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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    I am inclined to agree but I may visit the MHR, our local line. Went to Royal Victoria Park today to talk to Peter who runs the 10.25 inch gauge railway. He and three other volunteers werr carrying out maintenance but Peter doubts if they will reopen this year as the Park Authorities/ Hants CC are insisting on face masks despite the carriages not being enclosed and open to the air plus the railway agreeing to shut off every other compartment. The authorities are insisting that the railway provides the masks which on top of VAT and the mandatory contribution to the Park makes it unviable.
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I certainly share your concerns, having sat through a rather long Zoom meeting yesterday going through some of the rules and restrictions for the GWSR as well it left me wondering whether anyone would actually want to turn up. I don't think I would, just as a visitor.
     
  3. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Forgive me but you need to be a little less "precious" if you want such places to survive.
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It does highlight an important concern though. As you frequently like to remind us Paul, the majority of passengers are not enthusiasts but the general public. If a railway goes under because they didn't turn up to a steam train ride where they were glued to their compartment seats for a single round trip with little opportunity to do anything, the public aren't going to lose their weekend hobby, they might lose a day trip perhaps once a year, which they will easily replace with something else.
     
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  5. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    All these places will need to maintain the operating competencies of their staff and also remind potential customers that they are still there. It does not need to be the full distance ( as you are fully aware I think a lot of places are too long as it is) but it is far too easy to turn heads to the wall without trying.
     
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  6. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    The point is not whether to try but whether when they do try it will bring in enough fares to be worth continuing. Post 3840 gives a convincing case for an enthusiast staying away, and that applies a fortiori to Joe Public.
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Ultimately all passengers as individuals will decide what constitutes value - I think it is very hard to second guess, but equally I wouldn't criticise any individual for whatever personal view they come to. For example on face masks - will the prevailing attitude be that people have had to wear them on their daily commute and the last thing they want to do is wear them at the weekend? Or will it be that actually their use has become normalised completely? Four months ago nobody wore masks; now I reckon 10 - 20% of the population round here are wearing them just round and about in they street. This year has turned so many assumptions upside down that I wouldn't want to predict how people will feel even six weeks from now. Government guidance could also change, but again that could go either way, depending on what is happening with the trend in new cases.

    My sense is that there is a degree of flexibility in what we are trying to do: a fixed service only at weekends, with a separate dining service to try another market, but with scope to either increase or decrease according to demand. I'm waiting to see what the precise conditions are for footplate crew, but we have been asked for availability and I think there will be a push to get as many drivers and firemen back as possible, if necessary with reassessment, to ensure continuity of competence. (We ran footplate courses in January / February this year; and service trains from mid February to mid March, so quite a number of crews will have operational experience from this year. I'd done about four loco turns I think).

    Tom
     
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  8. Nimbus

    Nimbus New Member

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    It is of course for each individual to make their own choice about visiting or volunteering at any railway. Personally, I was very happy to get back to work at the Bluebell last Wednesday with the Lineside Gang. Obviously it is fairly easy to maintain social distancing on the lineside, maybe harder on stations and trains. My wife pretty much ordered me out of the house and weather permitting I'll be there each Wednesday helping to get the railway ready and looking good. I'm certainly planning on having a ride on August 7th or as soon after as possible.
     
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  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Indeed. I have a 12 year old daughter desperate to go to a zoo to see animals. We know both within sensible driving distance of us, and my wife and I find the thought of either under social distancing truly depressing. One is offering a one way route round the site, and enjoyment will be limited because there can't be access to the animal houses. The other has larger grounds, and more space, but has said no picnics; we were not impressed with the food on offer before. With some other specific constraints on us, we are trying to avoid visiting despite both the pleasure our daughter will get from the trip and our knowledge of how much these places need support.

    On the terms of the Bluebell offering (out of family day trip range in any case, but likely to be similar to others), the combination of compromises and costs of a visit to a preserved line are likely to be as offputting - especially as a family trip to a railway is always a matter of domestic compromise with my wife and daughter.

    I've a couple of railways in mind that I'd like to visit, and may well try to visit, but the issues for enthusiasts are real and shouldn't be under-estimated.
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I agree to an extent - it’s hard, and no doubt done railways will make mistakes along the way, and misjudge the market. But if we want our hobby to amount to more than just online discussions of “low water incidents I have known” and the latest soap opera in Somerset, we have to try some things, many of which will be different. Hopefully the new normal - whatever that is - will be both viable and enjoyable, for both volunteers and passengers.

    Tom
     
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  11. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Something I'm sure a lot of us will want to know is how much a compartment will cost. Will it vary depending upon the number of people travelling in it, or a flat rate?
     
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  12. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I completely agree - and I wish all of the railway managements trying to work out what to do for the best the very best in navigating the shoals they're faced with. My comments are from a customer's point of view, as someone saddened that 2020 will probably see the longest period without rail travel in my adult life (last rail journey Saturday 14th March).
     
  13. Jdwitts

    Jdwitts New Member

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    Unfortunately this will be the new normal for any railway until a vaccine is found. I'm excited the line is opening and would be happy to visit a social distanced Bluebell with family when I'm next able, and to wear a face covering.

    At the risk of moving into the COVID thread territory, comfortable multi-layer masks are now cheaply and easily available online (redbubble and Etsy), so other than discomfort, I haven't seen a good argument for not wearing one when you can't socially distance. The benefits of joining that 10-20% that currently wear them regularly is of course a significant reduction in the chance of viral transmission (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/06/08/science.abc6197), but also normalisation. The more people see other people wearing them, the less likely they are to feel uncomfortable doing so themselves.
     
  14. PILLBOX MAN

    PILLBOX MAN New Member

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    According to the BB stock list which may not be current they have some 10 wooden bodied operational (?) carriages all compartments with a total of 45 compartments? 3360/3188/7598/114/1098/1520 and 4 Mets. First class can be offered.
    This excludes 4 CK or BCKs.
    They will be in a good position to offer compartments to 45 bookings if the above are still runners per train provided they are sensibly priced which will be difficult, because if a 2 person group books a compartment they lose 4 fares but perhaps best to get it all running and see what numbers are booked. Lets wait and see, 7 August is a few weeks away and running is at weekends only. Allowing no single bookings could alienate society members and enthusiasts who donate a lot but you wont necessarily know who they are. Difficult.
     
  15. David R

    David R Well-Known Member

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    I believe the plan is to use the Mets initially.

    Most of the 4 wheelers need some maintenance work doing to them (the Mets require their regular maintenance but there is no reason to believe that they need any additional mechanical work whilst it is known that some of the 4 wheelers require some mechanical work)).

    David R
     
  16. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    I have to commute by train to and from work wearing a face mask. The thought of going to a preserved line and doing the same doesn't appeal in the slightest. It's meant to be a fun day out.
     
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  17. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, but the thesis you promote is not as robust as you suggest and remains contentious.
     
  18. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    But on balance likely - including research from Germany showing a 30-40% reduction in transmission where masks are worn.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  19. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I suspect the discussion on the efficacy or otherwise of face masks would be better had on another thread. The railway will need to take heed of the advice and guidance from the Government, the ORR and its insurers. It’s for others to argue whether that advice is scientifically valid.

    Tom
     
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