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Adaption and strengthening: How to improve in corona times

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Railboy, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. Railboy

    Railboy Member

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    Hello everybody,
    I hope each of you and your loved ones stay safe.

    Due to the given circumstance, nearly all heritage railways have to fight for financial survival. Although the times are extremly difficult, we also have to do positive resilience and keep looking forward. Therefore I would like to give an imput to the heritage railway community, what should or could be done in these complicated times in order to continously improve and resurge stronger after having a vaccine (or having lifted the strict rules). Many of these works could be done from at home or without being in physical contact with others:

    -searching for additional and unconventional sources of income (e.g. let the track for storage for vehicles from companies (trains, freight wagons...); searching for all possible funds from trusts, government, companies...; offering advertisments in the railway website for other companies...)

    - improving the marketing (bringing blogs and websites up to date, optimizing the websites for smartphone usage, using QR-Codes for posters in order to get faster to the relevant website)

    - organizational optimization: doing tasks, for which one normally has no time availabe (paperworks, applications...), reflection of organizational structure: What went well in the past and what went wrong? How can we eliminate our deficits and troubling spots?; planning a road map for the future (goals and how to get there)...

    -cleaning up of "junk yards", which aren't the most picturesque places of one touristic railway

    - cutting back the vegetation along the line (the people can easily work alone if no tree needs to be cut down)

    These would be my thoughts. If one point is not right, let's discuss it in this thread.
    Please add additional jobs and topics, which should also be mentioned. So feel free to comment.

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  2. Ken_R

    Ken_R New Member

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    Perhaps, spell checking of one's post heading before submitting?
     
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  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I'm not even sure what this thread's meant to be about! :/
     
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  4. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I assume the question being posed is what can heritage railways do whilst the country is under lock down, the answer is not much, other than limited opening of museums, etc, by limiting the numbers they let in at any time, so social distancing can be maintained, by allowing their cafes etc to do take away food, hot drinks etc, as long as staff can be kept safe, this might mean opening stations for refreshments , and other non operational uses, from a staffing point of view, I agree some limited clearance etc, clearing lineside or track maintaince, by mechanical means might be possible, much of the backroom work can still be done from home, or from offices that are not accessible by the public.
     
  5. TseTT

    TseTT New Member

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    I think Railboy has a fair point if i understand correctly. That is to use this enforced down time to raise funds, clear up lineside mess and do those other forever "put off till tomorrow" jobs.
    The problem is that as far as the railway I'm at is concerned, is that all work has rightly or wrongly been banned until further notice. Except for work at home, office type work. I assume other railways are the same. Very frustrating, but that's the way it is.
     
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Ah, I see the original post has been edited, I see now!

    I think anything that involves volunteers actually travelling to the railway at the moment is a bit of a non-starter. However we may reach a situation where we're still in a partial lockdown or strict social distancing, so no passengers are allowed, but volunteers could come in. At which point, yes that could be quite handy. Lineside clearance isn't probably the first thing I think of as that's not really held up by trains running. But P'way work would be much easier, along with repainting carriages that are normally constantly in use so don't usually get a chance, I could certainly see things like that happening. Although that sort of thing may depend on how long we know we couldn't run trains. No one would be very happy if, having decided that now's a good time to get on with some maintenance work, you're half-way through a track relay when it's announced we can now run trains after all!

    I think getting a lot of boring paperwork done probably ought to be the biggest advantage. It's certainly what the ORR are very keen on, records for training, records for competence, records for maintenance, records for training people to be competent at maintenance etc. etc. If a robust system hasn't already been put in place for all of that, or it could do with updating, but folk haven't quite got round to it, then now would be a great time to do it. One task I know we're doing is re-writing all the training material to reflect the new rulebook; a lot of it is similar, but terminology has changed, bits need updating here and there, so it's all worthwhile stuff and we'll be in a better position at the other end of things on that front.
     
  7. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    I visualise some of the maintenance and other outdoor work mentioned in previous posts - subject to any Government restrictions - being able to be done when lockdown is eased. I can't see trains running for some while given the concern about a second wave of Covid-19 and the approach of Autumn which is usually part of most lines timetables. Lines, if permitted to operate, would probably only run for just two months or so? After all railway carriages are confined spaces - no possibility of one in and one out as shops seem to be doing, besides many passengers are families or groups, so it is not easy to separate people and more to the point keep them distanced. There must be a big question mark for dining trains and Santa Specials.
    I wonder if there is any distinction for government funding for lines with a large paid work force and those maintained mostly with volunteers? HMRC does seem to be a factor in the payments of funding I believe.
     
  8. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Member

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    I have a list of jobs ready for our volunteers to tackle if the restrictions are lifted but trains still can't operate.
    These are mainly jobs which need doing out of operating hours, but the possibility of normal hours working in potentially good weather is ideal for our volunteers.
    We have got to re-paint the much photographed fence on Berwyn viaduct, the former Barmouth box at Glyndyfrdwy, Carrog station box, and finish the job on Glyndyfrdwy crossing box.
    The way this weather is going it will either pour down as soon as restrictions are lifted, or there will be a drought and a steam ban.

    Bob.
     
  9. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Well, you seem to have made some good plans Bob. Hopefully they can be achieved in the not too distant future.
     

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