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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by johnofwessex, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Excess deaths are an interesting hard number, but they aren't the last word either, alas. The problem is that the lockdown, and concern (although perhaps 'fear' is a more accurate term) about COVID is also killing people, and disentangling them from that count is even more challenging than sorting out cases in which someone who was already in bad shape (dying) came down with COVID and then died.

    The problems of people not going into hospital for treatment of e.g. heart issues, and the recorded large drop in childhood immunizations, both caused by people not wanting to go into medical settings, have been somewhat publicized. (And those concerns aren't entirely irrational; as far as my family can tell, since I almost never leave my house these days, I most likely got my case of COVID sitting in a hospital waiting room on a visit for a different issue - that was the only time I was out around the time I contracted it.)

    Past that, though, for example, one Australian study I read about predicted an increase in suicides due to the lockdown far larger than the direct death toll from COVID. And what about e.g. alcoholics who can't get to AA meetings (although those are probably formally exempted, the same concern as about medical settings may apply). Etc, etc, etc.

    Yes, those deaths are in some sense 'due' to COVID, but a different response could have avoided them; e.g. I think passing up childhood vaccinations is probably generally the wrong choice, since the COVID death rate among the young is very low (although at least that's a real concern, unlike the 'mercury in vaccines' autism scare).

    But that Australian suicide study points out what to me is the real issue, which is that too much reliance is being placed on potentially flawed models to choose behaviour. I have no idea if that model (predicting excess suicide deaths) or the lockdown models (predicting COVID deaths) is correct, and to the extent they contradict each other, it just muddies the water. Yes, the speed of the COVID crisis didn't allow careful, leisurely analysis; and slowing down transmission (to prevent a peak which could overload medical facilities) was probably good, but maybe we could have done that with less disruptive (and potentially harmful) measures. The 'real world' is always more complicated than any model, and the Law of Unintended Consequences has not, as far as I've heard, been repealed.

    Noel
     
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  2. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    How do they cope on a vintage train, on the IWSR, various pacers, Class 707 or 376 then?

    I get it being more difficult, but we shouldn't let these things stop us from opening at all?
     
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  3. Bikermike

    Bikermike New Member

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    Why do you think the corridor connections smell?[1] And I'd guess the percentage of small people on those NR trains is lower than on preserved railways. Re IOSWR, don't know - went once with family, didn't feel terribly moved to get on train, so left again.
    It's not a case of preventing, it's a case of thinking about your market and turning a profit.

    [1] no, m mine hasn't, but I'm willing to bet it happens. We've certainly done the open the door and let fly
     
  4. Guitar

    Guitar New Member

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    Apologies is this has been covered earlier but any ideas on how the narrow / minimum gauge railways might be able to cope? For somewhere like the Bure Valley social distancing would require basically one carriage per family. The Ffestiniog would require maybe 2 out of 3 blocked off in open coaches?
     
  5. daveannjon

    daveannjon Member

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    Unfortunately the ORR guidance doesn't really go into how such matters could be resolved.

    https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...way-recovery-plan-in-response-to-covid-19.pdf

    "It is likely that some form of social distancing will remain in place for passengers and staff / volunteers. Beyond the risks associated with an extended shut down period, the principal challenge railways face will be how to manage the impact of social distancing requirements for both of passengers and staff / volunteers."

    In other words the ball is in our court.

    Dave
     
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  6. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Ok, well that is your view, mine is different and based on working at the IWSR where we have no on train toilets at all.
     
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  7. toplight

    toplight Member

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    Is there anything actually 'officially' written down somewhere that is stopping any heritage railway running right now.

    Seems we have privately run trains running on the national network and underground from A to B but we can't have privately run trains running from A to B on a preserved line. What is the difference, either from a Legal point of view or the chance of getting covid ? You could argue one is more leisure based, but if I take a train on the national network it can be for leisure purposes too.

    It seems to me too that companies are quite often saying well we are opening a few stores this week as a trial, then next week they open 50 stores, then 2 weeks later all their stores. In other words testing the water and seeing the government reaction.

    If say one railway opened up a bit, I expect others would start to follow, thinking well if they can, we can.
     
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  8. garth manor

    garth manor Member

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    You could drive to a heritage site in England but not in Wales.
     
  9. Bikermike

    Bikermike New Member

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    There is no "thou shalt not operate"
    but
    HSAW requires 2m spacing and reasonable shielding for workers (with certain sector-by-sector relaxations)
    All vulnerable people are supposed to stay indoors
    Travelling for leisure was until recently prohibited, now relaxed to some extent in certain areas (which is a double hit for railways - the tourists can't come from afar, and the locals who depend on tourism can't afford)

    Like many things that aren't done, they aren't prohibited per se, but impractical to do on any economic basis.
     
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  10. Bikermike

    Bikermike New Member

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    and it's not your view or my view that counts, it's the view of the punter who may or may not come.
     
  11. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    HMG is paying TOCs to run trains on the Network; they won't pay us to run trains for tourists. Money (always) talks.
    Pat
     
  12. JEB-245584

    JEB-245584 New Member

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    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52106843

    If a heritage railway reopened for business and reward then it could possibly be classed as a non essential business and the rules enforced.
    Opening up for just volunteers might be seen differently.
     
  13. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I would argue under the updated guidance linked from from the BBC site
    https://assets.publishing.service.g.../884695/Business_Closure_Revised_Guidance.pdf

    I am unaware of any companies in prohibited sectors who are testing boundaries. Hardware stores for example were always able to open and many chose not to initially, and some still have not.
     
  14. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and the Schedules are where it's at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/contents

    I think everything is closed except those that are scheduled as being allowed to open

    Happy reading!

    Patrick
     
  15. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    I think in broad terms we should staying at home unless
    • going out to to work (only if we can't work from home)
    • going out for exercise
    • going out for essentials (eg buying food)
    • going out to visit a family member/friend
    It is hard to see how heritage lines fall into any of these, so the implication is it is not 'essential activity' and shouldn't be happening. I know most railways have had at least some 'work' still going on like security patrols, this would come under work that cannot be done from home.

    Trains on the national network are still going to provide a service for key workers (or those who can't work from home) and usage has been discouraged.
     
  16. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Every death will be a tragedy for a family somewhere, and the friends of the deceased, lets not forget that, the problem is this, how do you keep people safe in a railway carriage as used by the majority of our leisure railways, this being an 2nd open normally, station platforms, unless you can put in a one way system are also a problem, one that is of course solvable if you have a foot bridge and two platforms, to separate groups, to ensure social distancing, my view is for most, is not going to be possible to re open whilst we have to socially distance, from each other, the practicalities just make it to hard to put in place the measures needed.
     
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  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Not just that, but Section 6 of the Regulations says that we may not leave our homes without "reasonable excuse", and then lists a number of things that constitute "reasonable excuse"; the amendments in force since yesterday morning expand that list slightly but don't change the terms of the Regulations. While it may be a moot point about whether volunteers are allowed to work, I cannot see how a paying visit could be within those "reasonable excuses", even if there were a category that might allow them to open.
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Strictly, there is nothing in the regulations preventing a railway from operating. However, people are only allowed to leave their home for a few specific reasons and these are constraints that would prevent people from travelling on them unless they are using them to go to work, which, I'm sure, would only apply in a minute number of cases. With regard to taking a train ride on the National Network for leisure purposes, that's not an essential reason and not allowed.
    The unanswered question is whether volunteering on a heritage railway is 'work' or indulging in a hobby. I have asked this question of the HRA but they have been silent so far.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  19. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Seeing pictures of the London underground yesterday social distancing seems to have gone out of the window.
     
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  20. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Presumably it depends on the task. Assisting with a pressure vessel exam that must still be done would feel like a valid reason, whether you are a volunteer or paid staff?
     
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