The future of rallies in the North East

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There's been some discussion on facebook around the merits of charging money to attend bus rallies and running days - I'm wondering what opinion is on here.

There seems to be two main camps on the issue:

  1. Free events attract new people to the hobby and in turn promote further vehicle preservation
    There's a real concern that charging entry to a bus rally would vastly reduce visitor numbers to the point where it wouldn't be worth running the events at all. Additionally the added cost is likely to put of 'marginal' enthusiasts leaving only the dedicated few same people traipsing to the same events with the same people to see the same vehicles. This alone could lead to the decline of the hobby. This would also extend to family visitors who contribute massively to visitor numbers at many who enjoy a low-cost day out. Though many enthusiasts may see small children getting in the way of their photos an annoyance; without them it's likely commercial operators such as ANE & GNE would cease to send vehicles as there would be no potential customers to promote to. After all, there's no point showing off your new bus to enthusiasts who already know all about it!Many bus enthusiasts have cited the friendly and inclusive atmosphere of the scene they experienced as a youngster as the reason they continued their hobby onto bus ownership and preservation. If exclusion via cost begins it could be argues that many vehicles will be lost to the scrap pile in the future.         
  2. It is rude & ungrateful to not contribute to the running costs of a vehicle when an owner offers rides on it
    The first argument here is the most obvious. A preserved bus owner has already spend £000s on restoration and ongoing costs to keep their vehicle before they've but £150 of diesel in it to bring it to a running day. And certainly many owners are not overly wealthy individuals; just people with a passion and desire to keep vehicles special to them going. To open that hard work up to the public who could easily damage your well preserved bus and then receive a small donation from less than half of those on board will be infuriating. It would be understandable if an owner then decided not to enter their vehicle for running any more; leaving their bus as a static exhibit only. There would be still many enthusiasts who are able to appreciate a bus from looking at it but it would still not be the same as being able to board and hear it run. Again, this could lead to less interest and the increased likelihood of the bus event being pulled altogether. This would certainly be the case for running-based events such as the 500 group's day.  
The above is a summary of the arguments I've seen rather than my own opinion, which is very much that passengers should offer a donation to the owner of a preserved bus if it's being ran but an entry fee in addition to a donation to an event may kill it. 

A way forward could be charging a fee for a programme or similar and only those in possession of one may use the running services. 
 
As an example: ACME bus group holds an event, any bus from any group may enter to run. At rally control people may purchase one-day membership for £4 adult, £2 child, £8 family. Only members may ride buses running shuttles that day. Those who have not purchased membership are welcome  to be at the event, taking photos and exploring static exhibits. The money raised by the membership subscriptions that day are then divided into an equal amount per vehicle per run operated and donated to the individuals who own each bus. As long as the amount donated didn't outweigh the cost the owner has outlaid in bringing the vehicle to the event, then this would still satisfy the 'not for hire or reward' clause required by the insurance of many preserved buses. 

What does everybody think?
(02 May 2016, 10:57 pm)James101 Wrote: There's been some discussion on facebook around the merits of charging money to attend bus rallies and running days - I'm wondering what opinion is on here.

There seems to be two main camps on the issue:

  1. Free events attract new people to the hobby and in turn promote further vehicle preservation
    There's a real concern that charging entry to a bus rally would vastly reduce visitor numbers to the point where it wouldn't be worth running the events at all. Additionally the added cost is likely to put of 'marginal' enthusiasts leaving only the dedicated few same people traipsing to the same events with the same people to see the same vehicles. This alone could lead to the decline of the hobby. This would also extend to family visitors who contribute massively to visitor numbers at many who enjoy a low-cost day out. Though many enthusiasts may see small children getting in the way of their photos an annoyance; without them it's unlikely commercial operators such as ANE & GNE would cease to send vehicles as there would be no potential customers to promote to. After all, there's no point showing off your new bus to enthusiasts who already know all about it!Many bus enthusiasts have cited the friendly and inclusive atmosphere of the scene they experienced as a youngster as the reason they continued their hobby onto bus ownership and preservation. If exclusion via cost begins it could be argues that many vehicles will be lost to the scrap pile in the future.         
  2. It is rude & ungrateful to not contribute to the running costs of a vehicle when an owner offers rides on it
    The first argument here is the most obvious. A preserved bus owner has already spend £000s on restoration and ongoing costs to keep their vehicle before they've but £150 of diesel in it to bring it to a running day. And certainly many owners are not overly wealthy individuals; just people with a passion and desire to keep vehicles special to them going. To open that hard work up to the public who could easily damage your well preserved bus and then receive a small donation from less than half of those on board will be infuriating. It would be understandable if an owner then decided not to enter their vehicle for running any more; leaving their bus as a static exhibit only. There would be still many enthusiasts who are able to appreciate a bus from looking at it but it would still not be the same as being able to board and hear it run. Again, this could lead to less interest and the increased likelihood of the bus event being pulled altogether. This would certainly be the case for running-based events such as the 500 group's day.  
The above is a summary of the arguments I've seen rather than my own opinion, which is very much that passengers should offer a donation to the owner of a preserved bus if it's being ran but an entry fee in addition to a donation to an event may kill it. 

A way forward could be charging a fee for a programme or similar and only those in possession of one may use the running services. 
 
As an example: ACME bus group holds an event, any bus from any group may enter to run. At rally control people may purchase one-day membership for £4 adult, £2 child, £8 family. Only members may ride buses running shuttles that day. Those who have not purchased membership are welcome  to be at the event, taking photos and exploring static exhibits. The money raised by the membership subscriptions that day are then divided into an equal amount per vehicle per run operated and donated to the individuals who own each bus. As long as the amount donated didn't outweigh the cost the owner has outlaid in bringing the vehicle to the event, then this would still satisfy the 'not for hire or reward' clause required by the insurance of many preserved buses. 

What does everybody think?
I agree completely.

Lots of families with tiny tots, yesterday - same level of enthusiasm as littl'un who just loves things on wheels. Thanks to the weather, though, it was already more heavily balanced towards nerds with cameras (nowt wrong with being a nerd with a camera, but still) than last year's event, which was the one that really sparked Big'un's interest in buses. We went last year because it was something to do on Littl'un's birthday that we could all enjoy, then go for lunch, afterwards.

Selling programs for those wanting a ride is a good idea. Programs were being sold at last year's Shildon event - paid extra for ours, since there was 4 of us. That said, the route advertised put us off the ride, yesterday. We'd already spent long enough sat in traffic, getting there and the near miss we witnessed with the Ulsterbus Tiger on our way in was a little offputting, since all the properly interesting vehicles were not made with that sort of traffic in mind.
(02 May 2016, 11:07 pm)BusLoverMum Wrote: I agree completely.

Lots of families with tiny tots, yesterday - same level of enthusiasm as littl'un who just loves things on wheels. Thanks to the weather, though, it was already more heavily balanced towards nerds with cameras (nowt wrong with being a nerd with a camera, but still) than last year's event, which was the one that really sparked Big'un's interest in buses. We went last year because it was something to do on Littl'un's birthday that we could all enjoy, then go for lunch, afterwards.

Selling programs for those wanting a ride is a good idea. Programs were being sold at last year's Shildon event - paid extra for ours, since there was 4 of us. That said, the route advertised put us off the ride, yesterday. We'd already spent long enough sat in traffic, getting there and the near miss we witnessed with the Ulsterbus Tiger on our way in was a little offputting, since all the properly interesting vehicles were not made with that sort of traffic in mind.

Hopefully, if funds were being raised, there would be more of an incentive to run an appealing schedule. The metrocentre is a bad example as there's little flex in the routes available. But it would be great if organisers has the mentality 'if we get more vehicles running, on an organised & advertised schedule, we can sell more tickets and make more money for the owners'.

Surely everybody wins?
(02 May 2016, 11:26 pm)James101 Wrote: Hopefully, if funds were being raised, there would be more of an incentive to run an appealing schedule. The metrocentre is a bad example as there's little flex in the routes available. But it would be great if organisers has the mentality 'if we get more vehicles running, on an organised & advertised schedule, we can sell more tickets and make more money for the owners'.

Surely everybody wins?

Aye - it's very much hemmed in by its location.
I remember going to an event in Shildon about 3 years ago.
The United bus that displays Aidensfield was running a shuttle.

I can't remember how they worded it, but the conductor came round and issued a.retro ticket and took a 'fare'.

It added to the experience and they got their donation.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
I completely agree with you, James. It's a difficult balance to strike - however such a programme (could feature route map(s) of the shuttle route(s), history of the route, previous NEBCS', latest news on GNE/ANE etc) would also be a good souvenir from an event like this. It'd be a shame to not maximise the publicity gained from what is undoubtedly one of the biggest events in the region.
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(02 May 2016, 11:34 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I remember going to an event in Shildon about 3 years ago.
The United bus that displays Aidensfield was running a shuttle.

I can't remember how they worded it, but the conductor came round and issued a.retro ticket and took a 'fare'.

It added to the experience and they got their donation.

That one was at a static dispay at Shildon, last week. We have a ticket from it!

Also shoved a few quid in the collection box in return for big'un having a sit in the cab and messing the destinations up!


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I did notice yesterday there was more photographers and enthusiasts than the general public, possibly because of the weather. This did make it easier to get photos than it normally is due to less families present. I would agree with paying some sort of donation to the owners after all the hard work and money spent on keeping these vehicles in operation.


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(02 May 2016, 10:57 pm)James101 Wrote: There's been some discussion on facebook around the merits of charging money to attend bus rallies and running days - I'm wondering what opinion is on here.

There seems to be two main camps on the issue:

  1. Free events attract new people to the hobby and in turn promote further vehicle preservation

  2. It is rude & ungrateful to not contribute to the running costs of a vehicle when an owner offers rides on it

    What does everybody think?

Trimmed some of your post down to avoid a huge quote - sorry Smile

I don't think that it's free events that attract new people to the hobby. It's well promoted and organised events, whilst providing value for money, that do.

This may prove to be a controversial statement to some, but NEBPT events aren't well promoted and organised. Apart from on this site and the classic bus listings, I can't recall seeing it mentioned anywhere else. We published details on our own Facebook page twice, which is more than NEBPT posted on their own social media.

I'm not by any means suggesting that they're poor events, but what I am suggesting is that they're not pushed and driven to the point of releasing any real potential. Instead, they're simply relying on word of mouth and the same folk attending year on year. At some point, someone needs to realise that what worked 10-15 years ago, doesn't necessarily work now, and the events just strike me as needing some fresh ideas.

On your second point, I do get where you're coming from, but I think a lot of it is people not understanding 'protocol', if you like? However, this wasnt restricted to one age group, before the inevitable conclusions begin... I've always been told that if someone is doing something voluntary for you, then give them a token of appreciation. This doesn't matter whether it's someone packing your bags in a supermarket, or someone ferrying you around on their preserved bus. It's not a commitment to have to donate a tenner at a time, but a donation is more than just monetary to me - it's appreciation and gratitude too.

We're lucky to have some fantastically presented preserved buses. Each year seems to draw more surprises, and this year was no exception. I only managed a ride out on two this year, and of course donated to both causes.

However, one thing that I'm reluctant to mention, but I will, seeing as I've read some Facebook threads on the subject: it's extremely offensive to refer to anyone as 'window lickers' and other derogatory terms. It's 2016, and I really thought we were past references such as that. You have the right to be disappointed that someone isn't donating to ride your bus or go to your event, but there is absolutely no place for that.

So what do we do to change things? Given that preservationists can't issue fares, it puts the onus back on people's gratitude and generosity. Perhaps one suggestion would be to offer day wristbands at the NEBPT stall? £5 for a wristband and the total amount raised is split and goes to the preservationists that ran out, as a donation from NEBPT. Programme sales obviously generate income too, but it'd have to be worth buying, or it won't sell.

Food for thought...

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Mod note: I've decided that this is perhaps a wider piece of discussion which probably deserves it's own thread. Whilst I appreciate the discussion stems from Sunday's event at the Metrocentre, I feel that this will be a topic throughout the rally season. Smile
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(03 May 2016, 1:07 pm)Adrian Wrote: This may prove to be a controversial statement to some, but NEBPT events aren't well promoted and organised. Apart from on this site and the classic bus listings, I can't recall seeing it mentioned anywhere else. We published details on our own Facebook page twice, which is more than NEBPT posted on their own social media.

I'm not by any means suggesting that they're poor events, but what I am suggesting is that they're not pushed and driven to the point of releasing any real potential. Instead, they're simply relying on word of mouth and the same folk attending year on year. At some point, someone needs to realise that what worked 10-15 years ago, doesn't necessarily work now, and the events just strike me as needing some fresh ideas.

On your second point, I do get where you're coming from, but I think a lot of it is people not understanding 'protocol', if you like? However, this wasnt restricted to one age group, before the inevitable conclusions begin... I've always been told that if someone is doing something voluntary for you, then give them a token of appreciation. This doesn't matter whether it's someone packing your bags in a supermarket, or someone ferrying you around on their preserved bus. It's not a commitment to have to donate a tenner at a time, but a donation is more than just monetary to me - it's appreciation and gratitude too.

However, one thing that I'm reluctant to mention, but I will, seeing as I've read some Facebook threads on the subject: it's extremely offensive to refer to anyone as 'window lickers' and other derogatory terms. It's 2016, and I really thought we were past references such as that. You have the right to be disappointed that someone isn't donating to ride your bus or go to your event, but there is absolutely no place for that.

Also trimmed above - apologies!

I agree there's need for organisational change. Poor engagement with the wider community is chronic across bus enthusiasm. The Showbus website, for instance, looks like it's using the same template from 1998 and is a complete headache to read. Even this is one of the better promotional tools as most events have no online presence. 

It would make sense for preservation groups to actively recruit some tech-savvy members who could run a professional facebook page or website. It's also about thinking outside the box. Would it be worth spending £150 on highly-effective facebook advertising? It could be organised so an advert for the Metrocentre Rally would appear as a suggested post in the news feeds of people who already live in the area and 'like' bus companies and/or pages relating to family events. The money would be repaid through increased patronage at the event. If there was a paid programme or wristband system for rides in place this could make a lot of money. 

It's about being tactical too. Harsh as it sounds some buses could be used as 'cash cows' for the event. Us enthusiasts will have our favourites and wait for the turn of that vehicle to do a run. A Leyland National or Volvo B10BLE, however, may have no appeal to the family visitor who harnesses the real donating power. Would it be worth having say, a Routemaster and on open-top vehicle doing constant short circuits around the area as these are more likely to appeal to the casual observer and potentially carry hundreds of passengers and generate £00s in donations. It would also free up space on the 'less exciting' buses for enthusiasts! 

As for the derogatory comments we've all seen made by some on facebook; those people should be ashamed. Grown adults behaving like school bullies is disgusting. BusLoverMum has posted recently around how our hobby often appeals to those with social difficulties - and even if this isn't a factor they should have the knackers to politely discuss with non-donators the cost they've encountered in restoring the vehicle they've brought. I strongly believe those brave enough to take the plunge into bus preservation should be supported by the wider community, including financially at running events. Education around the subject is clearly the way forward, rather than name-calling and exclusion.
I'm going to throw my hat in the ring here!

The programmes are a brilliant idea and I like the idea of it being not just about the rally on that day. There are over 100 of us on the forum if we all did some sort of article for a programme threw it all together it would be something worth reading and selling!

Also the big operators normally turn up because the drivers put the graft in behind the scenes to try and convince the management to release a bus for the day (GNE at metrocenter not included)

People are mentioning advertising... How many shops are there in the Metrocenter most of which have 2 maybe more windows! Hate to be sexist here (Sorry Biguns mum) most lads when they get dragged shopping by the other half stand outside at some point. There's a million TV screens in there, with it being at the metrocenter I'm sure they would put an advert on if they were asked

Did anyone think to ask Arriva or Go North East to mention it on their Facebook page? They are always willing to promote something that puts them in the spotlight for a good reason and given some of the reviews Arriva got at Metrocenter it's pretty much compounded what I'm getting at here.

I hate to say it but it's the little things that are messing rallies up. The Big 3 (Not as much SNE as the other two) and the preservationists are doing there bit and I can see why they feel let down a bit look at Durham last year for example!

Sorry for going on and on
Been viewing the posts in here plus seeing stuff on Facebook about this, so I've had time to think about things and this is what I've come to think about the rallies in the North East. Some of this will echo what others have already said.

Advertising for the events does need looking at, seems like some of the event organisers are in the mindset of thinking that everyone knows when and where the rally is held, so why bother mentioning it on Facebook and such when everyone knows about it, there will be some people who won't know if/when the event is, especially with the MetroCentre event having to move to the Monday last year. I imagining preservation groups are not wanting to pay much/anything for any form of advertising, so I doubt we are likely to see them putting posters or owt like that in the MetroCentre. The event that I feel that really needs advertising is the Whitley Bay rally in July as when I went last year it seemed to mostly be enthusiasts attending especially those who are members of this forum and about the only other people that seemed to be around were people who happened to be walking past whilst out walking the dog.

It's tricky trying to think of ways to better fund the events plus the people who have brought the buses along to the event, it is good having collection buckets but I feel that they should be clearly visible to try and get people to put some money in them, at the 500 Group's Teesside Running Day I was on one preserved bus and I couldn't seem to see anything like this to put money into, so for that journey I ended up giving them nowt which I actually feel bad about, at the Kirkby Stephen/Brough rally many of the buses I went on had a visible bucket or someone holding something to put money in when passengers alighted the bus, as such every bus I went on at that event got some dough from me (excluding the Ribble RE as although that is from the Lancastrian Transport Trust collection, it's often in the hands of Catch22Bus who are a commercial operator and it sort of blows the classic image seeing the base plate for a Wafer ticket machine! ) I ain't really sure on other ways to make money apart from programmes or something along those lines.

One thing that is probably a make or break situation for rallies is what is in attendance at the events, in most cases we are probably expecting it to be mostly old preserved buses which will mostly appeal to the older enthusiasts and general public but it won't appeal as much to the younger enthusiasts and public and it seems like some of the younger generation especially families with children are often drawn more to the younger buses there, namely those with the major commercial operators such as Arriva and Go North East especially the latter as they were doing ride outs and some kids will simply want to go out on the bright and colourful buses especially if it's a double decker, so I think this is helping to keep some of the younger generation heading to the events, even on my Flickr the Go North East and Arriva photos got the biggest views and favourites, whereas some of the preserved stuff got nowt, that may be just a case of where the people who follow me intrest lies within the hobby though and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. With these things in mind, it's no good referring to them with terms such as "window lickers" as if people are seeing stuff like this on Facebook it may put people off going if people think they are just going to be given offensive terms for being there. Back to the stuff in attendance, it is good having a collection of preserved stuff there but if you go to these events all the time you may get sick of the same stuff each time and is even worse when you attend all/more than one of these North East events, I'll be honest if it wasn't for the fact that there wasn't people there I know to talk to I probably would have left after an hour or so as there wasn't much of intrest to me and some of the stuff that was didn't go out on any tours with much of the stuff out on tours being stuff I've already been on in preservation and then there's the Go North East stuff as well which I personally ain't that intrested in although I did get the trainer coach and 3818 which were intresting rides. I also noticed the absence of some of the independent operators who normally appear, can't help but wonder where the likes of Kingsley's, Scarlet Band and Stagecarriage were and why they have decided not to attend?

In addition to the stuff in attendance, I feel if tours are going to be done, I personally prefer that the buses do various different routes as it adds some variety to proceedings, for example the 500 Group's Teesside Running Day this year had various different routes for the tours to run which was nice as you got to see various different parts of Teesside rather than just Swalwell over and over again! It's bad when I actually was pleased to be going down the A1 on my journey on 3818. The other advantages of the varied tours at the 500 Group's event do is there is more photo opportunities, you can get photos in different town's on that event whereas the only unique photo ops at the MetroCentre Rally is when something is moving to a different part of the coach park or to photograph stuff arriving/leaving the event sadly I was unable to get stuff arriving in the morning due to the lack of transport options I have, so I ended up with endless shots in the coach park, woo! Even a stop somewhere on these tours would have been nice but sadly it was non-stop journeys (excluding the traffic round the MetroCentre).

I think programmes are a good idea if it details what's going out on shuttles and when as it allows you to plan the day and get what you want, if there's a gap of stuff of intrest to you, that time could be used to get lunch, it's a bit irritating guessing if/when stuff goes out especially if you decide to head to say Spoons for dinner then you find out the thing you really wanted to go has done a trip whilst you were eating your lunch.

These are just my thoughts on what I feel about rallies, feel free to agree/disagree with them.
Hello.
I have read all the above and I am very interested to see this from the enthusiasts view. I try and make my buses available for people to see them at these events and love to hear the feedback from them.
However very few owners put there bus forward to do these runs. I don't because of the shear cost to run them. FTN 710W will do 18 miles to the gallon on A long constant run. Around the doors 5. R855 PRG will do 20 miles to the gallon on A long run. 8 round the doors.
This said, like last year I am willing to run both buses for A trip each at Durham.
4855 was requested many times to run last Sunday. But it was her very first event and we decided to keep her on show instead.

Like I said before. Some owners don't like anyone on there bus. I don't take that stance. I actively encourage people to come and have A look inside. As long as you ask first.
Craig Smith. NNRG Operations Engineer. NNRG. Bus Preservationists of the North East.
There has been some very valid feedback after each rally event this season which has highlighted some pitfalls each event has. Issues have ranged from venue size (Durham), public awareness (Tyne Tees Run) to dull shuttle routes (Metrocentre).

I'd like to suggest a new event which may alleviate some of these - a rally held at the Northern Echo Arena (ex Darlington FC Stadium). The principle of a stadium hosting a rally is successful at the popular POPS running day in Stoke-on-Trent.    

It's a great location for accessibility; not only for the great selection of buses present in the North East already, but the short distance from the A1 and A66 would make the event appealing to preservationists form Yorkshire and Cumbria. 

To discuss the site itself, I imagine access would be fairly easy to arrange - the stadium is vastly underused and it's likely the Rugby Club who now operate the site would engage the positive PR. I've attached below how I would see the site being used:
     

The yellow area indicates the amble visitor parking - this area is also well segregated from buses thus favouring photography and is sensible for safety, segregated entrances for buses and cars could be possible.   

The pink area shows there is more than enough space for stalls and refreshment stands The area may indeed be too much space, but it will serve as a welcoming reception area as people walk from the car park. The ample space lends itself to the possibility of inviting food vans and eBay sellers to the event. 

The green area is where I would suggest static displays are held - I estimate there is room for at least 20 buses to be parked reasonably well spaced to make for good photography. Once all the displays are parked there will be no vehicle movement during the day, which lends itself to safety in this area. 

The red area would be a good place to park vehicles which will be used in shuttle runs. We've learned it is sensible to segregate static and shuttle buses during the day and the Darlington site is excellent for this. There is still room in this area to park buses in a 'V' format (as per M'boro bus station), and house around 20 buses. The central 'road' can be marshaled to clear pedestrians before buses move. 

When I attended the POPS rally, I noticed what appeared to be a 'holding pen' where vehicles due to be used in shuttles within the next 15 minutes moved to so any preparations for service could be made and the bus could depart on time. I would suggest this area is fenced off from general visitors due to the volume of vehicle movements in this area. This would be a key area for preservationist drivers to communicate with a traffic controller to ensure smooth running of services. In terms of bus stops, I would say the best solution would be have a loading only stop after the holding pen and an alighting stop just before the pen; thus enforcing a one-way flow of vehicles through the site. 



For shuttles, I would suggest the following routes:

Rally site - Railway Station - Tubwell Row - Rally site
This route could run every 15 minutes, taking 20 minutes as a round trip and covering 2.9 miles. It's a rather simple route along Neasham Road with a loop in the Town Centre. As a key feature of this route, I would like to suggest drivers may 'pre-volunteer' to operate inbound services from the station and Town Centre on their way to the rally site in the morning to help transport those arriving by public transport in the morning. 

Rally Site - Durham Tees Valley Airport - Rally Site
This route could run every 30 minutes, taking 30 minutes as a round trip (inclusive of 5 min photo stop at the airport) - covering 10.8 miles. This route would be suitable for bus owners who would prefer the more open roads of the A66/A67 and enthusiasts who enjoy some engine thrash! There is, of course, some crossover on interests for many at the airport some some may choose to hop off there and observe whatever aircraft may be around before getting the next shuttle back. 

Rally Site -  Railway Station - Head of Steam/North Road - Shildon Locomotion 
More of a special excursion, but ideally 4 return journeys taking 30 minutes each way. Again, this touches on the crossover of interests many enthusiasts have with the railway and this route could be a big pull for those visiting out of the region who could visit other attractions on the same day. There is also then the possibility to promote the event via the two museums. 

It's been mentioned on several occasions that these events need to get into the 21st century; so my next suggestion may seem radical. Although a published timetable would naturally for sale so the proceeds could be donated to operating vehicle owners - sometimes things go wrong and vehicles can't operate. In this case, I would suggest the rally control would operate a live twitter feed which could, in turn, appear on Facebook and their own website. This way every can check in with updates, cancelations and substitutions rather than the current system of hearsay and rumours.

Eg. '13:00 Rally Site-T'well Row: UTN501Y replaced by SHN80L' 

I would also ideally place a visible marshal at Tubwell Row and the Rail Station who would guide visitors and sell programmes/timetables. 


In conclusion, this is just a pipe dream. I have few contacts and no influence in the preservation and rally scene so this is purely a representation of how I think things could improve. In general, marketing and promotion of these events needs improving, embracing social media. The rally scene needs to be opened up to a wider audience to survive and thrive - buses could be attracted from a wider area and more members of the public should be introduced to our hobby. Openness and inclusion, including cross-generation co-operation, can only be a good thing.
Aye. There's a few sites with potential - that one not least because of easy accessibility form so many places. The town shuttles could pick up people relying on public transport.

I think, disregarding the amount of traffic, the main drawback with the shuttle route in Durham was that the return journey was rather challenging for some vehicles. We caught the green "Stockton" decker from North Road back to Howlands and it really stunk of burning oil by the time we reached the top. It explained to Big'un why there were watering cans on board, mind!
(22 Jun 2016, 11:00 pm)BusLoverMum Wrote: Aye. There's a few sites with potential - that one not least because of easy accessibility form so many places. The town shuttles could pick up people relying on public transport.

I think, disregarding the amount of traffic, the main drawback with the shuttle route in Durham was that the return journey was rather challenging for some vehicles. We caught the green "Stockton" decker from North Road back to Howlands and it really stunk of burning oil by the time we reached the top. It explained to Big'un why there were watering cans on board, mind!

I get the impression the 'old order' of organisational teams are anti-change. Keeping a rally in the same format/location purely because 'it's been like that for years' isn't really a good reason. There's an argument to be had that the more events there is may dilute the quality of each one; a time may come to bite the bullet and it's decided to disband one or two of the small events plagued with operational issues in favour of a new event which is planned to be big from the beginning.
(22 Jun 2016, 10:39 pm)James101 Wrote: For shuttles, I would suggest the following routes:

Rally site - Railway Station - Tubwell Row - Rally site
This route could run every 15 minutes, taking 20 minutes as a round trip and covering 2.9 miles. It's a rather simple route along Neasham Road with a loop in the Town Centre. As a key feature of this route, I would like to suggest drivers may 'pre-volunteer' to operate inbound services from the station and Town Centre on their way to the rally site in the morning to help transport those arriving by public transport in the morning. 
I admit that is a rather sound idea, however there is a issue with one of your routes. The Bridge on Neasham Road is a low bridge at 12ft 6in which prohibits the use of double deckers.
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(23 Jun 2016, 1:32 pm)James101 Wrote: I get the impression the 'old order' of organisational teams are anti-change. Keeping a rally in the same format/location purely because 'it's been like that for years' isn't really a good reason. There's an argument to be had that the more events there is may dilute the quality of each one; a time may come to bite the bullet and it's decided to disband one or two of the small events plagued with operational issues in favour of a new event which is planned to be big from the beginning.

Aside from Howlands (and quite possibly the Transporter Bridge), I don't think the sites are necessarily the problem and there is some merit to having the same annual events scheduled as regular visitors know where it is; when it's on; and how to to get there. The problem, and it's something you and others have touched upon, is the format, organisation and promotion of the events themselves. That, in my view, is the fundamental thing which must change otherwise it doesn't matter where the event is held or how publicly accessible it is, if the event doesn't appeal to the wider public or if it's not properly promoted, attendances will continue dwindle.
(23 Jun 2016, 5:35 pm)GMitchelhill Wrote: I admit that is a rather sound idea, however there is a issue with one of your routes. The Bridge on Neasham Road is a low bridge at 12ft 6in which prohibits the use of double deckers.

Ah, I see. Maybe there could be alternate route via the A66 and A617/Grange Road. I estimate this route would still take 20 minutes as a return trip. If routes were numbered, a 15 min service could still run between Tubwell Row, Rail Station and Rally Site, albeit by alternating two routes.