Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by threelinkdave, Aug 20, 2014.
Maybe what was planned for next winter might just be paused for a bit.
The 4.5mil quoted is what we would expect the turnover to be for the railway. There will be a massive scaling back of all activities both on the SVR and every other heritage attraction where no new projects, unless externally funded wont be going ahead. It does however provide a good opportunity to not be distracted by larger projects and work through maintenance jobs.
The £4.5 million was the amount of proposed annual investment in the railway. This will be severely curtailed. The railway's annual turnover is normally in excess of £8 Million.
The Emergency Appeal, which is ongoing, requires £250,000 per three months just to keep the Railway ticking over.
As Kje7812 has already posted they have already raised over £400k https://www.svr.co.uk/NewsItem.aspx?a=921
That tides them over them over but obviously they are trying to raise considerably more as nobody has an idea how long this will go on for. As I said in a previous post some of the big names should be OK, they generally can get their supporters to contribute. There will be other, maybe long established names, who will struggle to raise £5k or £10k and that may be critical
In the current situation cash is king and especially cash burn. The SVR's 2018 turnover was £8m in 2017 just north of £7m of which roughly 50% is from ticket sales. The rest is bar revenue, café, gift shop etc. It is not good to loose that income but wages are annually about £2.75m and much of that is presently covered by Govt support or not yet having taken seasonal staff on. I am sure that there are plenty of other day to day costs that are not being incurred e.g. coal, the costs of sale of the bars, catering etc. It is not a great position to be in but I expect that it is cash burn that the penny counters at the SVR and all railways will be concerned about now and how to minimise.
The SVR is in a better position that some as it has loyal and generous supports. Roughly 20% of ticket sales appear to be from the Christmas service and hopefully they will be operating a reasonable level of service by then so whilst far from ideal it should not be all doom and gloom.
In the IoM I am on the board of a couple of not for profit organisations. They are funded from the revenue they make every year from the IoM TT. That pays all the running costs for the following year. This year income is zero is but many of the costs remain. The question is not what will we have to cut back, delay, it is do we have a way of continuing. As I say I am not picking on the SVR just trying to put into context that whilst it is not great for the SVR there are many in a far worse place and with little or no Govt support it may be difficult to navigate there way out of a mess that is not of there making
I think that one of the main problems for the larger heritage railways will be servicing their wage bill once the government turns off the tap on furlough payments. With social distancing rules of one form or another likely to remain in place until next year, even if they are allowed to recommence running trains, they will be doing so with a much reduced ticket revenue. There is also the possibility that bars and buffets may have to remain closed for an extended period, with the consequent loss of that revenue stream as well. There will no doubt have to be some tough decisions made by railway management during the next few months.
In some ways, the smaller outfits with no paid staff at all, may have a better chance of surving this crisis than some of the big boys.
I think the issue is operation of a heritage railway and keeping to social distancing rules are very difficult in the cab of a pannier tank. The virus remains a long time on metal up to 5 days a cleaner and fitter will also have been on the cab.
Do you have a reference for that?
The figure stated in multiple places so far has said it remains effective on hard plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours (ie. 3 days). If this has been revised to 5 days then it's a fair jump and I'm stuggling to find anything that supports it online, which of course may just mean it's newly published research still being drowned out by older data.
www.sciencedaily.com "...up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel"
www.theguardian.com "...on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours"
most references are linked to this report dating from March 17th 2020
The New England Journal of Medicine "...SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces"
There are references to genetic material from the virus still being detectable after much longer durations, but these are combined with warnings pointing out that just because genetic material can still be found doesn't mean it is viable and still capable of infection. There are online references elsewhere to human coronavirus lasting up to 5 days on steel, however at least one of these (Warnes S.L.) dates from 2015 and concerns human coronavirus strain 229E - ie. not Covid-19.
If there is more recent research that shows Covid-19 is still viable on steel for up to 5 days, then it would be interesting to learn of it (on copper surfaces it is no longer viable after 4 hours, alas research doesn't appear to have included bronze boiler fittings on the list of tested materials).
This is where I took the information from glass door handles it can last for 5 days this does look to be from the USA but looks genuine to me
The other point would be that presumably testing is in contact with steel at room temperature, clean prepared surface etc - how long a virus would survive at elevated temperatures, or in contact with residual oil, paraffin etc might be different (and more likely less rather than more time).
Ultimately though I suspect it is a bit of a moot point, since the time when railways can resume operations to any level is going to be dictated by what is considered acceptable for passengers, because in normal conditions it is passengers who are in closest proximity. If there is a decision that sitting in a railway carriage is safe, I wouldn't personally be concerned about sharing a footplate; by contrast, if sitting in a carriage isn't safe, there isn't going to be a footplate to share!
Ok, Ta for the reference.
The item that stood out for me is where it says:
"Here's a guide to how long coronaviruses -- the family of viruses that includes the one that causes COVID-19 -- can live on some of the surfaces"
So it is generalised information on the coronavirus family, and not necessarily specifically to Covid-19. The paper from 2015 written by Warnes gave a figure of 5 days for human coronavirus strain 229E, the common house cold (in all its various forms) is a "coronavirus" as well, so there are differences in severity and characteristics between strains of coronavirus.
I have no reason to believe the 5 day information is 'incorrect' in what it is claiming - but it doesn't claim that figure specifically for Covid-19, only as a characteristic found with some strains of virus within the coronavirus family.
The report also states:
"Keep in mind that researchers still have a lot to learn about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. For example, they don't know whether exposure to heat, cold, or sunlight affects how long it lives on surfaces."
So far the only data I've come across that is specific to Covid-19 puts the figure on hard plastic and metal at up to 72 hours, with the viability of the virus falling rapidly after 48 hours.
The major difference is that passengers are sat for most of the journey footplate crew are working hard sweating the same as runners would be so particles can travel further also there are the changing areas showers.I would expect there be some research as the effect should be the same a the steal industry and heavy manufacturing. I do think that operation is only going to be viable when there is a vaccine.
Which may of course never be found.
Things aren't going to suddenly switch back to how they were. Restrictions are likely to be eased gradually and even once leisure activities are permitted to operate again, business will need to weigh up what customer demand may be and respond appropriately. It's possible there may be restrictions on wider travel for a period of time, so businesses that rely on attracting customers to an area rather than just serving their local population may continue to struggle, and if people are being financially careful then they may choose cheaper ways of entertaining the family than preserved railways. The future is unknown, just have to wait and see what happens and react accordingly.
With respect, I would ask if you much footplate experience? I found firing not to be a particularly aerobic type of exercise. I would say about the same as a brisk walk or moderate hills. You can certainly talk normally while doing it. It is more a question of technique and stamina.As a driver I never break into a sweat (not because of work output anyway). Some types of engine get very hot MN & WC spring to mind . The fireman can go and stand in the breeze but the driver has to stay at the controls.
We should also consider catering staff aboard our dining trains. As well as working very quickly the extreme temperatures that they have to endure must be extremely uncomfortable. <BJ>
A donation has been send from Norway to their emergency appeal. Maybe not the biggest amount but hopefully every penny helps. With the wish for better times!
Yes, I think for the first few weeks of this crisis many people had a mindset of "let's just endure the next few months and then we can all get back to normal" - but that's not going to happen. The economic effects alone will be felt for years to come and it's virtually certain that a *lot* of people will need to be a *lot* more careful with money for years to come too. The SVR is excellent, but for most, supporting a railway appeal is not going to come ahead of paying the rent or buying clothes for their kids.
It's not all about money. People won't return to attractions unless they feel safe. Someone who'd be willing to travel on the train itself might still feel worried about waiting on a packed platform at Highley or Bridgnorth. Even more so if they're over 70, as many SVR passengers are. Similarly, I don't see how galas with people squashed merrily in corridors will be possible for the foreseeable future. Refreshment rooms etc will also have to enforce social distancing, though takeaway kiosks should be OK.
The SVR does have some points in its favour, such as its strong brand and most notably its attractive setting. A possibility for the first stages of reopening may be daytime services modelled on the existing Evening Scenic Specials, with diesel haulage and probably some extra restrictions - eg advance bookings only. I think the SVR could attract custom for that in a way that some of the more urban, less scenic lines might struggle to do.
I don't see why there can't be a future for the SVR, and I've donated and will donate again to help make that happen. It's going to be a long haul though.
Total now £565,000 https://www.svr.co.uk/NewsItem.aspx?a=921
Also of interest:
"We are working together with other large heritage railways in plotting a path through this crisis and addressing our plans for what the visitor experience might look like when we get back up and running. Social distancing, dealing with queues, crowd management and events might all look very different when things return to ‘normal’. We are also watching what happens on the mainline to see how they are going to deal with these issues."
Just expanding a little on Wyreman's comment about diesel traction, if a form of "social distancing" the norm, then I guess that the break-even point for a given service is lower if diesel traction is utilised, so a quiet restart on the SVR (and elsewhere possibly) will indeed be diesel traction, including on the SVR the DMU rake.
Like many others I would prefer steam haulage, but if at the outset passenger numbers on a given service are restricted, then steam haulage would just not be viable from a cost point of view.
Initially pre-booking might be norm, and sadly no big Autumn Gala.
Looking ahead, the vital "Santa" operaton will need very creative thought.
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