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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    Well, you may have differing political views from mine and, if you'd been in charge, with a crystal ball, it would all have been sorted out by now, but for the fact that there's this virus still out there. I certainly agree that zoos are definitely a higher priority as their "rolling stock" items require rather more care and attention than heritage railway exhibits! I must also agree (grudgingly) that there are certainly some sad old men who frequent heritage railways, maybe I'm one of them! At the moment, I would far rather spend a day in the open air at a zoological garden or park than cooped up in a railway carriage with people, some of whom certainly don't seem to wash anything, let alone their hands. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced smelly, loud-mouthed "I know all about railways, blah" fellow passengers whilst visiting heritage railways. I freely admit however, that the experience I've just described tends to be more common at galas or other enthusiast events. Overall though, I think most people in the UK have been very patient and we all knew that release from lockdown was going to be difficult whoever was in charge ( or not!). I just hope that the volunteers (especially those in the COVID-19 vulnerable category) on our heritage railways are keeping safe and will be able to return to continue the splendid work they have done in the past when this unprecedented series of events passes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  2. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    I am pleased to say that there were three volunteers at work on Windcutter trucks at Rothley in the open air yesterday. They had been given safety instructions on line beforehand and signed a safety document. Social distancing was maintained. Welding was done, a vac cylinder extracted and stripped for refurbishment. We were all glad to be back!
     
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  3. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Doesn't it occur to you that social distancing is much easier to organise in a zoo or safari park than on a heritage railway or charter train.
     
  4. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Most of the operating companies on the big railway are still saying "Only travel if necessary". Indeed, a lot of them are insisting on pre-booking to severely regulate the passenger numbers. Even many bus operators are restricting the number of passengers per bus to twenty, ten up and ten down. They are doing this for a very good reason. Will Heritage Railways stick to these kind of regulations and run every service at a loss?
     
  5. alastair

    alastair Well-Known Member

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    That is absolutely the point. The reopening of National Trust gardens and parks (all houses are closed indefinitely) which has now started illustrates quite a lot:

    1/ You have to prebook on line. Tickets are released each Friday for the following week and many sites are completely sold out within an hour of becoming available.

    2/ Numbers of visitors are hugely restricted, at a local garden I visited yesterday, there were only 600 tickets released ; on a normal sunny day they would expect to have 3000+, so just 20% of normal.

    3/Shops, cafes, plant sales, in fact anything needing to enter a building (apart from toilets) all closed.

    4/ Toilets available but on a one in one out basis.

    5/ An elaborate and well-planned one way walking system throughout so absolutely no milling around.

    Due to the very small number of people there it all worked very well, however presumably massively negative financially for NT due to huge reduction in numbers and shop/cafe closed. I find it difficult to even begin to imagine how most of the above type of things could be applied to any heritage railway site I know. A sobering thought.
     
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  6. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    The NT has slowly been increasing the idea of monthly membership subscriptions by direct debit, so although hit, the financal hit may be reduced?.
    The monthly membership model is something heratige railways might consider for future, ideally with reciprocal discounts with other railways and museums?
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The policy changed after all the flamingoes put their foot down ...

    Tom
     
  8. Guitar

    Guitar New Member

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    Alton Towers is planning to re-open on July 4th, the coasters apparently have a 1 row per household / group rule.
    Any full size railway seating would be further apart than that.
     
  9. Chris86

    Chris86 Member

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    Surprised you weren't fitting seats, open stock seems to be ideal at the moment.

    Chris
     
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  10. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    :D:D:D
     
  11. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    foolishly I stumbled into this thread this evening, a decision I already regret
    so many expert comments, so little expertise .

    Why do we have this we can't attitude in everything , Why on every social media channel do we esposue our emotionally driven opinion rather than being objective

    If a railway reopens this summer , you have a simple choice , travel or don't . No one is making you travel, no one is making you leave the house . If lockdown easing worries you so much just stay at home . Don't guilt trip those who within the allowance of easing go to zoo's , shopping, travel on a preserved railway. I will be buying tickets once a line is back and I will travel as soon as I can


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  12. lostlogin

    lostlogin Member

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    Obviously I did not express myself that well as I was not trying to equate heritage railways with Zoos or express any political view as Kinghambranch suggests. I was just trying to make the point that at present in England it is, in my view, very hard to see a particular path that the Government have set out which would indicate when and what the criteria might be in terms of number of cases of Covid 19 and precautions that would have to be put in place before heritage railways could start to reopen even on a very minimalistic scale. On top of that it appears that when a bit of pressure is applied to Johnson he can quickly flip a decision. I used the example of zoos as Boris's government had announced less than a week ago they would stay closed until 4th July at least but a bit of pressure was applied and they suddenly changed their decision. I could have used the example of kids going back to schools where the policy seems to be ever in flux.

    I don't think heritage railways will be able to open for a good while yet, but it seemed that some posters were trying to suggest ways in which they could bring forward a level of re-opening by implementing measures and precautions. I was really simply trying to suggest that in England the timing of the re-opening or relaxing of restrictions appears to be affected how much pressure and lobbying can be applied and politics. Be a popular cause and you are more likely to be at the front of the queue. If the heritage railways were staffed by attractive young man and women in swimwear I am sure the Sun would be running a campaign demanding they be re-opened. The public stereotype of those interested in railways is that of men in anoraks so there is probably going to be limited public pressure to give much consideration to heritage railways.

    I cannot see heritage railways re-opening in Wales and Scotland before the Autumn at the earliest no matter what precautions railways they can put in place. In England I simply don't have a clue as there does appear to be a rush, partially driven by politics and economics rather than science, to get things open.

    One thing I have not seen mentioned with regard to re-opening, although I may have missed, is the attitude of locals. For those railways that are in fairly rural areas of the UK where there are limited cases of Covid 19 presently the locals are not at all keen on seeing people travelling into the area from afar. I have friends who have a "second home" in North Wales. The family have owned for over 50 years, it was previously their main home, they spend probably at least a third of the year there and are church wardens and on the parish council. Talking to friends there they have been very strongly "advised" to stay away. The people in the village are very nice about it, will look after the property for them and will let them know when feelings change but for the present, not with standing it would be against the law in Wales, quite simply the locals do not want anybody travelling from further afield as they think that they may simply transmit Covid 19 to the area. Whatever Governments say or however much we might want to go back and volunteer, even if that does not relate to running trains, if there are strong local feelings I think it would be very unwise not to respect these. I can see those views persisting long after Governments might say railways can open in a limited fashion.
     
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  13. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I don't see anyone "guilt tripping" anyone else. The discussion is about when and how re-opening will be permissible at all and whether what is permissible will be financially viable.
     
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  14. zigzag

    zigzag New Member

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    Absolutely, the virus is like everything else in life, its a balance of risk vs reward, if the risk is too great for you then stay locked down for as long as you wish, if you think the rewards outweigh the risk (perhaps for those 'young' and in good health) then go ahead and visit a railway, but for those who wish to stay behind the sofa do not try to be holier than thou with those who want to get on with life.

    We cannot let the fear of the virus control our lives and change our lifestyles, although I suspect that may have happened already. Driving to a railway has a risk, but for I would say almost everybody the reward is seen as greater than the risk and so they jump in the car, this should be the same with the virus, if you think you are at low risk vs reward then continue with life as before, on the other hand, if you think the virus risk is too great to go shopping, zoo, church, pub, restaurant, railway etc etc then dont go. This virus is not different to any other of lifes risks.
     
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  15. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

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    Except that's not quite true is it? Because it is not just the risk of me contracting it, but the risk of someone I pass it on to, or someone they pass it on to, dying or becoming seriously ill. Slowing the spread is for the benefit of everyone, not just ourselves. That is why chains of transmission have to be broken.

    Sent from my SM-J330FN using Tapatalk
     
  16. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    Which is why all businesses (and railways) need to do safety and financial risk assessments and get plans in place for different scenarios.
    A limited reopening with precautions in place may be better than staying closed now the R number is reducing. But if the risk assessments show the risk is high then stay closed.
    The experiences from European steam railway seem to indicate risks are low with good plans in place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2020
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  17. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    Theme park rides have staff to put the customers in the correct place, & you can't move about.
    They also already have queuing systems in place for the rides.

    Alton Towers are doing temperature checks when you get to the site. Hand sanitiser around, extra cleaning etc.

    Also, it's £34 per person, so they have a lot more room to manoeuvre in terms of operating costs.
     
  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'd query the final comment - they also have significant operating costs that help drive their prices up, and a similarly seasonal model.
     
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  19. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Well-Known Member

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    I fully agree - risk assessment is what we do all of the time throughout our lives but I disagree on this point simply because this is not just about you or me the individual and that makes our decisions harder to make imho. If for instance you are caring for or have elderly relatives shielding for their own protection then the risk assessment you would make is considerate of them too, no?
     
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  20. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    Whilst I do not disagree with most of your post I would dispute that the R is falling.
     

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