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Recommissioning after Coronavirus

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

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Devil in the detail no doubt.

    For example, our Santa Specials. Train load of passengers who get out at Horsted Keynes for various entertainments before returning. On a peak day we might run five trains, but there is never more than one train load at HK at once. So if each train has say 300 people, is that five events for 300, or one event for 1500?

    Tom
     
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  2. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    One would hope logic would prevail and it would be 5 events for 300. Certainly that was the logic used for my wedding last October where we had 3 receptions of 15 people after the service where my wife and I were actually married. However, given some of the government's decision making in the last 18 months, I am forced to conclude that what seems logical to me doesn't always seem logics to Bojo and his chums!
     
  3. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    The 'I' & 'you' in that are the royal ones.

    For customer facing/interacting roles, you'd have trouble with a risk assessment that insists on checking customer vaccine status & not doing the same for the staff.


    As for the actual 'passports', it's a screen in the NHS app, & you can get a printed version.
    If Government don't make them mandatory, then it will be interesting trying to write T&C's that enable you to deny entry to someone without one, even more so if they're part of a pre-booked group.
     
  4. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    On the contrary, I don't think those would be at all difficult to manage. There's a difference between me as an individual customer demanding your status, which is wholly unreasonable, and asking for reassurance that the venue had appropriate measures in place - as an organiser, I'd probably ask for lateral flow tests rather than vaccine passports from staff, because of the extra assurance they'd give. As for T&Cs, the Royal Albert Hall managed it as a condition of booking back in July, so I don't see it being difficult to write down, for either individuals or groups. There might be an issue over retrospection, but a written notification with offer of refund if unacceptable would be a reasonable way of managing that.

    Where there's a will, there's a way.
     
  5. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    There’s a difference here between venues enforcing their own T & Cs or government guidelines, and the inference I drew from the vaccines minister’s comments that this would be a legal regulation.

    For the former you can act as the organisers did at the Albert Hall and say if you don’t like it, don’t come.

    If it’s the latter then it would be what the rules say. Whether organisations could rely on self-verification and whether they vet in advance or at the gate aren’t known at present.

    Patrick


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  6. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    What would those measures be though?
    If your requiring to see customers vaccine passports, then simply pointing out that all your staff have been vaccinated (& you've added it to their HR records) seems reasonable/appropriate.
    Your not having to have staff show each customer their own vaccine passport. It would work the same way as DBS/first aid/etc, you (the venue/employer) simply state that staff have them.

    Certainly from the management side, I would not have the staff requirements less than the customer requirements.


    Looks like the best route with vaccine passports is to stick with pre-booking only, with a free transfer to another date if required.
     
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  7. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    The posts on this topic have mainly been about how our passengers/paying public visit our railways and rightly so.
    I wonder what impact there has been on staffing on railways around the country?
    I notice two railways locally have cancelled trains or ran diesel instead of steam because of a shortage of staff, directly because of covid in at least one instance.
    I wonder if this is part of the trend in the wider world of employment for people to examine their motivations and sometimes change what they do?
    It is well known that when people make changes to a routine activity because of an external factor, the change is permanent because the new way is in some way 'better'. The usual example is change to a commute following a transport strike. A piece of folk wisdom says when you lose a customer you can't easily regain them.
    In a way volunteers are customers of the organisation they volunteer for. I exchange something of value, that is, time and out of pocket expenses, for a payoff which is the enjoyment and so on of the activity.
    I have no insight to this other than anecdata.
    Thoughts people?
     
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  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I've a suspicion that I'll have to sit down with a risk assessment in a few weeks, so time will tell... My gut feeling right now is that the primary requirement for protecting visitors is not the vaccine, but maintaining a consistent run of lateral flow tests to give assurance that even if vaccinated the front of house staff aren't ill.

    That's not about staff requirements being more/less than customer's, but recognising the different roles each play.
     
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  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Part of the furniture

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    I think you are correct, I have started to feel that way about galas for example. So long since I have been to one, not sure if I can be bothered anymore. I had booked a stewarding trip to coincide with the GOS weekend at the Bluebell, but now I am not even sure I can be bothered driving the extra mileage. I do find it has become easy to stop doing things, for example my wife and myself have only been out birdwatching once this year as well. Inertia or an alternative activity can be easy to achieve.
     
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  10. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    Very easy . Yes it’s an NHS screen and I also have it as a file. It ought to be mandatory in many more places than just big events as it is in France
     
  11. gricerdon

    gricerdon Well-Known Member

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    I can understand that. I don’t mind visits to Heritage Railways but I have almost stopped going on Railtours. It’s the early starts and late finishes which I don’t like and going out for a nice meal with the family is a much more attractive for me now.
     
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  12. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Member

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    This is certainly something that I feel. I have reassessed what I want to do, how regularly I want to do it, and who I want to do it with. So many things I felt I was doing out of habit rather than actually wanting to. The habits were forcibly broken by the pandemic and now I will do less and focus on quality rather than quantity.

    Sent from my SM-G770F using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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    “A piece of folk wisdom says that when you lose a customer you can’t easily regain them”. I have seen a statement that it is far more expensive - like x 20 - to acquire a customer by marketing/advertising than to retain an existing one.

    It is a question that must have been asked: there is a joke that must go back over a century that somebody tells somebody like J P Morgan or Lord Leverhulme that half the money they spend on advertising is wasted to which the response is “Certainly but which half?” I presume the statistics are probably American and may be long term running ones standard with anybody who oversees advertising budgets.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  14. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    I think it cuts both ways though.

    There have got to be people like me, somewhere in the system, who have decided as a result of the pandemic that it's time to start volunteering again rather than stop. Essentially, the people who sat at home reassessing their lives and thought 'I haven't volunteered since I was 18 in 1999, time to go back because you only get one life.'

    But then you get into how long the line's going to take to get you on board, PTS, etc - so the turning on of the tap of new people is always going to take longer than the turning off of the tap of people who don't want to do it anymore.

    So some of the shortages *might* be a bit artificial, rather than indicative of a longer term problem. I've said before (and I've also said that this isn't my ambition - so don't worry, I fancy S&T this time round), I think if you want to be footplate crew now is an absolutely golden moment at many lines to be starting as a cleaner - with potentially much faster progression (if you put the hours in) and less competition than at any point in the last 20 years.
     
  15. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    That pretty much describes my position at the moment. I had a couple of spells of hands on volunteering at Didcot around 40 years ago, and Epping Ongar 15 years ago. Kept busy with my website and also online work for HRA in the meantime, but not been 'playing trains' for a while now.
    Now retired (as of last autumn) and currently in the process of moving to North Wales. Hopefully we will be in the new house before the end of the year and looking at our new 'local' railways (Cambrian and/or Llangollen) with a view to getting our hands dirty. The wife is also into railways (that's how we met) so they'll be getting two of us. :)
     
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  16. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    I think I'm going to be Northampton and Lamport, but I *really* want to be able to do the odd week or weekend on the Lynton and Barnstaple too - just not sure how set up they are for Talyllyn style 'once a year' volunteers...
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think there is merit in that viewpoint; there are also though other reasons for staff shortages right now, which hopefully are short-term.

    The first is the general effect of the pingdemic / covid itself. Volunteers aren't immune from the issues hitting the wider economy. We had a cleaner "pinged" the other day on his way to the railway: OK, a cleaner doesn't create a critical operational hole, but what if it had been a driver, fireman, signalman or guard? You have a critical vacancy at essentially zero notice.

    The other - at least in our case - is that service plans, and by implication rostering, are being covered at short notice. We used to roster up to four months in advance at weekends (i.e. in three four-month blocks through the year) and the skeleton of the mid-week roster was done annually. People would "book their week" and then take a week's leave to fit. That depended on having the basic service plan in place by the end of the previous year: we haven't had that luxury for the last two years. Obviously we had short-notice trains as well (weddings, film jobs and so on) but the core service was known, and largely filled, well in advance. Now it feels like everything is short notice - but if you only know a short distance in advance if a train is going to run, it can be hard for those in normal employment to cover those turns, since it might mean getting short notice leave; or at a weekend, you may already have other plans.

    I think we need to get back to more stable annual service plans in order to get back to stable crew availability.

    Tom
     
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  18. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    I hadn't considered the other side of the equation as put by gwralatea.
    Some people may have changed their work patterns, WFH and so on. This could allow more scope for participation in the heritage movement.
    There has been some reflection in richer countries at least about work life balance because the situation was forced upon us all.
    As has been said elsewhere, we get 4000 weeks. Not very many is it? The pandemic has made a lot of us consider our choices instead of just sticking to our routines. I have changed the way I shop for the better. Leisure activity is just one of many life choices.
    I'm enjoying my classic motorcycling more often nowadays too.
     
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  19. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    I think the pandemic impact is going to take a while to become clear, but I do think that as some volunteers have decided they've got something better to do with their lives, some non-volunteers will have reached the same conclusion and the heritage movement is going to be their something better.

    That's no judgment on those walking away either - life's too short.
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I have heard of several railways that are struggling for volunteers. By that I mean far more than they normally struggle.
    I'm involved with two railways and, interestingly, they are seeing different outcomes. One railway did their best to get volunteers back as soon as possible, considering it was essential to safeguard the business, having no paid staff. The other railway kept volunteers very much at arms length right through last year and the first half of this with only the absolute minimum needed to run a service. The former has seen virtually no drop off in volunteer numbers whilst the latter have lost a significant number.
     
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