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Passenger numbers after lockdown easing: your experiences

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On 25th August I am booked to go home to France, via GWR from Newton Abbot, Circle Line and Eurostar. If I get as far as Paris I then need to take Metro Ligne 4 and, hopefully, find a train at Gare Montparnasse for the 2-hour journey to my local station. The infection trends in both countries are ominous, but my medication will have expired if I stay in Torquay any longer.

 

Sherry and I did not see each other - except via Zoom - between 9th Feb, when she left France, and 16th July, when she returned, both journeys being by car and Brittany Ferries. We then came back to the UK together last week. 

 

A marriage that was predicated upon easy access between the two countries does rely upon public transport.   The risks of catching the virus have to be weighed against the solitude that is the alternative. I shall be watching trends with interest and apprehension. 

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One I was surprised to see at the weekend was groups of foreign language students.  Admittedly only groups of twenty or so rather than the masses of hundreds we have seen in previous years but still surprising nonetheless.

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My brother flew from Hong Kong to Paris CDG airport  few weeks ago. he then went by train to La Rochelle. The 4 hour trip by TGV (1 change) was quiet and he upgraded to 1st class for 1Euro.

 

He helped sail a friends new boat to Gibralta. He should have been continuing to Spain etc but with the 14 day quarantine from Spain, he cut the trip short. Today he is taking one of only 4 flights out of the airport today (only 3 tomorrow) back to the UK. Will be interesting to find out how busy the rock has been and how busy the flight is. 

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2 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

........ that’s what it is: a balance, and a ruddy difficult one to strike. It’s the sort of thing that can only got perfectly right in hindsight. ....... 

Even then, my 'perfectly right' will probably differ from yours ... and his ......... and hers ............

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One thing I haven’t heard discussed, is the cost of attending less than full time. 

 

Back in the early 90s, when my full-time work in the London area had dried up, I received regular enquiries for ad-hoc work from my former employers. It didn’t take long to realise that this simply wasn’t economic, since no one was offering to pay the fares; two peak-time day returns cost at least as much as a weekly season, for 40% of the income. A monthly season cost around 3x the cost of a weekly season, and so on. I did a limited amount of this work, if I could travel by car and park once there, because the cost of a car journey is the same at any time of the day or week, but mostly I just looked elsewhere. 

 

 

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In a slight tangent to the conversation, I’m hoping to make a trip to the Ffestiniog in a week or two, but can only reach it by train

 

Because of the different standards which apply along the route because of the English welsh border and I am thoroughly uncertain about what to do

 

now I don’t want to take a key workers seat on the train, but I would also like to have my first day out since February. Does anyone actually understand what I should do?

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29 minutes ago, Lantavian said:

 

What a wonderful life he has :)

He used to work very long hours so has earned it. His wife still works long hours but her international travel for work has been cut short this year.

 

Unfortunately he has no interest in trains:mellow:

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58 minutes ago, Edge said:

In a slight tangent to the conversation, I’m hoping to make a trip to the Ffestiniog in a week or two, but can only reach it by train

 

Because of the different standards which apply along the route because of the English welsh border and I am thoroughly uncertain about what to do

 

now I don’t want to take a key workers seat on the train, but I would also like to have my first day out since February. Does anyone actually understand what I should do?

 

It's slowly getting back to normal. The Welsh lockdown rules are virtually the same as ours now. Just follow the guidelines on the TfW website. I wouldn't take much notice of that "Essential travel only" slogan that's just the WA being political and certainly isn't being enforced by anyone.

 

https://tfwrail.wales/

 

I had planned on trying to get to the FR myself. But they opened the wrong end of the line for me. If they opened at Blaenau then I could have got the train there and done it as a day trip. But from Porthmadog means a stay over.

 

But I'm planning on giving Llangollen a try over the next week or so. Possibly the East Lancs and KWVR as well as they are easy to get to by train.

 

 

Jason

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Local trains round S Yorks Saturday (up to Penistone and back) were quiet enough to make it easy to keep a distance. The Northern fast Sheffield-Barnsley-Leeds services aren't running, but during the day there was still plenty of capacity between Meadowhall and Barnsley on the stopping Leeds and the Huddersfield services.

But on the way back, 3-4pm ish, we were already picking up early Saturday night in Sheffield revellers. One group of lads decided to congregate by the doors, with face masks dangling from one ear, drinking canned lager, while leaning on the notice that says please wear a mask and please don't eat and drink on board. And one of them was sneezing! We made our way to the other doors to get off.

 

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4 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

On 25th August I am booked to go home to France, via GWR from Newton Abbot, Circle Line and Eurostar. If I get as far as Paris I then need to take Metro Ligne 4 and, hopefully, find a train at Gare Montparnasse for the 2-hour journey to my local station. The infection trends in both countries are ominous, but my medication will have expired if I stay in Torquay any longer.

 

Sherry and I did not see each other - except via Zoom - between 9th Feb, when she left France, and 16th July, when she returned, both journeys being by car and Brittany Ferries. We then came back to the UK together last week. 

 

A marriage that was predicated upon easy access between the two countries does rely upon public transport.   The risks of catching the virus have to be weighed against the solitude that is the alternative. I shall be watching trends with interest and apprehension. 

 

I hope your journey goes well Olddudders, difficult times for all, and little signs of repreive either. Here in Wigan (being in Greater Manchester) more restrictions came into force last Friday.

 

My son came back from working in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Easter Saturday / Sunday, having waited (and continued working) for several weeks -  flights rebooked then cancelled several times. He eventually got home via Air France to Paris - plane full & everyone wearing masks though little or no Covid in the DRC back then. Overnight in Paris airport hotel (empty, no food other than pre packaged) then Air France to Heathrow early Easter Sunday (very few passengers). He said there were no checks / questions etc at Heathrow upon landing. Heathrow Express / tube to a deserted Euston. Luckily there was a hourly service to Crewe (coach to himself), then a bus to Preston via Warrington & Wigan - 3 people on the bus, no traffic on M6 either. What a journey though thanks given to all concerned. 

 

My twin girls will be back at University (hopefully) next month, Lancaster (in accommodation) & Liverpool (daily by train). At least Northern Rail has gone, the new DMU /EMU's are in service, the new depot at Springs Branch is open, and there should now be no shortage of either trains or trained drivers for the new stock (fingers crossed) which was causing many problems on the Wigan - Liverpool line.

 

Silly government talk of all over 50's self isolating, trading shut pubs V opening schools etc - I am slowly loosing all confidence in our government, and yes I follow the rules re distancing, masks, washing hands etc. Winter will be upon us soon, I dread to think of the consequences - yet the trains rumble on past our house on the West Coast main line, don't know the loadings though, can't see inside  through the tinted windows as they flash by.

 

Brit15

 

 

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2 minutes ago, APOLLO said:

 

 

 

Silly government talk of all over 50's self isolating, trading shut pubs V opening schools etc - I am slowly loosing all confidence in our government, and yes I follow the rules re distancing, masks, washing hands etc. Winter will be upon us soon, I dread to think of the consequences - yet the trains rumble on past our house on the West Coast main line, don't know the loadings though, can't see inside  through the tinted windows as they flash by.

 

Brit15

 

 

 

That's not came from the government though.

 

It's came from the media, especially non government supporting media such as The Guardian, Independent and BBC. Take it with a huge pinch of salt.

 

The lockdown in parts of the NW and Yorkshire is due to Eid. Otherwise other parts of the NW would have got locked down as well, but we haven't as we haven't got a Muslim community so aren't being included.

 

 

 

Jason

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30 minutes ago, APOLLO said:

Silly government talk of all over 50's self isolating

 

From what I can discover, once you get behind the faintly bonkers way this has been reported, which is more about the reaction to it than about what was actually said, its about something very sensible  indeed: personal risk assessment.

 

Work out your probability of severe illness or fatality if you catch the bug, which can be done pretty accurately using all the statistics gathered the hard way over the past few months (input: gender; age; weight; heart condition; any diabetes; smoker etc, etc; out pops a probability of severe illness and of death).

 

Work out your probability of catching it (mostly about occupations that expose you to lots of people, in confined spaces, and/or living in large/crowded households, I think).

 

Combine the two, and if you are at high risk, isolate.

 

To my mind, having as accurate an estimate as possible would be useful stuff. As a c60 year old, I think that if I catch it my probability of severe illness (short of death) is c12%, and of death c4%, based on age alone. If an individual assessment showed I was at a quarter average risk for my age I might be a bit more relaxed; if it showed I was at four times average risk I might want to isolate.

 

At a community level it would be a cracking good idea too, because by prompting the higher-risk individuals to protect themselves by isolating it would lessen demand on the health service, something that must be necessary in order to avoid very uncomfortable choices about which patients to allocate finite resources to.

 

If you spent hours ferreting around the internet, the data to allow one to do this are almost certainly publicly available already, but most of use aren't actuaries by trade, so need it made easy.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

That's not came from the government though.

 

It's came from the media, especially non government supporting media such as The Guardian, Independent and BBC. Take it with a huge pinch of salt.

 

The lockdown in parts of the NW and Yorkshire is due to Eid. Otherwise other parts of the NW would have got locked down as well, but we haven't as we haven't got a Muslim community so aren't being included.

The Government has, indeed, denied any such plans for the over fifties ...................... which might just mean they didn't think of it first !

 

As for locking-down the north for Eid ........ well, there are only 143 shopping days to Christmas !

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1 hour ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

That's not came from the government though.

 

It's came from the media, especially non government supporting media such as The Guardian, Independent and BBC. Take it with a huge pinch of salt.

 

The lockdown in parts of the NW and Yorkshire is due to Eid. Otherwise other parts of the NW would have got locked down as well, but we haven't as we haven't got a Muslim community so aren't being included.

 

 

 

Jason

Proof? The start of extra measures was at midnight on the day before. Some of the Muslim faith have misbehaved; but so have other groups.

 

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1 hour ago, APOLLO said:

 

My twin girls will be back at University (hopefully) next month, Lancaster (in accommodation) & Liverpool (daily by train). At least Northern Rail has gone, the new DMU /EMU's are in service, the new depot at Springs Branch is open, and there should now be no shortage of either trains or trained drivers for the new stock (fingers crossed) which was causing many problems on the Wigan - Liverpool line.

 

Brit15

 

 

The Piccadilly to Marple Rose Hill service via Hyde has been suspended until December - the letter sent out says "Temporarily". The reason cited was that the virus and it effects had resulted in the training programme for the new stock, and that there was a general staff shortage as a result. Let's see what happens!

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3 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

That's not came from the government though.

 

It's came from the media, especially non government supporting media such as The Guardian, Independent and BBC. Take it with a huge pinch of salt.

 

The lockdown in parts of the NW and Yorkshire is due to Eid. Otherwise other parts of the NW would have got locked down as well, but we haven't as we haven't got a Muslim community so aren't being included.

 

 

 

Jason

“Non government supporting media” - gosh, how dare they question our glorious leader.
 

That obviously explains why the over-50s notion was floated by the Johnson fan sheet The Sunday Times in an obvious unattributable kite flying exercise by HMG, and why there’s an article today in The Guardian criticising the idea entitled “Isolating the over-50s? It’s an idea whose purpose is to sow discord”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/03/isolating-over-50s-idea-covid-19

 

And as for your “Eid” dog whistle, the director of public health for Trafford has today reported that 80% of the borough’s recent Covid infection spike was in the white population. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/03/coronavirus-80-new-cases-trafford-among-white-community

 

Sorry both links are from the Grauniad!
 

Richard

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On 02/08/2020 at 16:06, Wickham Green too said:

Was it ever relaxed ? ....... I must have slept through that news report !

 

The official announcement was a couple of weeks ago.

 

However some time prior to that (probably when the non-essential shops were allowed to open and masks became compulsory on public transport) the official Government guidance changed from "essential journeys only" to "only when no other form of transport is available". Over the following weeks, some public transport operators followed suit (some even going as far as announcing they were ready for travellers to return), others stuck to the "essential journeys only" line.

 

Since the rules changed, I have made three trips by public transport:

 

1) Reading - Tilehurst (Wednesday evening train - one way). Two other people in my carriage, easy to maintain social distancing.

2) Reading-Didcot (Saturday train - return). Train quiet in the morning, slightly busier at lunchtime, but still plenty of space to social distance, especially with airline-style seating.

3) Reading - Wallingford (Saturday bus return). Morning - rode on the top deck, only two other passengers up there.  Afternoon - single decker, first trio where 2m spacing wasn't really possible (still not terribly busy) but able to sit the other side of the bus from other passengers so as long as we faced forwards we weren't going to cough/sneeze over each other.

 

I have no concerns about travelling on trains and buses with those sorts of loadings from an infection point of view. However I have found I start to get headaches after wearing a mask for half an hour or so (and a couple of times I've felt I was about to pass out - both times on staircases!) so I'm not sure I'd want to be travelling much longer/further than that, particularly in hot weather (which is awkward as my parents live 4 hours away....)

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On 03/08/2020 at 14:42, Steamport Southport said:

 

That's not came from the government though.

 

It's came from the media, especially non government supporting media such as The Guardian, Independent and BBC. Take it with a huge pinch of salt.

 

Good grief...

Edited by Christopher125
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On 03/08/2020 at 09:13, Oldddudders said:

On 25th August I am booked to go home to France, via GWR from Newton Abbot, Circle Line and Eurostar. If I get as far as Paris I then need to take Metro Ligne 4 and, hopefully, find a train at Gare Montparnasse for the 2-hour journey to my local station. The infection trends in both countries are ominous, but my medication will have expired if I stay in Torquay any longer.

 

Sherry and I did not see each other - except via Zoom - between 9th Feb, when she left France, and 16th July, when she returned, both journeys being by car and Brittany Ferries. We then came back to the UK together last week. 

 

A marriage that was predicated upon easy access between the two countries does rely upon public transport.   The risks of catching the virus have to be weighed against the solitude that is the alternative. I shall be watching trends with interest and apprehension. 

 

I rather think that a lot of things based upon the assumption of cheap, easy international travel are being tested at present, some undoubtedly to destruction. Older divorcees with second wives from Balkan or Baltic countries are a definite trend in the petrochemical sector, sometimes with homes there supported from earnings in U.K. - which has also dried up. There’s much discussion about this going around. I can only wish anyone in such a position, the best of fortune. 

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On 03/08/2020 at 14:42, Steamport Southport said:

It's came from the media, especially non government supporting media such as The Guardian, Independent and BBC. Take it with a huge pinch of salt.

 

The Metro, Daily Express and Daily Mail all reported it on their front covers. Appearing on at least 2 of those suggests to me it's a load of rubbish of course, but I don't think that was the point you were trying to make. :dirol_mini:

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On 03/08/2020 at 16:06, Wickham Green too said:

The Government has, indeed, denied any such plans for the over fifties ...................... which might just mean they didn't think of it first !

 

As for locking-down the north for Eid ........ well, there are only 143 shopping days to Christmas !

 

Whatever the background to this, it’s a considerable, unforced error of presentation by the PM’s team. The date, and nature of Eid was hardly a secret, and to allow the appearance of an abrupt change of policy of this sort seems to suggest “poor staff work” to say the least. 

Edited by rockershovel
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17 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

The Metro, Daily Express and Daily Mail all reported it on their front covers. Appearing on at least 2 of those suggests to me it's a load of rubbish of course, but I don't think that was the point you were trying to make. :dirol_mini:

 

The whole episode has been, from the very outset, the worst possible advertisement for the mass media, and that includes the BBC - which appears at times to have scared ITSELF silly, let alone anyone else. The usual  “close the BBC” agitators are having a field day. 

 

“You cannot hope to bribe or twist / Thank God, the British journalist / but seeing what the man will do / unbribed, there’s no occasion to”

 

Reverting to OT, it’s becoming increasingly clear that realisation is dawning at Westminster, that the present course of action is simply not sustainable. There’s much bluster about schools reopening, and the furlough scheme is winding down. I rather suspect that this thread is 6-8 weeks early, and that by mid-Sept around 30-40% of the workforce will have no real option but to return to work, 20% will be WFH to various extents and the rest, unemployed or directly facing the prospect. 

 

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Which is why, to me, the concept of personal risk assessments and isolating/shielding/hiding-in-a-bunker-fo-the-winter for the most ‘at risk’ seems like a sensible, possibly essential, option.

 

It is an idea that was mooted quite early in the pandemic, probably too early because insufficient data existed to make good assessments, and because much more drastic action was needed very quickly anyway.

 

Age alone is too blunt a tool for these purposes below, say, 70 or 80, by which age even the fittest are possibly at high risk due to natural ‘winding down’ of immune systems.


It does all feel awfully flaky right now, especially now that a good few plane-loads of people have come back from Spain to spend a fortnight in un-policed, tedious, tempting-to-breach self-isolation. 
 

Sadly, I agree that 20% unemployment is in prospect, and I also fear a storm coming in pension funds, where the value of schemes could collapse as share prices deflate and payers-in decrease, leading to a need for cuts in payments even from “final salary” schemes.

 

 

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