If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,001
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    I can see some mileage in the idea amongst enthusiasts but then would it draw the general public who make up the majority of heritage railway visitors? Assuming it’s just the enthusiasts are drawn in how long until the model becomes unviable due to limited numbers?
     
  2. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    3,269
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Those type of carriages and that photo is of a DSR one, of many they have, which are always steam hauled. You should visit the line if you get the opportunity. ;) The steam locomotives are the attraction and are commented upon - especially their names. Diesel haulage is rare on the DSR and generally only used to bank heavy, visiting or well loaded trains up the steep grades.
    Yes they were once part of mainline stock but purposely obtained to seat the maximum numbers of passengers.
    Maybe it would not work for other lines, based on their traffic flow.
     
  3. MikeParkin65

    MikeParkin65 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    460
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The heritage railway experience is very different to public transport and I dont think the opening up of public transport with or without face masks is the key to restarting heritage operations.

    Social distancing compels us to remain physically apart whereas the heritage railway experience is all about focussing in - visitors are all drawn to the same point be that the shop, the platform or the loco.

    Regarding coaches, whether open or compartment stock is used most passengers will want the windows open (to at least hear the loco) and some will want to poke a head from the window to see the loco. How will this work with social distancing though both in terms of the impact on air flow within the carriage and also being downwind of however many open windows and heads?

    Hard as it is I dont think we are anywhere near to a realistic restart of heritage line operations.
     
  4. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    2,738
    I've "like"d that post because I think it is accurate, not because I like the situation.
     
    jnc and 5944 like this.
  5. MikeParkin65

    MikeParkin65 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    460
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Thats pretty much how I felt writing it. I live 30 minutes from the Severn Valley and there is little I'd rather be able to do than nip up on the motorbike, buy a couple of magazines from Kiddy station and have a ride to Bridgnorth and back but I have resigned myself (much like the also local GWSR) to the sad fact that it isnt likely to happen this year.
     
    unslet likes this.
  6. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    2,022
    What would you consider is a reasonable charge?

    If there were 50 people willing to pay £75 each then maybe it could be done. If reasonable is £10 then we would need 375 people which is probably unrealistic to expect to get that number.



    Sent from my SM-A405FN using Tapatalk
     
  7. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,371
    Likes Received:
    2,243
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    I'd stretch it to 70.00 and I'd pay it once a month. Obviously, I'd like to see a full return trip and plenty of dwell time at stations to allow the contributors to get a few shots and if funds could stretch it maybe have another loco at the other end to bring the train back. You'd comfortably get 375 people on the SVR at 10.00 a pop to fund a train, no doubt in my mind.
     
    DrIain likes this.
  8. D7076

    D7076 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    286
    Mainline operators are currently running with one seat in four available for use re social distancing .On that basis 375 passengers will require load 24 to accommodate them ,might be issues in hauling the train and lets hope a second similar train doesn’t want to pass.It would certainly be worth a £10 fare though ...
     
  9. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    1,292
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    This is pretty much what the GCR did last Sunday. It was not really publicised, apart from on their website the week before, but they did get about 50 cars, and so about 70 people to watch and photograph the trains at Quorn. They did not charge but people were invited to donate in a low key manner. We all socially distanced and it was stewarded by GCR volunteers. I think this was a very sensible start to steadily recommissioning. If they did a bit more promotion, then, I'm sure the finances would start to show a profit.
    I also think that we need to get back to a more "aware" normal and take sensible precautions for our own, and others, health. I would rather enjoy my last 10 years than be socially isolated for, possibly, an extra couple of years.
     
    jnc, Tim Light and MikeParkin65 like this.
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,636
    Likes Received:
    31,751
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Essentially what is being proposed is the economic model of a photo charter, ie small numbers of participants * high cost per person.

    Now, I’m certainly not going to decry the value in normal times of such things. But in my experience any individual railway can support perhaps a handful of such charters per year, from a fairly small pool of people who travel quite widely to partake in their particular niche of the hobby. So I can’t see any railway really being able to run such a scheme at the prices that would be needed for more than a day or two before interest dwindled.

    And then there is the social distancing aspect, given that frequently such events are based around using a handful of key locations in which there is an optimum viewpoint:

    B82A1DA6-1010-453F-B294-15F29827D020.jpeg

    Tom
     
  11. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    1,292
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Tom makes a fair point but both D1002 and I regard this as a first stage of recommissioning. On Sunday at Quorn, we were all spaced out along the fence line, not clustered. If the yard had also been opened and a few people allowed on the platform, then easily - with social distancing, two or three hundred people could spectate. It is a start, which I'm sure we all want to see happen.
     
    D1002 and MikeParkin65 like this.
  12. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    576
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Which is going to be the first preserved line/group to produce their own "branded" range of face-masks here in the UK?
    I know the WW&F line in Maine have already produced some and they are apparently selling very well, even with a fairly high "mark up" ($15 each..)
    I have seen some for sale online here which consist of the lower front ends of several BR diesel classes!!
     
  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,081
    Likes Received:
    5,081
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If getting PPE is as problematic there as t'was here, until around a week ago, the price is somewhat secondary to actually having the dammed things in stock in the first place.

    In more serious vein, we purchased a couple of washable masks, with disposable filtration inserts (which are bloomin' 'orrible to wear .... plus I feel like a highwayman!) Great idea, if replacement inserts are obtainable .... but still looking. My thought was to soak the 'disposable' filter bit in a solution of detergent and microwave it, to kill any lurgi, followed by a quick rinse under the cold tap. Any thoughts please, folks?
     
  14. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,424
    Likes Received:
    2,502
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    https://pixelshack.co.uk/products/locomotive-facemasks-several-designs

    These ones?
     
  15. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    4,785
    Likes Received:
    2,559
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Enfield
    I was thinking a price equivalent to the charge for an average gala, say £25.00.
    Done over a weekend I would have thought it would have attracted enough punters to make it pay.
    There must be a lot of frustrated railway photographers out there who would support such a venture.
    In 2020 I have switched my camera on once, and that was to change the clock to BST!
     
    jackshepherd likes this.
  16. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    4,785
    Likes Received:
    2,559
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Enfield
    Must admit I’m not convinced about the concept of social distancing. If someone two metres away sneezed in my direction I certainly wouldn’t feel safe!
    Five metres might be more realistic!
    Perhaps it’s time to adopt the one metre rule as suggested by the World Health Organisation.
    Not only would it make life simpler for railways, it would be of great benefit when pubs, restaurants, shops etc reopen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    15,613
    Likes Received:
    13,450
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    This is becoming a case of who is going to blink first.

    We all accept risk in our lives and control it at whatever level we are comfortable with. Sticking your head out of a window on a heritage line involves a risk but with care, debris from the locomotive excepted, we can avoid problems as we can see what is coming. That's not true of this virus and for older (rather than younger) people the risk and possible consequences are real.

    The national network has been running. Trains have had people on them but not many. TOCs have taken what reasonable precautions they feel they can take but it's been for the public to decide what to do. The government hasn't banned heritage railways from operating so I think that each line should put in place what it feels is necessary and start up operations with a limited service. It need not be over the length of the line, maybe using end points where access to the station site and parking can be managed.

    Of course, volunteers and paid staff should be free to work or not but until a trial opening, nobody can know how it might play out. If it looks bad then there is nothing to stop the railway adjusting its operation.
     
    jnc, Ian Watling and Graft on like this.
  18. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    696
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Whilst I won't get into discussion of whether any operations have technically been banned (as a lot of the closures throughout the country have been on the basis of an element of consent), I would disagree that heritage railways aren't currently expected to be closed.

    The Government has been clear that the whole leisure sector should be closed, and that I am sure encompasses heritage railways. The only exception at the moment are shops and cafes (for takeaway only). I appreciate that there have been some limited operations at the GCR but I don't feel that these have contravened because people haven't got beyond the carpark.

    Sent from my SM-J330FN using Tapatalk
     
    Spitfire likes this.
  19. Tim Light

    Tim Light Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    590
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I don't see the charter idea as being the new normal, but as a one-off it would help to swell the appeal funds that most railways have launched.

    Another variation/add-on would be to arrange museum locos in the open for photography. At Oxenhope, for example, there are locos that haven't seen the light of day for many years. If they could be arranged in the open for photography then I would be happy to pay a modest fee (let's say £20) to photograph them.
     
    jnc and jackshepherd like this.
  20. alastair

    alastair Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,107
    Likes Received:
    643
    deleted
     

Share This Page