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Mid Hants Railway Operational Matters

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by NightRail, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. LC2

    LC2 Member

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    From the Gala info on the Watercress Website

    Covid-19 Information

    The Watercress Line has worked hard to develop and maintain very high standards of protection. Seating is not allocated for this event to give visitors the freedom to explore each station and join whichever trains they wish. We will be cleaning each train internally every hour through the day and cleaning the drop lights, door handles and other frequently touched items at every station.

    Carriages have “one way” systems to reduce contact between passengers, and the seating capacity of each train will be reduced by around 40% with certain seats marked as “out of use”. We have installed seatback dividers through our carriages which will also help maintain social distancing. It remains a legal requirement that face masks are worn on board all trains.


    There is more on the site, but I think this is the info you are asking about.
     
  2. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    Yeah forgot to remove my comment when I saw the webpage earlier. Shocked was one feeling but obviously in a great and welcoming way of how the MHR has gone about it. I look forward to coming to ride behind the Prairie and Pannier one day and filming the second.
     
  3. 73129

    73129 Member

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  4. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    I missed this here when it was posted (although did see it on another forum). The website seems not to be accessible so I do not know if more detail is given but will this not lead to lots of queuing for popular trains e.g. visiting locos, after lunch, late afternoon etc. How do you control access if trains arrive at the mid point stations almost full?
    Not planning to attend, although this would discourage me, but all reports seemed to imply how well last years system worked so I wonder why it has changed when things generally are not back to full opening up yet.
     
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  5. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    5526 failed at Chinnor on Thursday and is due to return to South Devon on Monday/Tuesday for repairs. Apparently according to the Official group page thread it's going to be a lengthy repair. Have doubts on it visiting the event now.
     
  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, I had it confirmed in a phone call that no seats will be allocated and this did rather unnerve me having booked given that we are talking about an event in only a few weeks.

    Whilst I presume that the MHR is limiting numbers of tickets that are sold I'd be interested in knowing how on earth they are making judgements about capacity given that a singleton would not want to share a table with a third party. And then there will be the inevitable bunching of people on certain trains.

    I do hope that the MHR has thought this through as a sniff of bad publicity around this event will be all they need.
     
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  7. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Surprising this, given Mid-Hants seemingly developed a good formula which has been adopted by other railways and received good feedback. I must admit I would think twice about booking, safety is still very high up my list of priorities and this seems a step backwards - however, you could argue what is being proposed is no different to national rail services. However, do we expect higher standards from a visitor attraction and day out? I would place value on having your own dedicated seat / compartment at the moment. I would be interested if this is a market led or economic decision.
     
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  8. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Well-Known Member

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    I find it an odd decision too, particularly given the success of last October's event and the adoption of a similar system by the SVR this week.

    At this point in the Covid cycle I would not feel comfortable in attending.

    Sent from my SM-G770F using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    I took a trip on the Mid Hants yesterday, and have to say I was very impressed with the new covid era services.

    Rather than a simple return trip, the train pauses at Ropley and gives you time to look around there. Then it double backs on itself and does an additional trip to Medstead and back. You have the option to get on the train to cover the additional mileage. Or you can stay at Ropley and have more time to look around, before rejoining the train when it passes back through on its way to Alresford.

    We had a compartment booked for 6 people, so it worked out at £10 per person. Very good value and highly recommended.
     
  10. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Part of the furniture

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    Would you Adam & Eve it?...... for once atop the hill atop the hill on a Saturday, the sun was out!! :):):) Though tempered by a breeze with a fair old nip on it!

    Only two like minded nutters in attendance, but, after a brew & a bacon bap from Loaf, we were on a mission......

    Namely doorframe #2, plus a few other niggly jobs on the Gunpowder Van.... more caulking on the northside longitudinal beam to try & neaten it up some more, along with making the roof hoops look more like hoops, than chunks of wood, plus bringing the four vertical planks at either end into line with the bodysides..... this was achieved without fuss.

    The second doorframe also came together like a dream, and that was when the fun started, namely trial fitting to work out where the rebate woud be, as well as bolt holes, plus fitting doorframe #1 at the same time to see how they should marry up - cue a lot of jigglingos frames, head scratching, swearing & bouncing of ideas!:Arghh:

    We reached the conclusion, that because they have yet to be hung from the hinges, the curve of the hinge maybe impeding them....... thats a job for next week!

    It was also good to see trains running again filled with happy smiling faces of fare paying passengers - it was also nice to see both the loco's adorned with a wreath in respect of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/duty_druid/51123185199/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/duty_druid/51124235970/in/photostream/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/duty_druid/51123435926/in/photostream/

    Frame #2 trial fitted to find the line of the rebate.

    20210417_141249.jpg

    Acouple of images showing the roof hoops tidied up & the verticals in the process of being bought into line.

    20210417_143300.jpg

    20210417_143251.jpg

    Frame #2 undergoing some tweaking......

    20210417_143243.jpg
    Frames #1 & #2 together for the 1st time, but not yet married.

    20210417_144204.jpg
     
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    The MHR has too many 'pinch points' at its stations to make it safe even with reduced numbers. You only had to be at the SVR Gala and see how well they managed their large concourse area at Kidderminster to realise that unless the MHR changes its approach it may not be seen as a wise decision.

    If this were an event taking place in the autumn then maybe they could be slightly more relaxed but at the end of April even before the first charter trains on the network are running does seem rather premature.
     
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  12. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day I like the idea of buying a slice of personal space that is exclusive to me. It provides a sense of personal protection that I have an area that is clean and I only am responsible for. Even with cleaning every hour, you can't guarantee someone hasn't sat there since the last clean.
    We are very early back into reopening society, we are still at a tipping point - confidence building has to be key for returning customers. The SVR did this very well this weekend.
    This is probably pure psychology and there is likely no scientific rationality, but like Big Al my personal feeling this is a step too far, too soon. The Mid Hants is too far away for me, so I am outsider on this one, but this would stop me from booking I think had it been an option. Others may disagree.
     
  13. Shaggy

    Shaggy Well-Known Member

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    You could look at other places recently opened up again for visitors. Last week I spent 2 days at Thorpe Park. Like the MHR, they have restricted access to prebooked tickets only and also reduced capacity. The food outlets are all take away only and run a one way system, very similar to that being utilised on the coaches at the MHR. The rides have limited capacity when fully loaded and all seats are utilsed whenever possible. Masks have to be warn unless exempt and then, if you do not / cannot wear a mask, you are restricted to travel at the back of the ride. The rides are also cleaned every 30 minutes so delays do occur but everyone now expects and welcomes the effort put in to maintain everyones safety and enjoyment. Obviously they only put persons from the same bubble next to each other so quite often these can look pretty empty and can lead to longer than average queues. The queues themselves are clearly marked at intervals of 2 metres with regular announcements made to maintain social distancing and there are Covid Marshals patrolling giving advice and maintaining social distances. Did I feel uneasy about my safety? No. You will always get the odd idiot but you get them when you are out walking down a pavement on any highstreet or in Tesco. These attractions rely on good customer experience. That does not only include value for money and fun but the feeling that your safety is paramount to them. Poor customer feedback is a killer for any organisation so I'm sure the MHR have taken everything into consideration. I unfortunately will not be able to attend this event as I am working that weekend but I will be booking up for the diesel gala in June and hopefully other events throughout the year. As for Thorpe Park? Well I'll be back there in May followed by Alton Towers in June so they are obviously doing something right!
     
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  14. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Interesting perspective, but rides will be shorter than you would spend on a train?

    I am intrigued as the MHR came under quite a bit of criticism for running a gala last year, but those who travelled were very complimentary for the measures that were put in place, which have since been replicated by others - so why change a formula that worked and has clearly helped people regain the confidence to visit railways again?
    Of course the same could happen again this year and the MHR could again be leading the way!
     
  15. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I would guess there is a lot more queueing space for a popular ride at Thorpe Park than there is for the most popular train on even the most spacious platform at the Mid Hants though. Railways inherently are limited in the availability of space for queueing. This might not be so much of an issue on a normal running day if passengers alight at Ropley to have a look at the sheds, but on a Gala which one would expect to have a higher footfall for, I'm not so sure you could guarantee there would be enough space at a given station for everybody who is queueing to board an incoming train without compromising social distancing? Plus, I would guess it's a lot easier on a ride to see from the outside whether it is full than it is for a train of Mk1s. And what do you do if you board a train and then discover it's too full?
     
  16. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    I have bought tickets but not sure we will go as I don’t see how train numbers can be controlled. I have emailed them suggesting same formula as last year but had no reply yet. I should be safe as I have had both jabs but can I be sure?

    Don
     
  17. Andy Louch

    Andy Louch Member

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    Some interesting debate here! I've bought a ticket and am going (as I did last Autumn) and generally don't travel too much. I prefer to stay on the stations and soak up the atmosphere! Might use the train if not too crowded, but the beauty is that I can do this on a 'spur of the moment' basis. Hopefully, the sunny/dry weather will last until the end of the month!
    Shame if the Prairie can't make it, but would be quite happy if the 7F is used instead!
    Andy
     
  18. Martin

    Martin New Member

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    Must confess that I bought my ticket the day they went on sale, in the belief that the event would be run in the same way as last October (I'm sure I read that on here somewhere, but can't now find it). I was also surprised to read of the lack of reservations, but I will still be going. The situation is quite different - many of us will have had at least one vaccine dose, and the Covid rates are far lower than they were in mid-October. It also removes the problem I had last time, when the table opposite me included two very young and noisy children - I ended up trying to avoid riding whenever they were on board! Hopefully the numbers will be limited to such a level that there will be plenty of space to spread out, and if a particular train is busy, I'll just find myself a vestibule window and stand there.

    It would be good to know the rationale behind this decision though - hopefully it's for well considered reasons, and not because the ticket purchasing delay means there isn't time to sort out a reservation system. I for one am looking forward to an excellent day out, regardless of how much riding or watching I end up doing, and hope to be back for the diesel gala in June.
     
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  19. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    The capacity of the railway is estimated to be well in excess of 5000 people. Seating capacity in covid arrangements on the trains in service will be over 700 seats per day. Numbers are restricted to 550 per day which is less than 1/3 of daily numbers dealt with in the past at Galas pre 2020.

    Experience with similar numbers of tickets sold in October never created a single "pinch point" anywhere on the railway and if we were to get one we have management measures in place to deal with this eventuality.

    Last October we were widely complimented for how we ran trains. Whilst this time is slightly different we are confident it will still feel safe and "exclusive" but with more flexibility over travel options.

    Why is it not simply the "same"? In simple terms the guidance and regulations have changed and this precipitated the change in format. I don't think it would be helpful to go into the detail here. Please bear in mind also that there is always an element of interpretation by local authorities charged with responsibility to keep us all safe. What may work in one place and time may not work in another, so comparisons with other lines is also not really possible. Our local authorities are hugely supportive of us, and we of them. We are delighted to be open again, and having a lot of fun!

    Looking forward to seeing you all!




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  20. Martin

    Martin New Member

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    That's excellent to read, many thanks for taking the time to post. Looking forward to a great day out, hopefully the first of many events in 2021.
     
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