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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    While many heritage lines are 'closed' over the winter for 2-3 months, cleraly work is going on and trains will be moving, even if only for engineering purposes.

    But we now have a 12 week minimum 'lay up' with (presumably) minimum work going on.

    So what will need doing to get lines recommissioned? Clearly there may be issues with vegetation and weeds but what else?
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I'd be interested to know on those railways with paid workshop staff how much work they're doing.
    @Jamessquared and I both mentioned this earlier, but competence could potentially be a tricky one. For guards and TTIs on the GWSR, we have a biannual assessment to prevent our competence expiring, but our competence also lapses if we don't do a turn in over 6 months. Given few railways had had time to really start operating after the usual winter shut down before closing, most people's competence will have lapsed by June. Plus by then there will be a backlog of perhaps a dozen or so biannual assessments in our own department. Some industry guidance from the HRA or ORR (particularly as the latter have been extremely keen on all this in their recent inspections) would probably be helpful, at least to prevent everyone coming up with different solutions and looking inconsistent.
     
  3. TseTT

    TseTT New Member

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    I'm concerned that the pond life elements of our society will take advantage of the shutdown and do potentially severe damage.
    That could be a delay to any reopening.
    I hope the various railways have given it some thought and taken precautions.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The ORR have already published some guidance.

    https://orr.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice
     
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  5. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    East lancs already hit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  6. TseTT

    TseTT New Member

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    Is there much damage?
    I dread to think where this will end.
     
  7. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    According to their page £10,000 worth of copper and ferrous metals taken.
     
  8. 60044

    60044 Member

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    NYMR at Grosmont has been hit too I believe - enamel signs stolen
     
  9. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Member

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    the 12 week timescale to 'get this done' is a political carrot - you know that right? The countries that have controlled their outbreaks well with 'lock-down' measures will only see resurgence if those measures are now relaxed.

    I've not seen any of the science saying we will be back to normal in such timescales given that it has been said that a vaccine would be realistically available in 12-18mths?
     
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  10. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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  11. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Bearing in mind that many volunteers can go for extended periods between shifts because of normal life events (eg broken legs, illness recovery etc) does your railway not already have a policy on this? What happens now if the railway runs until, say, September, a volunteer is sick for the Santa season and things don't start again until April, or a person is off for six months and one day?

    I would imagine that they can remain in their normal cycle but be reassessed / accompanied on the first turn of duty - indeed best practice would probably be having them working alongside an instructor for a set period. This is what we used to do with tube train drivers when I used to manage them some time ago, female drivers went off for over a year when they were pregnant and on maternity leave, after all!

    Whether a railway has enough inspectors to do this is something for them to work out!
     
  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Indeed, it does happen, if a volunteer is off for a period of more than 6 months but their biennial competence hasn't expired, they simply go out with with a colleague on a "refresh" turn and as long as there are no problems job's a good'un. The problem arises when everyone needs a refresh at the same time and there's no-one they can go out with who hasn't lapsed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That would be what we do on the Bluebell - which is fine if it affects a small number of people at any one time, but more difficult if almost the whole operational staff need re-assessment; there is also the question of whether the inspectors themselves need assessing!

    In other words - it's not that there isn't a process, but that the process is designed for dealing with a tick-over of cases, not almost the whole department at once.

    Tom
     
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  14. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Ok, but again this isn't insurmountable by any means.

    The nearest comparison might be reopening to Grinstead, at which point noone had route knowledge for that section. Or what about opening a new railway, when again nobody has the appropriate knowledge?

    I would probably look at creating a pool of trainers first, followed by a series of closed to the public days where staff get a trip or two under supervision. You could also look at rules tests etc that could be done 'offline', plus drivers eye videos etc for route knowledge.

    Don't forget that anyone who drove the Santa's will still be in date for a certain period...
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, I’m sure it is soluble, just a significant issue. I think with East Grinstead, there was no question about ongoing competence for most parts of the role - for example, safe loco preparation, rules etc - so it was just a question of route knowledge over the new section. I seem to recall there was a week of route learning before opening for as many as possible, who then rode with new crews (either as a rostered driver, or as an additional person on the footplate) for those who hadn’t gone through the training.

    Speaking personally, I had my last turn at the end of Feb (had a turn in March cancelled) so I guess I am good to late August; there will be a few people good into mid-September.

    Tom
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Network Rail provided the NYMR with a route learning video for the Esk Valley Line. With just a view out of the cab window and no commentary, it is great for sending you to sleep. The longest I've managed without nodding off is 20 minutes. The highlights are a cat crossing the track and a dead sheep in the four foot. There may be more exciting things further along the line but I've never got that far.

    On the NYMR, we do a series of an annual safety briefing in the closed season which everyone has to attend as part of their footplate competence. This covers everything from route knowledge to incidents and matters of concern. By now, the vast majority of people will have attended and that segment of their competence will be ticked off. Rules are done on a bi-annual basis and are done on-line so are unaffected by the present situation. Ride outs are theoretically bi-annual but we endeavour to have an inspector riding out each day and thus most people are having an assessment far more frequently than this so that aspect is unlikely to be a problem. Drivers sign annually to say they consider that they have the route knowledge and that is their decision. They can ask for a refresher trip if they so wish. Medicals may become a problem but he ORR have issued guidance on this so there is some leeway.
    i don't see it being a problem, even after a six month shut down.
     
  17. cav1975

    cav1975 Member

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    Do you really do rules exams twice per year?
     
  18. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Bi annual = every other year??
     
  19. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Biennial .... lasting, or occuring over two years
    Bi annual .... occuring twice a year
     
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  20. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Doh! Every two years. Meant to put biennial
     

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