re the discussion about Goodrington and Churston on the Torbay and Dartmouth I can throw a little more light on the matter after a chat with one of their staff. Along with a number of other heritage railways they have focussed their operations on getting the most income for the least effort. This isn't a criticism as if you are working with 100% paid staff you can't do the things that don't make money. Remember that the T & D is not and never has been, a "preserved railway" in its original sense. Many years ago I went there for a job and the then general manager made this very clear, in fact he commented that "if we could make more money by using diesels and renting deck chairs then we would"!
Encouraging pre-booking and not stopping at the intermediate stations simplifies the tickets and seat allocations, remember that in peak times this line experienced serious overcrowding on the last train from Kingswear. Another important reason is that cutting out the stops saves time, thus more trains can be run in the core period when the punters want to travel and this promotes an even flow of passengers allowing fixed train formations. Since taking ownership of the boats the railway has very much become a funnel to get people onto the ferries and over to Dartmouth. Not so interesting for the enthusiasts but they don't generate the income. I went there in the early summer, for the first time since the 1970s. The operation is very slick and reminded me of BR days as did the staff! I don't know if you've ever been to Wookey Hole but the entrance hall at Paignton also reminded me of this as it's loaded with rubbishy knicknacks to entice people to spend money on things they don't need while queuing for a ticket.
The North Yorkshire Moors has also streamlined operations, again to get people to and from Whitby. For the Whitby trains you have to buy the whole line ticket and can only return on the train you arrived on. You can get off at Goathland or Grosmont but can't board another train having to wait for yours to return and you then forfeit the cost of the trip to Whitby. A "local" Pickering to Grosmont service has now been introduced but for practical purposes this is one out and back service in each direction. The Welsh Highland and the Ffestiniog are also engaged in this practice effectively selling the railway equivalent of a coach tour.
The new generation of marketing people on the larger heritage railways have little or no railway background and no appreciation of the operation of a more traditional heritage railway thus much of the atmosphere has been lost. Even the Bodmin and Wenford pushes intended visitors to the "round trip" ticket, have given up calling at Colesloggett ( although it still appears in the timetable) and now go out of their way to avoid making connections with main line trains, the reason why platform two was built!
Times have changed and unfortunately a lot of the original ethos of the heritage lines has been lost.
I have recently been looking up old records regarding the Nuclear Flask trains to Devonport in the 199s and have come across the enclosed which is a straight copy of a photograph.
In the 199s British Railways had the contract to convey Nuclear Material to and from Devonport to Sellafield and supplied the train for the purpose. The train comprised a huge wagon which, from memory, had a 8 wheel bogie at either end and was a well wagon with strengthened sides to take care of any side impact which I think was made by Head Wrightson.
The train had 2 former B R Mk 1 BSKs which I think were numbered 99150 and 99151. These vehicles were there to help preserve the cargo from front and back impact but were also for the conveyance of MOD personnel and MOD Police when the flask was conveying high grade Nuclear Materials. In the earlier days the train had a Goods Brake Van at the rear for the use of the B R employees.
The train normally passed through Exeter between 21.00 and 23.00, under the cover of darkness, and you could normally tell when such a train was coming up from Devonport by the action of the B T Police who would congregate on Red Cow Crossing to protect the train from protesters, as they generally appeared at the same time and it was strongly suspected that someone in the know was feeding them the information.
I have searched the internet and there seems to be no mention of the original train and only gets a mention when the Peak Class locomotive was deliberately driven into a Flask to prove the crashworthiness and later when the new Wagons and Flasks were introduced by DRS.
Exeter St Davids
Martin J Duff.