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European Railroad Discussion > Covid-19 hits rail operations everywhere


Date: 03/19/20 05:10
Covid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

Here in Britain although our borders are not closed to anyone specifically, in theory we still have access to the countries of the EU, many countries have imposed bans on entry and France, Spain, the Czech Republic and Italy are in total lock-down. Eurotunnel are still operating their shuttles through the Channel Tunnel, albeit at a reduced frequency, not entirely sure what happens when you reach France. Our Foreign Office has recommended against travel to anywhere outside the UK (and RoI) at least for the next few weeks.

Domestically, most public transport providers are scaling back operations, most notably Transport for London which is reducing tube, train and bus frequencies and closing 40 tube stations. All the Train Operating Companies are looking to reduce services to what would be the equivalent of an augmented Sunday frequency as passenger numbers are in free-fall, ever since our Govt recommended that anyone who can works from home, everyone adopts a policy of social distancing and all those over 70 and in vulnerable groups self-isolate from Saturday. I've never experienced anything like this before, neither has my 96 year old father in law, who served throughout WW2. His recollection of that period is that everyone was encouraged to pull together, both metaphorically and socially, whereas today we're being told to self isolate, although politicians are invoking plenty of wartime metaphors for the current crisis. 

I think most of our heritage railways have closed down for the duration. Earlier in the week the Ffestiniog / Welsh Highland had hoped to operate over Mother's Day on Sunday, but Tuesday's and yesterday's escalation of the Social Distancing / Self Isolation message has persuaded them and others to close their doors. This is following Imperial College's ongoing modelling of the likely trajectory, which if the UK hadn't tightened their restrictions may have resulted in 250,000 deaths from Coronavirus as our health service was overwhelmed. This has been based on the experience of Italy, and now France and Spain. Many heritage operations are reliant on volunteers who fall into the vulnerable category as well as the danger of passengers being in close proximity in a railway carriage, and so, sadly, operations have become untenable for all but a few. I know the Ravenglass & Eskdale in Cumbria continues to operate but they do provide a public service to the scattered communities in Eskdale. Whether that will continue beyond next week remains to be seen. How those railways which solely employ professional staff or have professional staff working alongside volunteers will cope financially is anyone's guess. The UK govt has made a number of statements about protecting jobs and companies from going out of business but so much depends on how long this crisis lasts, they are committing what sounds like eye watering sums to support the economy.

I was due to attend a two day photo charter on the Vale of Rheidol Railway today and tomorrow, but yesterday that too was cancelled. We are still being encouraged to go out and exercise, but to avoid contact with others. Cycling is recommended, which is good for me, especially if I take my bike somewhere close to a railway track, but journeys by train and to heritage railways over the next few months are definitely off the agenda. Keep well everyone.

Here are some pictures from the last seven days, taken in South Wales and near father-in-law's in Wiltshire



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/20 07:56 by 86235.








Date: 03/19/20 05:21
Re: Covid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

The last picture was taken on Tuesday of the first successful outing of one of Trafnidiaeth Cymru (Transport for Wales) "new" class 769 DEMU a former Thameslink class 319 EMU with added diesel powerpacks. This was the second day of testing, the first, the day before, ended ignominiously when the wretched thing failed even to get away from Cardiff, sitting down between Cardiff Queen Street and Heath Junction. Sadly it also failed later in the day on Tuesday and wasn't out at all yesterday. So the Pacers can rest easy for the time being whilst the bugs are ironed out of these ingenious, but seemingly cursed, conversions.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/20 07:57 by 86235.








Date: 03/19/20 05:22
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: GPutz

Thanks for the pictures, Nick.  Stay safe out there.  Gerry



Date: 03/19/20 05:26
Re: Covid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

GPutz Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the pictures, Nick.  Stay safe out
> there.  Gerry

You too Gerry



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/20 07:58 by 86235.



Date: 03/19/20 15:59
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: ShortlinesUSA

All nice shots, but that Freightliner shot is a smasher, Nick.  I'm on lockdown at our hotel in Victoria right now.  Orders from the company are "Stay in the room, and we'll even provide you some extra per diem to get all your meals from room service."

Our flight from LHR-IAD tomorrow just cancelled, so we have to hang out and just deadhead home on the 1620 departure.

Likely the last time I'll be over here for some time.

Cheers, and wishing you all good health.

Mike



Date: 03/19/20 16:25
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: PHall

Are the trains in Italy even running? Since, by what we see on the news here in the US, the entire country is on lockdown.



Date: 03/19/20 16:33
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Are the trains in Italy even running? Since, by
> what we see on the news here in the US, the entire
> country is on lockdown.

There was a report from Rome on the BBC News this evening which featured a moving tram, so some public transport is running.



Date: 03/19/20 16:34
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

ShortlinesUSA Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> All nice shots, but that Freightliner shot is a
> smasher, Nick.  I'm on lockdown at our hotel in
> Victoria right now.  Orders from the company are
> "Stay in the room, and we'll even provide you some
> extra per diem to get all your meals from room
> service."
>
> Our flight from LHR-IAD tomorrow just cancelled,
> so we have to hang out and just deadhead home on
> the 1620 departure.
>
> Likely the last time I'll be over here for some
> time.
>
> Cheers, and wishing you all good health.
>
> Mike

Thanks, I hope you get home OK and look forward to you coming back.



Date: 03/19/20 17:44
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: Peak45068

86235 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The last picture was taken on Tuesday of the first
> successful outing of one of Trafnidiaeth Cymru
> (Transport for Wales) "new" class 769 DEMU a
> former Thameslink class 319 EMU with added diesel
> powerpacks. This was the second day of testing,
> the first, the day before, ended ignominiously
> when the wretched thing failed even to get away
> from Cardiff, sitting down between Cardiff Queen
> Street and Heath Junction. Sadly it also failed
> later in the day on Tuesday and wasn't out at all
> yesterday. So the Pacers can rest easy for the
> time being whilst the bugs are ironed out of these
> ingenious, but seemingly cursed, conversions.

My flights back to the UK for my annual visit look pretty much doomed now. Also my pencilled in visits to the Swanage/Severn Valley/West Somerset and North Yorkshire Moors Diesel Galas are now no more as all have been sadly cancelled.
Those 769 conversions look very out of place down in the Valleys. How many sets are they getting I wonder.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/19/20 21:02
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: krm152

Thanks for posting the excellent photos and concise narratives.
The scenery in Photos 3-5 is great. Definitely like the Class 66 units.
Appreciate the commentary about present conditions. My oldest son’s in-laws live in Formby.
Stay safe and well over there.
ALLEN



Date: 03/19/20 21:10
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

Peak45068 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 86235 Wrote:
> ----------------------------------------
> Those 769 conversions look very out of place down
> in the Valleys. How many sets are they getting I
> wonder.
>
> Posted from iPhone

Nine, but they're supposed to be a stop gap until the South Wales Metro plans are realised in 2022. But at this rate it'll be 2022 by the time they enter service!!!

krm152 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Stay safe and well over there.
> ALLEN

Thanks Allen



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/20 21:15 by 86235.



Date: 03/20/20 14:56
Re: Corvid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: dwatry

Nice shots!  Looks like better weather than we are having!



Date: 03/20/20 14:59
Re: Covid-19 hits rail operations everywhere
Author: 86235

dwatry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice shots!  Looks like better weather than we
> are having!

I was quite selective 😁



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/20 07:58 by 86235.



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