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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. cav1975

    cav1975 Member

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    Thanks Steve
     
  2. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    It looks like the six month thing is railway policy anyway, it doesn't appear to be an ORR stipulation. As such a suitable risk assessment and recovery plan could see it extended ( for example granting the more experienced / more practiced personnel a longer time span, and concentrating on those who have not done many turns in the previous six months). We mustn't create an impossible situation of declaring everyone out of competency!
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    It's the railways Safety Management System and they are at liberty to specify what they like, as long as it is justifiable. The only legal requirement is to have an SMS.
     
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  4. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Yes, I think we are agreeing!
     
  5. DcB

    DcB New Member

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    Each heritage railway seems to have a different stance, some are fully closed, others like the SVR are doing some maintenance under distancing guidelines?.
    The Government policy is still unclear, but does indicate restrictions may be relaxed when the death rate and infection charting is down to a low level, plus when testing and tracking become more used.

    The current lockdown is till the 7th May and likely to be extended another month?. Hopefully this week the Government will publish a recovery plan?.

    Then heratige railways will start to reopen with limited services untill the vaccine is available.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  6. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think that is a very optimistic view of what will happen.
     
  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I agree. It seems reasonable to hope that as volunteers we'll be allowed back on our railways soon providing we can follow social distancing measures, but I don't really see what a "limited service" achieves on that front for passengers. Heritage railways will ope when the pubs open, and they seem to be last on the list for establishments allowed to reopen.
     
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  8. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    I agree as well. If social distancing is required then that may mean for example having to block off alternate bays of 4 seats around a table on a Mk 1 TSO, so the bay behind and the one across the aisle is empty, and even then that does not accommodate well individuals or couples who may take the bay up themselves. Ergo you may be running a "full train" (no standing allowed) at an occupancy rate of 30 or 40%. Doubt many Heritage lines have a business model that allows profits at the max load factor.
    If I look at Swanage as my most known example all the half brakes (except some of the the Bulleid) are compartment stock, not sure if they even become usable at all other than for a family of 4 or 6.
    Until we know the government position it is all supposition but I think we are towards the end, not the beginning of the lockdown.
     
  9. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    Which vaccine is that? There is no vaccine at the minute, only some experimental trials. You want the scary version? There might not be a vaccine.

    Keith
     
  10. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    And as has been alluded to on the SVR thread, even if you could viably run a train at 40% max capacity to allow social distancing, how do you account for people getting on and off throughout the day, sitting in the same seats and at the same tables as someone else did earlier in the day, and using the same doors and handles as several other people?
     
  11. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    Very difficult on a long railway, MAYBE at somewhere like Swanage you could have stewards wiping down door handles, tables, windows etc between each trip, but that would mean
    1) Having people willing to accept the risk of exposure to lots of visitors
    2) Having enough guaranteed people to do it every day
    3) Maybe cutting out Harmans Cross and either Corfe or Norden as stops.
    But No 3 seriously impacts even more your ticket sales potential and hence ability to break even.

    In reality not feasible I would think.
     
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  12. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    I could just about see online only ticket sales, two metre marks for walkways around the site, museums etc, some sort of queuing system for boarding into non-corridor compartment stock, but I cannot see how much of an attractive visitor experience this is. You would also need a cleaning regime after each 'trip', and I can't fathom how to stay two metres apart on a footplate!

    No, I think we have a ways to go yet. I maintain the risk is that the furlough scheme is switched off before we are able to re-open, so costs rise but income does not.

    Edit - this even assumes the demand is there. Many lines are in holiday areas which are not back up to speed yet with visitors
     
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  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    If you write off the summer, what about Christmas, which for many railways is the other big earner, and also has a degree of cost in advance of sales? (For example - how many mince pies do you order? How many presents? On the assumption that if you are ordering five figure numbers of those, you probably need to order with your supplier well in advance.

    There's also those railways that do "train of lights" type activities: seemingly they were remunerative, but have a high fixed cost. How confident are you to undergo that fixed cost if you are really in the dark (no pun intended) about sales?

    I tend to agree with @andrewtoplis here: the really big risk to me - at least for the bigger lines - feels to be if restrictions are eased and the furlough scheme stops, but customer confidence and demand remains low.

    Tom
     
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  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Santa trains present their own difficulties. The way we do it I don't think it would actually be too hard to make the trains safe, yes loadings would have to be down but we didn't run full trains anyway for comfort. It's pre-booked and people all get on and off at the same place and go back to their own seats for the journey back, after which there's time for a wipe down of all tables, doors etc. and general tidy up before the next lot arrive. The difficulty there lies with the Santa's grotto bit itself. Ordering presents will be tricky, we tend to buy ours in August, but they at least will keep until next year if necessary, we've had to do that before when snow as put the kibosh on things. That doesn't work for mince pies though, and indeed our catering department has recently donated a whole load of cakes and other snacks to local food banks and homeless shelters as they'd be out of date by the earliest conceivable dates we could run.
     
  15. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    I'm not seeing realistically how travelling on MK1 coaching stock or similar could be "made safe". Would queueing + distancing at buffet and toilets and doorways ever be possible even if seating could be restricted?

    The way I'm seeing this going is that 'joe public' will need to be in one of two camps. Those at low risk of danger operate as before whilst those that choose not to because they are at risk or fearful for any reason, stay away and continue to isolate. The bit I'm struggling with is how these two groups of people come back together where they share homes, workspace and/or family life? Given the general demographic of those visiting HRs and travelling on a lot of railtours, I'm not sure that gives enough numbers to make things work profitably?
     
  16. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    I could see some railways offering footplate experience courses if we could get to a situation where the small number of participants & crew could be tested & declared CV free.

    Otherwise it is difficult to see how passenger services could return in any form until the population is largely immune by whatever means or the pandemic dies out.
     
  17. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I suggest that there may be some running simply to maintain staff competences
     
  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Indeed, that's something we've been discussing. I did suggest we could combine it with a photo charter, that's potentially something else that could be done relatively safely.
     
  19. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    As I understand it, being tested is like an MOT, ie you are ok at the point of testing. You would need tracking etc to make sure any participant doesn't pick it up post test!
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Hmmm ...

    CC85B8CB-3B59-4F8A-8984-DA24FC983694.jpeg

    Tom
     

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