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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 11:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9876
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
An insider has reported to me that the Verde Canyon RR in Arizona is scheduling a return to excursion operation July 1st.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1164
Location: Tucson, Arizona
co614 wrote:
The huge unknown in all of these attempts to plan forward is how is the public going to act?? If the majority of the at risk portion ( seniors, those with diabetes, hyper tension, copd, heart conditions etc.) of the population choose to stay out of the public domain until there is a widely available vaccine ( early 2021 best case ?) then the restart will be very slow and the economy in general will stay way into recession territory.

If on the other hand most folks are willing to take the risk of being in the public arena then perhaps the economy will sustain a substantial bounce back???

Be careful not to put too much emphasis on the performance of the stock indexes. The federal gov't is printing TRILLIONS of new dollars in its efforts to avoid a great depression and there's VERY few places many of those dollars can go and stocks are the leading choice. Point being that the stock market might be making new highs while main street is in the throes of a terrible recession.

I've suggested to those outfits that I'm involved with to plan on re-opening in may 2021 with an estimated 40% ( of 2019 revenues) patronage base for that year and then a 70% base for calendar year 2022. IMHO 2020 is toast.

Ross Rowland


That has been my personal opinion. 2020 could well be "the season that wasn't". Better numbers to follow are the unemployment numbers and public assistance numbers. If we remain in a strong recession, a full recovery will probably be two or three years off. What is going on now with the stock market certainly is not reflective of the reality on Main Street, USA.

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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:42 pm
Posts: 16
More openings this week have been the following:
Southeastern Railway Museum - Atlanta Metro Area
https://www.train-museum.org/2020/06/01 ... pd06iTlpQ4
I did see that they surveyed volunteers, members, and previous visitors about expectations around reopening.

North Carolina Transportation Museum - Spencer NC
https://www.nctrans.org/Default.aspx?gc ... j4QAvD_BwE
Looks like they are keeping buildings closed until some future point.

Coastal Heritage Society's - Georgia State Railroad Museum - Savannah GA
Website provides no info on COVID-19 plan just hours of operation. Have contacts in Savannah and lots of other stuff has restarted including youth sports.

Off topic but worth a look - Walt Disney World
https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/ ... 01173946:s

Is there a point to this? I believe that everyone is using their best judgment to reopen respecting their local government guidelines and the opinions of those they serve. For those who have a huge stack cash and can afford to stay closed until as some suggest 2021, more power to you. I suspect that most everyone is like these and others that really need a revenue stream.

Seems like a lot of the vocal crowd here really fears trial lawyers more than COVID-19 itself and seems to live under the assumption that lawyers take cases they would see as a dog. Trying to be nice here but look at things more realistically. You are no more likely to be brought into litigation than any other business that is open. Who has more assets, your operation or Disney's?

Glad to be out and about and happily following the methods I deem necessary to stay safe which includes watching my own driving and everyone else's because that is the riskiest thing any of us do.

Hope y'all get out and support your local operations because they need everyone's help and if they are still closed consider other ways to help support their survival.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 867
If organizations want my help they need to offer me something in return. Too many are acting like they are a charity case instead of an actual business. Get creative. Offer a huge incentive on a life membership, or offer a “10 year annual pass” or something. Maybe a limited edition merchandise bundle.

Cumbres & Toltec is a great example.. when they delayed the Iron Horse Roundup they offered a refund but asked us to hold on to tickets if we can. In return, we get to go next year for the same price we paid (prices will be up for next year’s event) and our name will be displayed at the depot this year as a thank you. - see... that’s using your brain. Of course I’m going to hold on to my tickets now!


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:06 pm
Posts: 19
Crescent-Zephyr makes a good point. Just saying "Hey, we've re-opened" might not be good enough." This might be a good time to do some serious marketing to get people in the door including people that might not know you even exist. I have a feeling a lot of people that generally take big vacations such as Disney, cruises, etc. are going to be looking at smaller regional destinations this year. Also, more people will be driving vs. flying this year on their vacations making mid-roadtrip stop off attractions more appealing. This could be the best hope for some operations.

I'm curious to know which operations have a pile of cash large enough that they can voluntarily remain closed until 2021 or longer? I've always believed that virtually all tourist railroads/museums operate on a tight budget relying on ticket sales AND donations to stay afloat. I'd be more inclined to show my support towards operations that need help NOW vs ones that have the luxury of being able to wait things out indefinitely.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1164
Location: Tucson, Arizona
BM765 wrote:
Crescent-Zephyr makes a good point. Just saying "Hey, we've re-opened" might not be good enough."


True. You will also need to emphasize the precautions that your organization is taking to prevent the spread of COVID, and even that might not be good enough. You should expect that a lot of people will curtail their activities until a vaccine is developed and/or infection rates go down, regardless of what you do. You also need to consider the potential exposure to your organization since your insurance isn't going to help you with coronavirus related claims.

While my museum does not have a large pile of cash on hand, we do have members with money or access to money. Our CEO was reluctant to close the museum but the membership and volunteers forced his hand. We're not in a rush to reopen either, given the local situation.

The other problem that this recession is causing is that many more people will not be taking any vacation this year (and probably next year too) and will not have any money to spend on anything other than essentials. The unemployment numbers should be very worrying. My prediction is that for the organizations that reopen, they will be fortunate if they break even this year. Tourism will be down for at least this year, maybe next year as well. Our jobs are to make the best of this year, given the extremely bad financial situation.

While Disney is reopening, I do note that they are requiring face coverings for all guest over age 2, performing temperature checks and requiring physical distancing. They are also informing guests that by entering the park, they accept all risks related to COVID-19. That arrangement may be the Gold standard for public venues for now.

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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:01 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 798
Location: Bucks County, PA
Some people certainly won't want to ride trains while wearing masks, or practicing social distancing (outside of your family or friends that you come with). But I agree with a prior post - people will be looking, now more than ever, for local things to do. Position your railroad as an affordable option, as a safe option (as safe as can be) and get people interested now. You may keep them interested for years, if so...

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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:25 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1164
Location: Tucson, Arizona
bigjim4life wrote:
Some people certainly won't want to ride trains while wearing masks, or practicing social distancing (outside of your family or friends that you come with). But I agree with a prior post - people will be looking, now more than ever, for local things to do. Position your railroad as an affordable option, as a safe option (as safe as can be) and get people interested now. You may keep them interested for years, if so...


I just saw a recent video of the D&S. In one shot, they showed the signs with their ride requirements-masks are required. Position your railroad as an affordable option, but remember that since you are selling tickets and putting people on a train, your passengers are under your care and you do have legal obligations (even with signed waivers).

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:34 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:06 pm
Posts: 19
I've read some comments on facebook for operations opening up and it's clear that masks are going to be a sticking point for a lot of folks. Personally, I'm not in favor of masks but I do respect places that require them and I have no problem obliging. This is another area where marketing could get involved. How about providing or selling commemorative masks with your logo or locomotive printed on them? Now it becomes a souvenir item and more fun for the kids. You could even sell a series of collector masks. I'm not a fan of masks, but I could see myself buying some just as a momento of this most unusual period.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1399
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I agree that if you are going to require patrons to have and use a certain kind of PPE, then you have to at least make it available for purchase at a reasonable price. I was unable to find a mask for the first six weeks of this crisis and a little longer to find hand sanitizer (and Purell is made about 10 miles from me). I finally got a mask from one of my doctors who felt sorry for me. It would have been another week or two before I could have bought one commercially. What I'm seeing now is when it is available, it's priced 2X or more over what it was before the crisis. It's a disgrace, and increases people's cynicism.


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1164
Location: Tucson, Arizona
BM765 wrote:
I've read some comments on facebook for operations opening up and it's clear that masks are going to be a sticking point for a lot of folks. Personally, I'm not in favor of masks but I do respect places that require them and I have no problem obliging. This is another area where marketing could get involved. How about providing or selling commemorative masks with your logo or locomotive printed on them? Now it becomes a souvenir item and more fun for the kids. You could even sell a series of collector masks. I'm not a fan of masks, but I could see myself buying some just as a momento of this most unusual period.


That would be a good income generator. Put either your museum's logo on the mask or the locomotive. Tell guests they can buy a locomotive specific mask and take their picture wearing the mask standing by the locomotive.

As for disease prevention, the bottom line is trains are a congregate setting. We know from published information that people are being infected in congregate settings. For those with the interest, there is established case law regarding the duties of attraction operators to the public and there are published cases that hold that under certain circumstances, a signed waiver does not relieve the operator from certain obligations to the customer. Given that your insurance most likely will not cover any claims related to infectious diseases, your operation has to make its own decision as to what level of risk is acceptable. I am not a fan of masks either, but my personal opinion is that any train ride operator who does not require masks is operating in an irresponsible manner, given the facts related to COVID-19 as they presently are.

That said, museum specific masks could be a high profit margin item since the proceeds go to funding museum operations. Produce a cloth for three dollars, charge six dollars at the gift shop and make 100% profit. Make kid sized masks and follow the same mark up model to cover the lower production cost. That'll keep your local seamstress in business and make money for the museum.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:53 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
Posts: 457
Location: Ipswich, UK
Alan Walker wrote:
That would be a good income generator. Put either your museum's logo on the mask or the locomotive. Tell guests they can buy a locomotive specific mask and take their picture wearing the mask standing by the locomotive.

As for disease prevention, the bottom line is trains are a congregate setting. We know from published information that people are being infected in congregate settings. For those with the interest, there is established case law regarding the duties of attraction operators to the public and there are published cases that hold that under certain circumstances, a signed waiver does not relieve the operator from certain obligations to the customer. Given that your insurance most likely will not cover any claims related to infectious diseases, your operation has to make its own decision as to what level of risk is acceptable. I am not a fan of masks either, but my personal opinion is that any train ride operator who does not require masks is operating in an irresponsible manner, given the facts related to COVID-19 as they presently are.

That said, museum specific masks could be a high profit margin item since the proceeds go to funding museum operations. Produce a cloth for three dollars, charge six dollars at the gift shop and make 100% profit. Make kid sized masks and follow the same mark up model to cover the lower production cost. That'll keep your local seamstress in business and make money for the museum.


Our Town football (soccer....) team have started selling masks in the main team colour (blue) with the teams logo on them and they do seem to be selling rather well, and that's without any hope of actuallly watching the team play for some time yet....

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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1164
Location: Tucson, Arizona
70000 wrote:
Our Town football (soccer....) team have started selling masks in the main team colour (blue) with the teams logo on them and they do seem to be selling rather well, and that's without any hope of actuallly watching the team play for some time yet....


Some outlets are selling sports themed masks made from old team jerseys or other things and they seem to be selling well. Can't go to the stadium? Show your team colors by wearing a mask made from a team jersey.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:09 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 798
Location: Bucks County, PA
The Nashville Steam group was selling face masks as well, some with the locomotive’s image on it, others with the logo - I personally bought one with a photo of the builders plate on it. Whatever you choose to do, make sure the masks are either one-size-fits-all, or you sell multiple sizes - kid, adult, people with big heads (like me), etc.

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 Post subject: Re: HeritageRail Alliance recommends reopening practices
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:19 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:53 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Manchester, NH
Tying a couple of threads together....

The WW&F ordered some masks for the Gift shop, mainly for volunteers to use since public train service isn't scheduled to begin until August 8th. The price is a bit steep for them ($15 ea), but added them to our online gift shop.

We posted the masks on our Facebook page as a easy way our followers could help support the museum - and immediately sold nearly half of our supply!

https://giftshop.wwfry.org/product/black-face-masks/388?cs=true

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Please help the WW&F Build Locomotive 11!


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