our new raincoats will be heading this Summer.

Monday 27 March 2017

Alton Towers with Steam Trains?

Alton Towers or Alresford to Alton?

We don't do this nearly enough, but your comments to our last article have been very deep and showed what a great bunch of followers we are lucky to have.

An interesting point raised by G Shell (That's Gavin) on the difficult subject of attracting the younger generation to come away from those Xboxes and play Trains instead (safely and after years of training)
My theory is this. We have a lot of railway enthusiasts of a certain age because as kids that was the thing to do, with your handy Ian Allen, and was the Gameboy, iPhone, tablet, Xbox of today. 
Well, we are obviously not old enough to remember these spotter books that Gavin speaks of, but we get the jist. Now chances are you are reading this via one of those devices, it is another thing just to keep that device in your hand. If so, fair play and thanks. But what is going to make you put down that device and experience the real world of Railways?

Once concern we have shared recently is that most visits to Heritage Railways are for the benefit of filling Railway Groups and Forums with images of your visit to said Heritage Railway. Why on earth would anyone want to go and get filthy and not be allowed to take photographs while being filthy, unless of course you are at a safe distance with the workforce stood down. (We love this catchphrase)
 I do feel so many heritage railways are run by people who don't actually understand that they are a tourist attraction.
Is this a slippery slope to Peppa Pig World, with added Steam Trains? Surely the sole point of a Heritage Railway is that is does exactly what it says on the tin with the added bonus of world class facilities to make the visit to the 'tin' worthwhile and satisfying to those who couldn't care less if a Flying Pig or Flying Scotsman was at the front of their train.

The roll call of Steam Galas this year does indicate that many Railways are just happy to be running trains and the bare minimum of service is the attraction that is needed. Why spend a fortune on a Flying Scotsman when noone knows what it is? (bad example..)

Perhaps Gavin has a point here, maybe the time is over for complacency and narrow minded vision for your favourite Heritage Railway. Perhaps the shoehorning of the Heritage vibe must fit into a tourist attraction to make it viable in any ways and means possible.

One item is lost throughout and is the original predicament, encouraging young people to get involved. Perhaps the answer is that said young person must be paid to step away from the Game Boy (showing our age) and get dirty to keep their Nokia 3210 fully topped up for the rest of the week. 

Keep your comments flying in on the roles of young people on Heritage Railways. Perhaps you have the answer that will keep young trolls from bothering us and making themselves useful?

Has the world gone mad?

Genuine Question.

Now we are lucky, we have a world we can escape into that not only fires our enthusiasm but genuinely makes us care about something. That is railways. Those out fighting on the streets and doing things in 'the real world' do not have this luxury in life. That is a shame - for them.

So when the real world turns majorly sour, we live in hope until Hugh Grant (!) speaks for the nation and sums up the atmosphere. Or, we can go online and have a laugh and a joke about Railways and go into the depths of railway enthusiasm to 'get away from it all'.

Now we have been very naughty and are writing to you from the dreaded naughty step. 

Gears Grinded.

What we aim to be here at BM is be all inclusive to everyone from every background. As it should be. But the issue comes along when children are introduced into our world. The next generation - Our Hope - Our Future - The Next Hugh Grant.

Picture the scenario, we should encourage the youth of today to get involved in railways, there will be none without their involvement and enthusiasm, it really is this simple.

So here comes the dilemma.

What happens if they are d*ckheads?

Well we hate to break it to you loyal viewers but it turns out there are some proper d*ckheads on internet groups. Turns out these are not even likely to have shaved yet and will no doubt be at school while you are reading this.

Late Night Live.

So we won't go into the stream of abuse directed at the BM overnight on a very popular Internet Group (that we indeed love). It was very entertaining, then incredibly boring within a very short time in the very early hours. 

Here is why we are on the naughty step awaiting a spanking - we bit back.

You see, we are here to have fun and put some humour into railway enthusiasm and to be frank - lighten your day. We know how to put one foot in front of another and when we end up putting our feet in our mouths, we will take them out with dignity and hopefully a sense of humour.

What we don't like is abuse, on any level. If you don't like our 'content' then unfollow and disappear, if people don't have the stamina to unfollow we do it for them. Simple as that, and one of the last joys of social media opposed to real life, you get to turn off social media but the sun still rises the day after for you.

One other thing that sticks our gear stick between Fifth and Annoyance is being 'called out' for theft. By little toe rags. By those who are yet to learn respect. 

You send in some wonderful magic photos and stories to share with the world via BM. It truly is what keeps us doing this daft stuff. You've taken the time to send it in, we will use it. We thank you as much as we can.

Should we disrespect our faithful followers and likers by allowing those who do not 'get it' to complain from the sidelines in short trousers? The sorry truth is we probably should.

So here's the apology

We shouldn't have bit back.

Here's the future

Regardless of whether you are Young, old, black, white, male, female - if you don't like it. Do one. 

The future of Railways is held in the hands of our younger enthusiasts, their vision and drive will keep them running for years to come. So we need to help them transition from prime d*ckheads to the legends of Railways that we now need.

How to do it? Well the clock starts ticking now.

Sunday 19 March 2017

More details soon..

Gala Gloating?

Now readers, it wasn't too long ago that we claimed the Enthusiast Gala was a dying breed on your favourite Heritage Steam Railway. They were cleared off the timetables for gawking at A3s and meeting Pigs the size of fully grown, sweaty men.

You'd now be expecting a grovelling apology for inaccuracy judging by the way your social media timelines are full to the rafters of shots from the latest blockbuster Gala. Whether they are filled with photos of full trains is yet to be gloated by your favourite Heritage Steam Railway.

One thing is for sure they seem to be here to stay, 'Strictly Bulleid' (with a Tank Engine thrown in) on the Swanage is one such recipe of greatness that would whet the appetite of any hardcore gricer or Bash Mash liker.

But much like a Strictly without an Ed Balls, there does seem a gap of 'must see' events missing from the calendars of our notebooks. We find ourselves left with the bloke from Hollyoaks who nobody knows and the whole affair seems a tad 'meh'. 


So friends, what do we have to look forward to as 2017 steams towards Summer now the blink and you miss it Spring has done an Ed Balls and gone back to oblivion?

Well here is a handy tip to see you enthusiasts on your way in the search for answers. 
  1. Head to your nearest Search Engine,
  2. Type in 'Steam Gala 2017',
  3. Look at 'details coming soon' throughout.
The appetite does seem a little 'Anne Widdecombe on a tightrope' at this stage. A little lacklustre.

Here is another handy tip just to keep you on your toes,
  1. Head to your nearest Search Engine,
  2. Type in 'Meet Peppa Pig on Heritage Railway',
  3. Look at streams of search results that would fill the internet history of the dodgiest gricer.
It does seem the Pig and its friends are having the last laugh for the moment, perhaps the bacon is drying out the appetite for Steam Railways. 

No-one here would ever challenge a Steam Railway to not go out and make money and make families grin a hammy smile from ear to ear. The only thing scratching our pork is perhaps the momentum for enthusiast galas is yet to reach second notch.

One thing that is indeed ever present is the flooding of photos of the Galas when they happen, from every 3D angle and Live Video. We can simply sit back in our armchairs and experience the entire rare Steam Gala as if we were there. 

This is our first glimpse of concern for enthusiast Galas in 2017, we will go away and eat a bacon sandwich in the hope that 'more details soon' is indeed a cone infested, beer swilling, steam festival that would warrant at least four 'The Real Railway..' groups to eminate from its blockbuster loins. 

More details soon..