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National lineside permits

Discussion in 'Photography' started by 73129, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Again you miss a subtle point of procedure - it is not whether a HRA PTS would be 'acceptable' to individual Heritage Railways - its whether the HMRI / ORR and the insurance industry would consider it as robust as the current arrangements.

    Also comparisons with the Sentinel scheme should be done carefully, as the Sentinel scheme requires:

    The PTS holder has to:-

    Check the validity of their PTS compliance every time the enter non public railway infrastructure via an online portal accessed through a QR code on their photo ID card. If there is no internet signal than the card can be checked by calling a 24hr phone number and quoting the card holders unique ID - but such a procedure can only be done 3 times before the card is automatically suspended
    Have a pre-planned Safe System Of Work Pack detailing all risks and hazards or the stretch of line they are on.
    Have a COSS (Controller of Site Safety) appointed if there is more than a single person (If only one person is going lineside then they are known as an IWA (individual Working Alone) and are restricted as to what they can do.
    (In future it may become necessary to 'swipe out' so that fatigue etc can be monitored too).

    As such just because someone may have a NR PTS that in no way gives them permission to enter NR infrastructure whenever they feel like it, the company standards making it very clear you should only do so if your duties require it - and going lineside without a SWOPS pack it is a sackable offence anyway!

    Companies to:-

    Have certified training systems in place to ensure the PTS is of a sufficiently high standard.
    Recertify everyone at a maximum interval of every 2 years to ensure the necessary knowledge is retained by the individual.
    Reliable and quick methods available to inform Sentinel if a persons entitlement is suspended or if the card has been lost.
    Pay a significant membership fee to cover the costs of the scheme.

    Given all this, the question has to be asked - Is it really worth all the extra expense and hassle just so photographers can take pictures? - particularly as on most lines there are plenty of public vantage points (overbridges, foot crossings, etc) which are just as suitable.
     
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  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That is a question only the respective railways can answer. Some lines at present obviously think it a worthwhile exercise.
     
  3. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Member

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    I understand your point and agree with your summation in regard to the legislation. However this is where I think many of us have difficulty: this seems to be basically a massive paper exercise which, when push comes to shove, will do little to prevent accidents. It can only be used to assign or apportion blame after the event. However much the theoreticians may wish otherwise most people do not have the will (or, sometimes, the ability) to wade through umpteen pages of "bumf" and absorb it all. Just look at what you have written above : references to ROGS,SMS,PTS,ORR, and HMRI , an alphabet soup in one small paragraph, and you, or rather the Ministry, seriously expect people of all backgrounds to understand it. Most of us, in nearly all trades and professions, learnt by practical experience supplemented from time to time by a bit of "book-learning". Any experienced instructor will tell you that people learn in different ways and not everything is written in books.
    Perhaps there is a need to reconsider this paper-driven approach and recognise that sometimes Less is More. Several writers have pointed out that it is simply impractical to make two trips to a distant line in order to attend a briefing course before obtaining certification and then returning for the event. There must be simpler ways of delivering the necessary information.
     
  4. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    Liability is a strange matter, and doesn't necessarily follow what you or I would consider "common sense". I forget the full details, but a project I was involved in commissioning saw a change of supplier because without certain insurances in place, we as customer would have carried the full H&S liability for anything that happened to the supplier's personnel. As @The Dainton Banker says, we should acknowledge that it requires specialist advice. As such, we should not be surprised if different questions, asked of different advisors at different times give rise to different answers.
     
  5. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Well-Known Member Friend

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    I think that is the nub of the matter -individual railways vary in their attitude to risk, and any railway must decide whether to accept or reject a "National Heritage PTS" based on their own risk assessment and cost benefit analysis, (which would include items such as potential extra insurance requirements, time and staff requirements for administration/issuing of local rules etc, marketing/brand benefits amongst other things) If the "National Heritage PTS" is not universally accepted, it then becomes less attractive, and we are into a game of diminishing returns.
    As a point of discussion, when I last purchased a Bluebell photographer's lineside pass, the safety course I attended included a lot of detail of the locations of safe access to the trackside, both from roads/footpaths as well as stations, and also the "no go" areas, and one of the factors I know the MHR take into consideration regarding lineside access is their relationship with local farmers as problems have arisen in the past with parking of linesiders' cars and damage to fences/gates/crops.
     
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  6. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    I was speaking more about a national HRA run PTS scheme - not in the context of individual lines making their own bespoke arrangements (or not) as regards non staff PTS
     
  7. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    But the challenge there is not how to understand the alphabet soup - as an aside, I think the degree of procedure on the mainline is a major factor underlying a number of incidents that RAIB have reported on - but to make that information available in a digestible format. As there's probably an overlap between photographers and volunteers, I'd be surprised if photographers were less capable of learning to the required level - and if they are, it might make me ask some questions about where they should be.

    However, that also requires an engagement from those to whom this applies - which includes travelling to attend the briefing. If it's any good, it should - as @Hampshire Unit says his at the Bluebell was - it should cover more than just the PTS requirements, so as to help in their photography.
     
  8. 73129

    73129 Member

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    If a national lineside permit was to become accepted by all perserved railway a short course and a hand book could over come the places you can and can't go. I didn't see this being a issue myself. Maybe photographers could buy there own insurance to over come any liability issues with going lineside. I don't think the cost would be that high for insurance. I say this because sometime ago I used a metal detector and we weren't alllowed on to fields without insurance.

    I would think more damage has been done by non PTS holders than by people with a PTS. If photographers can't access the lineside they will find areas next to the railway which will most probably upset local landowners.
     
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  9. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    I understand where you are coming from, however the law is the law - and non compliance (however much of an arse covering / over the top reaction / bureaucracy gone made it may seem) has potentially devastating repercussions for any railway infrastructure owner found to be in breach.

    The other point is that, as far as the lineside photographer is concerned, they don't need to worry about the 'alphabet soup' of acronyms as you describe it, nor do they need to be in contact with any regulatory bodies. All they need to obtain is a PTS that will be valid for the railway they wish to visit.

    In that respect there is not a massive amount of learning / study necessary:- the Bluebells PTS course is a few hours long at most and at least half of it could potentially be considered as 'Generic' to all Heritage Railways*

    (* That doesn't mean any railway can skimp on such things - they still need proof that the individual knows it to comply with the relevant legislation)

    Its the railway itself that has to worry about acronyms - or to be more accurate, the regulatory bodies / legislation etc pertaining to said acronyms.

    If nothing else perhaps this thread is uses full in drawing attention to the fact that what may seem on the surface be a 'simple' thing to arrange (which it will be for the end user) involves an awful lot of backstage including all manor of considerations that probably won't even occur to the end user.
     
  10. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Well-Known Member Friend

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    Agreed re damage, but not exclusively non PTS holders I fear. As for "a short course and handbook" to cover local requirements, then are we not back to each railway doing its own thing? The MHR PTS course and Bluebell Railway Photographers Access course cover pretty much the same basics (wear suitable high visibility clothing, acknowledge trains, stand in a place of safety when trains pass you etc) but there is more to it than that. If you are going to do a course for each railway anyway, it kind of defeats the object of a "National" pass in the first place.
     
  11. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Again, you like others are ignoring the relevant legislation. It is NOT ACCEPTABLE for any railway to let individuals make their own arrangements with respect to being on their infrastructure as detailed in ROGS legislation. Thus even if a potential photographer had arranged their own insurance and obtained a PTS from someone else - the law still effectively requires them to furnish the infrastructure owner with proof that said insurance / PTS meets the owners requirement. In other words simply producing a certificate is not enough to prove compliance with the law / insurance company requirements, the railway needs the background data to back it up (which it will have if you attend one of their own PTS courses). In many ways its a bit like a maths exam - giving the correct answer will not get you full marks, you need to show evidence of how you got there to claim all the marks on offer - only as far as insurance companies and the ORR are concerned full marks are essential, almost correct is not good enough.

    Also Railways are not the same as other landowners with regard to legislation gnerally so you cannot draw parallels with other hobbies such as metal detecting on other peoples land.
     
  12. 7P6F

    7P6F Member

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    Regardless of how sensible a post is you just keep droning on. It's the sort of diatribe that anaethetises reason. It makes me think why bother with LSP's and PTS tests, just go lineside regardless. In all the years I've been linesiding with the requisite permissions and correct HVV for the line I'm on I've only been asked to see my pass on a few occasions and never on a none gala day. When I have seen others challenged without the necessary the worst that has happened was to be politely told to move to a public vantage point. So in effect why should I bother and as far as safety is concerned I can draw on my experience of bunking Crewe North, Edge Hill and others starting when I was an 11 year old.
     
  13. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

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    I think you're just proving the point of the railways ditching lineside passes. As a lawyer with no knowledge of railway regulation but plenty of the Occupiers Liability Acts of both 1957 and 1984 I would be very nervous of having anyone linesiding at any railway I was involved with.
     
  14. 7P6F

    7P6F Member

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    Creating problems that are not there in order to beef up the bill seems to be their speciality.
     
  15. 73129

    73129 Member

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    So where do we go from here. Are we going to see more railways abandoned line side permits.
     
  16. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

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    Not at all - I act on defending claims rather than bringing them, but I do find as a lawyer that knowing what the law says is quite useful...
     
  17. TheLairdofNetherMoor

    TheLairdofNetherMoor New Member

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    That's it, as far as I'm concerned. There are numerous preserved lines that don't offer lineside passes, yet I regularly see photographers lineside on them. What is the situation for those railways? Are they covered by saying something along the lines of "we have a policy that no public access is allowed inside the fence and signs are placed at all public access points clearly stating that there is no access and trespassers will be prosecuted."?

    If ROGS / ORR / HMRI etc. make allowing official access too much hassle / too expensive compared to the income generated by the permit system, then essentially we go back to the situation where the official line is "no access", but the reality is that access happens and most of the time a blind eye is turned to it. Of course, should the worst happen, then a keen lawyer may challenge the railway involved and demonstrate that they have been negligent by turning a blind eye to this unofficial access and they may be deemed culpable. I guess that each railway has to decide if this is a risk worth taking - to date the safety record of lineside photographers appears to be pretty good and I'm not aware that any enthusiast or their partner has attempted to take a railway to court due to an injury sustained while photographing on a preserved line. The railways just lose out on the income stream they currently have from photographers permits.

    Surely coming up with a sensible solution along the lines of what people are discussing here - i.e. a standardised national PTS style test with some way of incorporating local rules etc. has to be better than that? I'd go as far as to say that it would be better than the current line specific system, because I'm absolutely certain that there will be numerous photographers who have undergone the safety training to access their local line(s), but then visit another line and access the lineside "unofficially", simply because they weren't able to justify attending the local course for a one-off trip to that line. Having a national scheme that can incorporate safety examples and working practices from preserved railways across the country, including access to local rules for individual lines could overcome that issue. The course content is agreed by participating railways and they maintain a set of local rules in "the cloud" that can be downloaded by prospective linesiders. Before official access is granted, they must sign a copy of the local rules and lodge it with the railway, whether in "the cloud" or as a printed copy handed in to the booking office.

    I suspect this is an issue that will largely disappear in coming years as the next generation of enthusiasts grow up in a world of palisaded railways without being used to the access privileges of previous generations (official, or otherwise). Combine this with dwindling numbers of rail enthusiasts and it will likely become a non-issue in another 20 years or so, but for now, I don't expect you will stop the steam-era generation accessing the railways as they have been used to doing it all of their life.
     
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  18. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    You can rabbit on, on here until you're blue in the face - and to judge by your posts you probably already are. Haven't you got anything better to do?

    But your posts will not make any difference whatsoever - railways will do what they think is necessary to ensure their continued safe running. They happily ignore the views of extremists. I find it strange that people think that they can change the world by posting on a board such as this.

    I'm glad that said railways don't listen to you and your strange ideas - otherwise our interest might well be in jeopardy
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  19. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    I'm 'droning on' because people on here don't seem to understand how modern legislation works. The goal is not to seek redress after something has happened, its to prevent it happening in the first place. Yes it could be argued that not having a PTS makes trespass more likely - but in a way that is far easier to deal with under ROGS given all UK railway infrastructure must be fenced off from the public anyway.

    This is why, as has been mentioned earlier NR have been clamping down on who gets issued with a PTS and why the emphasis is soundly on doing work when trains are not running.

    That does not mean I wholeheartedly support such legislation, nor the way the legal profession have encouraged the growth of a compensation culture that has everyone looking over their backs all the time, but I am sensible enough to work out that Heritage Railways have very little choice in the matter. They are not vital to the nations transport needs and can easily be shut down / face big fines from the ORR should anything untoward happen.

    The ORR have made it very clear the days of turning a blind eye to omissions or superficial treatment of safety matters is not acceptable and while the chances of something happening to a lineside photographer on a Heritage Railway may remain low, that doesn't mean they don't exist.

    You should also note what I said back in post 124, - ROGS does not in itself prevent a national HRA run PTS scheme from being set up, - but what it does mean is that such a scheme would be expensive to run and also have a very complex structure with pretty onerous requirements on applicants / holders to ensure it allows all individual railways in the scheme to continue to meet their ROGS requirements (in effect it would have to be a combination of all participating railways own individual PTS assessments , with all their local instructions, etc rolled into a single assessment.

    It doesn't matter what was acceptable back in the 1960s / 1970s / 1980s nor what you have personally experienced when on or near the line, Heritage Railways must comply with ROGS - if you don't like that then maybe you should take it up with the people who drew them up in the first place (The Westminster Government).
     
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  20. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    The proposers of a national permit scheme seem to assume the HRA would run it and take on something which, the more I here about it, sounds like an onerous administrative burden.

    The HRA is not a large organisation - it does not have an office. It exists to represent the industry, when required, and provide expert advice or coordination on specific issues of mutual concern. It is not involved with day to day operational issues.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
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