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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Well-Known Member Friend

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    There are a lot of things I'd like to do; unfortunately in order to try to keep the UK population (including my mum, who is 88 and my daughter who is in a higer risk category) broadly safe I am willing to forego them for a little while longer. In the meantime I was at the Mid Hants Railway on 27th of June and spent a pleaseant 8 hours watching a steam engine shunting wagons at Alresford, Ropley, Medstead and Four Marks and Alton, and travelled behind a class 50 whilst socially distancing and wearing a mask. Staff cleaned the door handles and droplights of the coaches we travelled in. On station toilests were cleaned regularly. OK It cost more than a "normal" day out but those who attended seemed to enjoy themselves and I think we all felt safe. I was encouraged to find that all the risk assessments and the new proceedures stemming from them seemed to work, and that members of the public coming to the MHR after it opens on 11th July will have a worthwhile day out and that the risks to staff and volunteers will be minimal.
     
  2. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Well, I have to say this is is as disappointing as the railways that have written off 2020 without trying. If you don't turn up this year, the number of places available to "turn up" to next year will be put in jeopardy.
     
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  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think it's just reflecting the views of a proportion of the general public, who you usually say we ought to pay more attention to than "gricers" who might be more likely to turn up regardless.
     
  4. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Possibly, and I acknowledge that my family have expressed some similar views. But I read both the quoted comments as being from an enthusiast perspective, and seeking particular requirements that may not be necessary for “joe public”.


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  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I suspect it'll be the booking in advance that is the most off-putting thing for ordinary people, followed by the relatively higher prices being charged by necessity. I'd agree that some of the other "restrictions" are more likely to worry enthusiasts than the public though.
     
  6. jamesd

    jamesd New Member

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    I am primarily an enthusiast but I also have a young family who, more often than not these days, join me on my days out. With this in mind, it is the rigidity of the day with young children in tow that isn't attractive. Of all the offerings, the SVR seems the best in terms of time on the train, breaking the journey up etc, but the cost is eye wateringly expensive and I'm not sure we (my family) would get vfm in terms of enjoyment I'm afraid.

    We visited the Perrygrove railway at the weekend and whilst there were measures in place, they didn't detract from our experience there. We were able to hop on and of the train at will, use the play areas, access the cafe/shop - in fact it was pretty much the same as our last visit there except that there were screens separating the seating in the carriage, there were multiple hand sanitiser locations and I had to give my contact details for track and trace purposes. From my families perspective, this struck the right balance between caution and pragmatism and hopefully other lines will find that balance too.
     
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  7. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Sorry Alex but getting huffy about having to follow certain procedures to enable train services to operate is pure gricer. "Normals" who have concerns about mixing in crowds or who have vulnerable family members are understandable. Quite a few people are just pleased for the trains to be back again.
     
  8. toplight

    toplight Member

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    Whether there is Covid or not Covid, businesses that succeed are the ones that make life "EASY". They should be asking, Are we making it easy ?

    I visited an American friend in Chicago some years ago. At one point we went to get some cash and it was a drive in bank, so you could use the cash machine without even needing to get out of your car. I laughed and oh that is so lazy ! and then he said, Well that is the American way, we want to make life 'easy', and afterwards, I thought yeah you are right, that is how it should be. Why should you have to park your car, looking for somewhere to park and there is never anywhere, then walk to the cash machine to just get some cash. ?

    Contrast that with Britain:- I was out for a short walk with one of my young sons yesterday. An ice cream van drove past but without stopping, so he started nagging me for ice cream. There was a Wetherspoons pub just nearby so I said, we can gets some there. It has a large outside gardens where you can sit, but all the front gates where you normally can go in, were locked because of this Covid, you could only get in through the back, so I said ok we can go to the nearby McDonalds and get some there. They said, sorry we are closed for normal customers, only drive through or Delievroo type collectors. So still no ice cream

    Then I told me son, ok there is a KFC over there, we can go in there. We walked in, they said oh we are not selling ice cream currently.

    3 x businesses couldn't just make it easy and just serve us some ice cream ! so we did without and they didn't get any business from us. That is what happens to businesses when they dont make it 'easy'
     
  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think booking in advance will be interesting to assess. I agree that the ability to decide what to do in a day is important, but I wonder if actually many “ordinary” visitors may actually like the certainty it provides. My hunch is that, where the offer makes a proper day out (say the SVR offer), it may be a case of swings and roundabouts.


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  10. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    You just don't get it do you? This country's response to Coronavirus 19 has hardly been stellar but still worse has been that of the U.S.A. Medical science is still struggling to get the measure of the disease which has affected, thankfully not mortally, the doctor son of good friends of mine. Accepting a bit of inconvenience, even doing without an ice cream, is hardly a big thing if it enables a visit to a steam railway in relative security.
     
  11. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    The Perrygrove is great with young kids, good to hear a report as only about 30 minutes from me so will consider a visit after hearing what measures they have in place.

    The other one I have booked on is the SVR’s Flyer as although you are committing to a full day the timings have been well thought out if you have kids and is workable. The fact it also allows a visit to the Engine House also helps break up the day along with an additional attraction than just a train ride. This was one of the deciding reasons in discussions with my wife, and why we chose it over the GWSR day in the end.
     
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  12. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Forgot to say compared to a theme park the price is reasonable at less than £20 a head for 4 and actually a bargain for 6 at £12.50 each compared to the standard fare.
     
  13. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    You can see that:
    - families who want a day out and a trip will happily be managed if the price is right.
    - old people may not book to travel but they may visit if there are things to see
    - enthusiasts may be frustrated and not bother, especially if they cannot ride 'on a whim' which won't be possible.

    Given that heritage railways are there for Jo Public and not just enthusiasts, it's going to be a mixed reaction.
     
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  14. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Oddly enough I have just been looking at a short, very new, Facebook video of the Belgian ASVi Vicinal preservation group in the Walloon part of Belgium at Thuin. There is a metre gauge line with an utterly splendid Tubize tram engine and comparably splendid rolling stock (not a Mk. 1 equivalent in sight). Everyone on the train was wearing a face mask and there seemed to be no shortage of passengers.

    Come on Britain, be a little less Bolshy!
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    On price: I've seen several comments about the expense, but that seems to ignore the numbers travelling for that price. £75 is a big headline number viewed through individual eyes, but quite reasonable if four people are travelling. From what I have seen, the starting point for many railways seems to have been that if at all possible, compartments (or failing that, groups of four seats with space all around) is the easiest thing to offer while maintaining social distancing; ergo, make the offer attractive as possible to groups of four travelling, at the expense of possibly making it unattractive to lone travellers. It's hard to fault the logic of that. That in turn leads to "groups of four = families", so let's tailor the whole thing round family groups at the expense of others. Of the railways I have seen and looked at in any detail, it seems to me that the SVR in particular really seems to understand that market in how it has created tailored (I'm almost tempted to use the modern vernacular of "curated") days out that are clearly targeted at families.

    Yes, up until last year there was a lot of flexibility for the lone traveller. But one person in a compartment thereby preventing anyone else getting in is either going to be very expensive for the individual, or unremunerative for the railway. We are in unprecedented times; you can't fault those railways that are trying to find the best way through, which seems to be optimise round the family market. Flexibility will return when the risk from the virus dimishes.

    Tom
     
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  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Most railways ought to have robust GDPR policies and procedures in place by now. (I'd be worried if they didn't). The issue is just that coronavirus and the needs of track and trace don't absolve you from the pre-existing requirement to be clear about why you are collecting personal data. So there is nothing wrong with using the data to assist with track and trace, provided you make that clear, for example at the point of purchase of an online ticket. The ICO guidance seemed to indicate some flexibility in interpretation to take account of the need for companies to develop procedures very quickly. So for example, I think it is probably allowable to collect names and address on a ticketing website and then make it clear that it could be used for track and trace when the person enters the station building. What you can't do is release the information for track and trace having given the person concerned no indication at all that you will be doing so. The second answer in the ICO FAQ seems very clear on that:

    "Collecting customer contact details may already be standard practice for your organisation, but the purpose of collecting this particular information is wider than managing bookings or similar tasks, and there are greater implications should an outbreak occur. You need to explain this to people."
    Tom
     
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  17. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    My preference over the years has been to buy a day ticket but often choosing to not go very far and liking to view the 'fleet' and comings & goings so to speak from one or more of the stations. Don't get me wrong, I like the ride too but it's not my main reason for visiting so not sure if options will still exist for paying to visit but not necessarily travelling and therefore overcoming current need to share inside space with other visitors.
     
  18. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Indeed, what you say is so. Prior to this year, purchase of a ticket entitled travel all day on the IOWSR. Pick a two train day and there would be the opportunity for a carriage freak to sample the products of Longhedge, Ashford, Brighton, Lancing and Bow on the one ticket (you can see why I get sniffy about never ending Mk. 1s). You could even occupy the seat used by H.M. The Queen!

    This year the basic fare will be no higher but tickets cover one round trip only. Individuals will be catered for but on the strict understanding that if compartments have to be occupied by another unconnected person, face masks will be worn. Pre-booked family groups have a dispensation which is another result of having corridor free compartment stock apart from aesthetic advantages.

    It is going to take every railway a while to get used to what it all takes. Good luck everyone.
     
  19. Bikermike

    Bikermike New Member

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    I don't recall mark Is being a symptom of Cov-19.... shoehorn anyone?
     
  20. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    It's a name & phone number.
    Even if you put it on a paper form, it will be dated, & then you put it in the safe at the close of that day.

    It's less data than many of your contacts will have about you on their phones.
     
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