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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    A few things came out this week that I think will impact on railways.

    Social distancing covers all scenarios - hence you would need to be able to maintain it in shops, cafes, ticket offices etc. These are obviously revenue streams. So even if the lines can re-open it may be without be able to open up shops, cafes etc.

    To maintain this, they are talking about setting up one way systems etc, so the question is how do you maintain social distancing when you have people getting on and off trains. This will also take up a lot of time and also need potentially more people to work to ensure that it works correctly.
     
  2. DcB

    DcB New Member

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    Currently my local network rail station has trains, and unmanned, although passenger numbers are lower than normal, the current passengers self regulate distances, so extra staff may not be needed?
     
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  3. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Yes I agree with that. In fact I can’t see any chance until there is a vaccine
     
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  4. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    But that may well take a year. Vintage railways can be shut for a year (although this will likely cause some to fail), but the whole society can't continue to be shut down for a year. Alas, everyone's just going to have to roll the dice, and see if their inherited DNA is the kind that's especially vulnerable. (I know, easy for me to say, I've already had it.)

    Noel
     
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  5. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    Whatever we may each think this is the view from Heathrow's CEO
    Mr Holland-Kaye has warned in an interview carried by the BBC that social distancing is impossible to implement at airports with any volume of passengers. He went on to say that,


    “Social distancing does not work in any form of public transport, let alone aviation.”

    With 450 people trying to board a plane at once, staying the recommended distance apart would mean a kilometer-long queue.

    We may not have 450 passengers on a Heritage Railway (although you may get close on a railtour) I suspect Santa's may have 250 or 300 on some lines. Where do you get them all to stand on a wet December day?
     
  6. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    No the whole of society can’t but heritage and main line steam will be a long way down the list though main line steam charters will be easier to control
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You still got to get past the killer question, though, about low occupancy. You can do what you like with queuing and so on, but when push comes to shove, social distancing as implemented on a carriage is likely to require occupancies much lower than 50% - and the sums just don't work at that level.

    Tom
     
  8. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    Hope you're well Noel.
    Remember though, you're rolling the dice for who exactly? Just yourself or those you meet during the day and/or pass it on to when you get home from a nice day out?
     
  9. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Actually, people being in enclosed spaces (like carriages) is apparently much, much worse for transmission than being outdoors. (So lines which have shut down p/way, lineside drainage, etc gangs aren't doing any good, just building up maintenance backlogs for later. As long as they have their breaks, lunches etc outside, not in mess coaches! So good days only!)

    Noel
     
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  10. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    I was meaning that if almost the whole population's going to get it sooner or later (which, given how transmissible it is, and how far it's gotten already, seems likely), everyone's going to have to roll the dice on their own behalf. Members of some high-risk groups (e.g. the elderly) may wish to isolate until a vaccine is available; they can probably get away with such a lengthy stay.

    Noel
     
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  11. Chuffington

    Chuffington New Member

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    I would say anything with air conditioning is going spread germs around far more easily be it buses trains aeroplanes or buildings
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    NYMR trains out of Whitby in an afternoon can regularly load 450 (and more). It’s a problem without social distancing and because of the narrow platform a queuing system is employed.
     
  13. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    I think you're right to a point Noel but I don't think it's as straightforward as suggested since some of those most at risk are not able to isolate completely since they share space with those able to take the risks. Giving octogenarians the option of remaining shut away until further notice, or seriously risking their necks if they don't, isn't going to sell very well.
     
  14. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Thats why a vaccine is the only answer. It will come in time and then the annual jab will be another ritual for us oldies just as the current flue jab is
     
  15. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The problem is that , overheads remain the same, dont matter if you carry 30, or 300 passengers per train, and any railway that opens in 2020, will have expenditure outstripping income, you may open in 2020, but will you be able to open again in 2021, if you have made such losses that you cant pay the bills in the meanwhile ? .
    i can't see the point in operation any thing, other than maybe an DMU, if your going to run anything, to reduce your costs to a point where your at least covering your running costs, and not to open fully until the spring of 2021, when hopefully measures including social distancing will no longer be needed , and most inportantly public perception will be more open to public gathering .
     
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  16. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    Photoshoots and run bys might be best option this year. The world crash will mean many hungry, unemployed , debt ridden people, who will sadly have other priorites also. There are 3 groups, those who are scared, won't come. Those who think the lock down was daft, will be there straight away. Those in the middle, will keep away prudently, and despair as a further lockdown could be a possibility. But whoever is doing the maths is terrible, there is no estimate of a true number of cases so the R number is surely meaningless. If it is 1million, it will go on all year, if it is 1omillion, it will go on all year.
     
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  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    The R number is still meaningful, because it helps predict the further spread of the disease. It is only useful if combined with a decent estimate of the number of cases.
     
  18. 30567

    30567 Well-Known Member Friend

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    What is the basic financial model of the heritage sector? Is it that donations cover the fixed costs and fares and ancillary revenue streams cover the operating costs? Apologies for naive questions.
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Now there's a question. "Fundamentally broken" is one answer I have heard to that question, as is "selling volunteer labour to the public". "Extracting the last residual life out of pre-owned assets". :)

    More prosaically, the big difficulty is that railway operations have high fixed and relatively low variable costs. In the short term, a reduction in income can be coped with by deferral of maintenance, but that isn't a long-term strategy, though I think a number of railways have made it work for a surprisingly long length of time in the medium term. Long term, your revenue streams are fare income; secondary spend (shops, catering); added-value revenue (filming, weddings / events; footplate courses; engineering services); altruistic (both donation and membership support). Different railways manage those in different ways, but between them they have to balance the costs.

    Tom
     
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  20. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    Heritage railways are tourist attractions.

    I personally think this year the government will not allow tourist attractions to open.

    Zoos, farms, breweries for tours, theme parks, national trust properities etc. I don't think cinemas or theatres will be able to reopen either.

    The government may offer a subsidy package for these operations to some extent.

    Photo charters could be a good way to get income as noted above, but most railways probably can only offer a few types of consist so that limits the amount.
     

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