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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    HSE guidance is that you should keep up with statutory inspections.
     
  2. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Well-Known Member

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    Yes, so if you are competent to do the job you should be able to go out and do it, I personally don't see why being a volunteer or paid staff would make a difference.

    But this applies to essential tasks such as the pressure testing, it is hard to see that applying to restoring a carriage that is needed in the future
     
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  3. Guitar

    Guitar New Member

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    Whilst they have been running a reduced service, the national network hasn't closed. If a heritage line really wanted to reopen I'm sure you could be classed as essential just by offering a transport alternative. If I had to travel to town on public transport I'd rather be in compartment stock on a train than on a bus. Though I will admit this would be easier to justify for some railways than others, I'm not sure you'd get too much passenger traffic coming from Nant Gwernol for instance.
     
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    When the road to Twywn gets blocked there is local passenger traffic from Aberganolwyn
     
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  5. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Few heritage lines offer a true public service, it seems, as many do not go to towns where most people travel to on a daily basis. Even the Dartmouth line, which does go to and from somewhere (rather than nowhere) and usually provides a good alternative method of travel during the holiday season is not essential as bus services operate as well.
     
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  6. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    I can't speak for the HRA, but surely the definition of work in this case, would be 'earning a living'. You need an income so work is necessary, but volunteering for free is not necessary (aside from mental wellbeing :)).
     
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  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The railway itself could possibly justify opening by claiming public transport functions, but as that's only a tiny proportion of their normal passengers, and any passengers travelling purely for leisure (i.e. 99%) can still technically be arrested for doing so, it's simply not going to happen as the railway would lose hundreds of pounds a day in operating costs.
     
  8. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    Lets all be honest about this, we are still a long way away from any preserved railway being able to Open to the public, i dare say Pubs will be open before railways will, and whats the killer will be isn't just the lack of money during the shut down, its the lack of maintaince, if this goes on till say October, or even into December, and there is a second spike in infections, in say March, then that will wipe out not just any hope of operating post Christmas to earn some money, but possibly much of 2021, all that the industry can do is hope that donations keep coming in, to help pay for essential overheads so they can re open when the time is right, whilst mothballing everything may reduce your expenditure, at some point you will have to recommission everything, boilers even if drained down and winterised, will need their boiler exam, and a mechanical exam before they can be used.
     
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  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Or you could really annoy your local council, whom you need on side long term, by doing it.
    I see Police have been stopping vehicles on the A23 as Brighton do not want people there and Dorset Council issued this this week.

    "Councillor Spencer Flower, leader of the council, issued a clear message earlier this week for any potential visitors or day trippers thinking of coming to Dorset as a result of the government easing of lockdown restrictions: “Thinking of visiting Dorset now? Please think twice. We really look forward to welcoming visitors back to our beautiful county in future, but it’s too early to take the risk right now.”
     
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  10. Guitar

    Guitar New Member

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    There is no bottomless pit of money, at some point the decision may need to be made, open the railway or close for good.
     
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  11. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    There is a trap in the current furlough rules in that employees of charities are not permitted to volunteer their “service” for their employing charity. This is clearly covered by the law of unintended consequences.
    It doesn’t allow for paid staff in for example; loco workshops, to carry out voluntary work that they may well have been doing for longer than their employment such as firing and driving.
    Let alone security patrols while their railway is shut.

    This trap affects all charities, not just preserved railways.

    Fortunately, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is on the case.

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmcumeds/281/281.pdf

    Paragraph 21 and recommendation 3.
    Let’s hope this makes it into the furlough rules on 6th June as expected by DCMS Committee.

    I found this document linked from HRA website.
     
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  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    But that somewhat assumes that by opening the railway you'd be in a better financial situation - if you start running trains but no one is allowed to turn up to ride on them, or you're only allowed 30% capacity, then chances are you'll end up losing more money than if you hadn't opened in the first place.
     
  13. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    So maybe there is no answer.

    I wonder what will happen in general if, as some are predicting, a reliable vaccine turns out to be impossible?

    Noel
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I was talking to a person today who works on two railways, one as paid staff and one as a volunteer. The person is on furlough so cannot volunteer on the railway that is the employer but can volunteer on the other railway.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I've finally got some guidance on volunteers from the HRA in advance of a guidance document they are producing. In a nutshell, railways are businesses and those businesses can be active, subject to the restraints of not carrying on banned activities. Thus, if you need volunteers to undertake necessary work to protect the business then that is acceptable. If volunteers simply turn up they are arguably indulging in their hobby, which is not presently allowed. Thus, it was suggested that volunteers should be invited to undertake work that is deemed necessary for the protection of the business. This could include (my examples) vegetation works, maintenance and preparing for re-opening but would not include restoring a Barry wreck.
     
  16. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I can see that long term work of the "Barry Wreck" type might be seen as non essential but overhaul/maintenance work on locos is certainly necessary for the protection of the business. In some cases though it could be a fine line between the two if, say a Barry rebuild was months away from completion & its use had been factored into the host railway's plans.
     
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  17. Guitar

    Guitar New Member

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    Well if capacity is down then prices have to rise accordingly, and if councils are already putting out advice not to visit then I doubt there'd be a shortage of passengers, people are very very bored at the moment.
     
  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That assumes prices are completely elastic, and that you would get (using your numbers) 30% of customers to pay an amount equivalent to 100% of revenue. My gut feeling I suspect you'd actually struggle to get to 50%, and that mostly by removing the impact of discounts, without provoking accusations of gouging.
     
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  19. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    charity will run out sooner rather than later . an extended shutdown will almost certainly cost railways a large proportion of their volunteer base , probably all the competency and quite a lot of the available loco fleet . The risk averse approach may seem sensible but will ultimately set the movement back decades if not causing a total reset . There are thankfully those with a more enlightened mind looking into all avenues to get things running again . Harz restarted today just to show it can be done
     
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  20. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    just to build on this , a survey amongst my customers indicated 100% with no infection , and 75% wanting to get back to business as soon as possible and a large proportion are 65+
     
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