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Access all areas - should the public be allowed behind the scenes?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by 1472, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    I like to think I'm honest Steve - honestly! :) I wouldn't say I rarely think of such things though.
    If I was a shop owner and pulled down my shutters to anyone but 'staff' to prevent theft, then my business might suffer. :)
    One wonders what difference the closing of visitor access to say the sheds at Loughborough will have had on crime? Is there correlation to be seen?
     
  2. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    I help to organise the monthly "Boscastle Shed Tours" at Loughborough, where we usually have three volunteers acting as guides for groups of visitors. The management of the GCR and shed staff are very supportive and arrange to have the shed well laid out for the safe passage of our groups. We are able to explain the hazards beforehand and features of the locomotives and processes as we go round. It seems to be well appreciated by all concerned.
     
  3. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    I've been on quite a few of these Phil and am always grateful to all involved. I would say that I've also been to specific gala events at the GCR when there has been no one available which I think is a shame given the extra people visiting. I recognise the constraints on people's time but also that this could be made more of a commercial offering if GCR thought value-add?
     
  4. mikechant

    mikechant Member

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    I wonder if in-shed webcams might have a role to play, obviously not as satisfactory for enthusiasts but might be better than nothing and certainly solves any safety issues; they could also double as extra security cameras (disconnect from internet out of hours but keep recording).
    Just a thought.
     
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  5. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    Glad that you enjoy the tours!
    We actually tend to avoid Gala weekends as the shed is then a very busy place. We anticipate that the new shed will have visitor facilities as part of the design remit. It is certainly a feature of the prospectus on the GCR website.
     
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  6. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    That's excellent news Phil and a good commercial decision in my view to design-in from the start.
    Out of interest, what happens for anyone joining one of the groups, say Boscastle group as a volunteer? Does such formal 'membership' then provide insurance for said individuals to access the restoration subject?
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I don't think any railway is pulling down its shutters to customers as you suggest. They are shutting the doors on customers wandering into the equivalent of the stock room, though, and I don't think you would begrudge any shop owner from doing that, would you?
     
  8. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    To actually work as a volunteer I believe that you need to have membership of the "Friends of the Great Central Main Line" which gives lots of benefits but registers your details centrally. Then, if there is any trackside aspect, a PTS course must be attended and passed. This is co-ordinated by the GCR "Volunteer Support Team" at Lovatt House in Loughborough.
     
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  9. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    The East Somerset Railway is positively set up to get you to wander round its shed.

    The train stops by the shed on the return and there is a walking route through the complex

    OK its not the biggest but the thought is there

    I have also been on the L&B where after our trip on the train we were herded round the shed
     
  10. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    In my experience, though - I last visited earlier this year - you can only visit one part of the shed, and you certainly can't wander freely at will
     
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  11. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Well-Known Member Friend

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    We have a viewing gallery (elevated and behind glass) at the Mid Hants with some great interpretation boards, but CCTV/webcams would be a useful tool too.
     
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  12. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    I have to say that my last passing visit to ESR on a non-working day was a very positive experience. I had hoped to look in on the final touches being applied to 41313 and was not disappointed.
    At the station end I was told it would be ok for me to walk past the no entry signs down to the shed area and once there a very friendly gent with paint brush in hand spent 20-30 minutes chatting to me and showing me what I'd come to see. The railway were deserving of the relatively small contribution left.

    What could be an idea is that each heritage railway have a common 1-5 marking system submitted by 'customers' based on a number of factors such as variety, accessibility, engineering visibility, catering etc that is open to those with more than a passing interest in riding on the trains. I've been to majority of lines over past couple of years and whilst some do really well, I've left others with my business hat leading me to think what improvements I would want to make if I were the manager and the people i'd encountered were reporting to me. Some have a 'computer says no' attitude that clearly comes from the leadership style of those in positions of management.

    Some Positive on viewing and there will be more - Bluebell (it would be nice if shutters could be up on restoration area and for Beachey Head even if the workshop opening isn't aligned to particular chosen running day), Mid Hants, Nene Valley & NYMR. Llangollen have also been very accommodating to me for a small donation.

    I will share an instance but will not disclose the railway, where I wanted to view a specific locomotive to aid with a modelling engineering commission I was embarking upon and said loco was 'out of bounds' to public. I offered to pay for someone on either a non working or working day, time to be chosen by the railway to view and take a few close-up photographs. First response was it wasn't possible with reason that nobody was available on any date, any time, follow up was then ignored and a small and possibly insignificant piece of goodwill and support was lost.
     
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  13. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    Yes, MHR is a good one from my experience since first visiting in 1970s.
    During gala I attended 2018 I believe, access was also open to the Urie team & boiler shops even though it was very busy.
     
  14. Tim Light

    Tim Light Member

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    Possibly one of the most disappointing is the East Lancs, which successfully keeps all its non-working locos out of public view, either in Buckley Wells or the diesel shed. Not dissing the ELR because it's always a great visit, even on a non-Gala day. But when you have the treasures that the ELR has, it's a shame for them not to be a visitor attraction.

    Most big railways have some form of viewing facility for non-working engines, and many will advertise guided tours on gala days. Here's another enthusiast-friendly suggestion:

    How about offering an occasional photography day, where the "museum locos" are dragged out into the open and positioned for photography. Facilities like Oxenhope shed are all well and good, but are certainly not photographer-friendly. A very occasional fresh air cameo, if properly publicised, could attract quite a few extra punters.

    Locomotion did something like this a couple of years ago, with 34051, E5001, Deltic and LMS 5000 positioned for photography in the open air.

    P1100684.JPG
     
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  15. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    As with most such topics its the few who spoil things for the many. Casing the joint for a future robery doess seem to be backed up with facts

    Enthusiats sometimes thinkthey know all about H&S but they often mis the obvous. Their knowledge is unlikely to be examined every 3 years ass operating staff do

    Take an example I saw the other day. There was a group standing at the end of the platform at the bottom of the ramp. One particulaar gent was looking at the loco in P1 whilst having a mobile cconversation at the edge of P2.Said gent had hhis back to P2 and was within the lading gauge. Not only was this disrespectful to other enthusiasts, I certantly would not qwant to hear about his personal business , but he was oblivious to train movements from behind. Whilst no loco was on the end he might havethought nothing could come frombehind ignoring the gronk at the buffers ready to propel the stock to sidings

    I am PTS trained bu tthis has served to highten my sences whillst on the line
     
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  16. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Organised groups can be just as bad as individuals. I well remember one photo charter where a chap was stood on some steps to get a higher viewpoint, this on a bit of a slope. As the train came towards the photographers, the chap lost his balance and toppled over, fortunately coming to rest sufficiently clear of the track. The worst one though was a run past that had stopped and we were about to set back for another run. Fortunately, I happened to notice that two of the photographers couldn't be seen and I walked down to the end of the train to find them in the four foot looking at the pictures they had taken on their cameras. It was a sunny day and the back of the train was the only place in the shade . If we had just set back as normal, we would have run them over.
     
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  17. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Finally found where this thread had gone.
    My answer is a resounding yes they should if you have purpose built facilities and adequate guides to permit this to happen. On the WSR you'll be pleased to know it's on the list and if sufficient donations are received when we start the relevant appeal (we have not done so at this time) then it will happen.
    Until that time it needs to be understood that industrial workshops are not places one can simply wander around. If you don't believe me then try wandering down to any factory close to where you are and telling the gateman you'd like a look around the premises while you kill some time.
    There is, of course an answer if you can't wait. Simply contact you local railway and tell them you'd like to volunteer in the workshops, after suitable induction and training you'll then be free to turn up regularly and work on the projects of your choice. You'll also make so good mates and contribute in an active way to the movement.
    I note other active volunteers have given numerous examples already of the daily hazard presented by the travelling public. I'd generally agree that the "enthusiasts" are a bigger risk that ordinary punters. Odd, as you'd think it would be the other way around.
     
  18. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    Isn't that true of most things in life though? Most things we like would get banned if we want to be led by the idiots out there, including steam on the mainline, cyclists on the roads, non-cyclists on the roads, I could go on.....
     
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  19. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    Good news that WSR have positive plans aldfort, something I'd heard was also a proposed future project at Bridgnorth?
    I'm also supportive of the point around 'joining up' as an option to become a volunteer which is what had prompted similar question I'd asked earlier to FlyingPhil at GCR.
    My specific circumstances are that I don't live really close to any single local Heritage Line as such and also haven't had allegiances to one either. I like to visit all and am supportive of most restorations and projects whereby I haven't before felt a desire to commit to one above others. My railway interests have been life-long but stopped in early 90s until a few years ago due primarily to work having taken me abroad.
    I see many Heritage lines catering for groups of 'special needs' customers of differing guises so in line with people like me being seen as a daily hazard and bigger risk, maybe all enthusiasts should be treated as special needs too? Or maybe I'm being naive and they already are :)
     
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  20. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    If that ever happens again have a word with the organiser, they would never be invited on a charter again
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
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