How has lockdown affected this site?

Monarch010

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28 Feb 2013
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One for the administrators.
With many of us confined to home and presumably spending more time online, by how much, if any, has traffic on RailUKforums increased?
 
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RailUK Forums

yorkie

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Daily posts in January ranged from 1462 to 2071, with a daily average of 1751.

But in April that's fallen. The lowest was 1170 on 11 April (not counting the 10th due to the upgrade taking place that day) up to 1940 on 16 April, and an average of 1467 posts per day so far.

So on average there 284 posts fewer daily posts compared to January.

The number of active members has also decreased, from a daily average of 3378 members in January to only 2697 members for an average day this month.

So each day we have - on average - 681 fewer members logging on than usual.

I'm sure it is true that some of our most dedicated members have more spare time to spend here though!

But what that doesn't include is the number of non-members viewing the forum; I am pretty sure that's down a lot but I don't have any stats to hand. The majority of people viewing the site at any one time are non-members (or members who are not logged in).

There is increased traffic to some forum sections, such as:

Also, our income is down.

Rest assured, the reduction in income won't affect the running of the site in any way, but it will affect our ability to donate to preservation groups (e.g. https://www.125group.org.uk/tag/railuk-forums/ )
 

yorkie

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I don't envisage this forum ever being in a position where would seek, or accept, donations, but thanks for the kind thought. :)

Our costs are low; everyone involved in the site does so on a voluntary basis.
 

Cowley

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Let's hope the decrease in active members online isn't due to illness. :'(
Hopefully not and it could be for all kinds of different reasons. This new (hopefully temporary) section has been busy as obviously there’s less news happening in the more railway related sections and so much of what is happening is related to COVID-19.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Personally my participation has increased. Due to crazy hours and working 12 hour shifts making hand sanitizer and waiting for operators before I QC batches gives me loads of downtime at work.
 

yorksrob

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I must admit, I'm finding it more difficult to find things to say about the railway, not having been near a train for around a month.
 

Crossover

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What is particularly interesting is the UK Railway Discussion sub-forum - ordinarily every thread on page 1 will have had a post the same day (sometimes within a few hours), but as of now, the last thread on page 1 hasn't been posted on since 13th April and only 9 threads in there have been posted on today!

I expect other areas will have had the opposite where they are normally quiet but are maybe busier
 

Grecian 1998

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I must admit, I'm finding it more difficult to find things to say about the railway, not having been near a train for around a month.
I think this is a big factor. Most regular posters on here presumably like railways therefore presumably like travelling by train for non-essential purposes. This obviously isn't currently permitted.

Anecdotally (i.e. I have no evidence other than my observations), it seems to me a lot of popular thread types rely on people travelling and posting their observations e.g.:

Member X witnesses an incident over onboard rules and etiquette e.g. seat reservations, declassification of first class, feet on seats etc. Alternatively someone posts a newspaper article about it. With few people travelling and clear social distancing rules, it doesn't seem to be an issue currently.

Member Y travels on new route and expresses shock at the lack of capacity / rolling stock quality / timetable frequency / lack of complementary triple fried egg chilli chutney sandwiches in first class. Again not going to be much of this currently.

Member Z expresses horror at behaviour of other passengers e.g. race goers / football fans / hopscotch fans. With no larger gatherings on the horizon for some time, nothing to talk about again.

So there's not much to say about a lot of the usual type of topics that get members posting, if there are new anecdotes or observations.
 

yorkie

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A lot of people visit the site to plan journeys too. This is the best place to get fare advice. But right now it's difficult to say when it is safe to plan to make leisure journeys. So a large chunk of the Fare Advice and Trip Planning & Reports traffic has disappeared. Also there are fewer disputes for obvious reasons.

An area that is still popular is Speculative Ideas, as one might expect!
 

Bald Rick

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Just found this thread, and it’s something that I’ve wondered about.

For me, I have definitely found there are fewer threads that I have found sufficiently moved to comment on; or to put it another way there’s been less of interest to me. I thought it might be because there seems to be a lot of ‘traffic’ on the new virus sub-forum which seems to be taking up lots of members’ time, and that’s generally not a subject matter that I feel I can add to.

Having thought about it a bit more, I wonder if the HS2 announcement has helped squash the normal number of comments on that thread (ie it’s happening, so fewer arguments about whether it should and how). Conversely the lack of Government announcements about almost anything else means there’s little ‘new’ to talk about.

Then, because of the lockdown, there are significantly fewer people out and about, reporting on project progress, unusual occurrences, and asking questions etc. It must be the longest ever gap without anybody asking about datum plates...

Finally, I wonder if the forum upgrade has something to do with it. There’s a couple of features that make it harder for me to post, so I need to be really sure I want to say something before posting.

Interesting stuff (for me!)
 

Iskra

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I think the weather has played its part too. It has been predominantly nice and sunny over the lock down period (until tomorrow), which must affect this site as people head outdoors instead.
 

Tom B

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I don't envisage this forum ever being in a position where would seek, or accept, donations, but thanks for the kind thought. :)

Our costs are low; everyone involved in the site does so on a voluntary basis.
A credit to those involved - I recall the discussion in early 2008 when we weren't sure if the advertising revenue would keep things going, and various of us put up cash to pay upfront for hosting etc. Fantastic that the forum is able to make donations to preservation projects now!
 

Jozhua

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6 Jan 2019
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I must admit, I'm finding it more difficult to find things to say about the railway, not having been near a train for around a month.
Yeah, same, even complaining about Piccadilly 13/14 isn't of much interest, been as I haven't seen those platforms for two months!

My last train journey appears to have been on the 13th of March? So that's 10 days before we went into full lockdown. Was just a short trip within Manchester, my last proper longer distance one was on the 9th...

The COVID-19 subsection was a stroke of genius though! I've had a few discussions here and there about different aspects.

I miss my trains, the smell of oil on the rusty ol 15X's, the satisfaction of orange tickets dropping out the machine... I think I will take a trip fairly soon after lockdown to go see my immediate family, just to regain some sense of sanity!
 

yorksrob

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Yeah, same, even complaining about Piccadilly 13/14 isn't of much interest, been as I haven't seen those platforms for two months!

My last train journey appears to have been on the 13th of March? So that's 10 days before we went into full lockdown. Was just a short trip within Manchester, my last proper longer distance one was on the 9th...

The COVID-19 subsection was a stroke of genius though! I've had a few discussions here and there about different aspects.

I miss my trains, the smell of oil on the rusty ol 15X's, the satisfaction of orange tickets dropping out the machine... I think I will take a trip fairly soon after lockdown to go see my immediate family, just to regain some sense of sanity!
Yes, indeed. Mine was the tuesday after.

Funnilly enough, I remembered I'd been given a transport focus passenger survey on that Saturday. It felt quite surreal completing it in the midst of lockdown.
 

Bletchleyite

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A credit to those involved - I recall the discussion in early 2008 when we weren't sure if the advertising revenue would keep things going, and various of us put up cash to pay upfront for hosting etc. Fantastic that the forum is able to make donations to preservation projects now!
Particularly as, unlike many sites, the advertising is not at all disruptive or annoying.
 

superjohn

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11 Mar 2011
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Many of the regulars on the disputes forum seem to have found a new outlet on the enforcement thread of this one. Has ‘walking and cycling are just different brands of exercise’ come up yet?

Are the admins able to monitor visitors who do not log in with any accuracy? I check the forum a few times a day but only log in if I want to post something or view a picture. That is probably once every few days.
 

yorkie

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...Are the admins able to monitor visitors who do not log in with any accuracy?...
I don't know of having access to detailed stats (our tech team might), but right now the front page of the forum says the number of people online is 593 consisting of 211 members and 382 guests.

I've mentioned before that fewer members are logging on each day, but the drop for guests will be even greater.

I think under normal conditions the average number of non-members is typically around three times the average number of members, So the fact it's less than twice that number suggests far fewer visitors to the forum.

This makes sense as many of the guests are following links from search engines, but there aren't going to be as many people searching for relevant terms compared to normal.
 

Running Pete

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9 May 2019
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Unless your rail staff or a key worker the opportunity to travel is not there at present, luckily I live close to a line which is fairly active freight wise so I get to see the odd movement .
I do visit this forum regularly but don't always log in.
 

Andyh82

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If you exclude the Covid sub-forum, I’d expect posts to be down further.

Most posts are either based on

- There is a piece of news, new trains, new services, some sort of change, and people comment on it, but there isn’t really any railway news

- There is an incident, such as overhead lines coming down, but there isn’t any incidents, and if there are, there are so few travelling it doesn’t reach the usual levels of disruption.

- People travel around and comment on stuff, giving opinions on rolling stock, asking questions about something they’ve seen, or want to know more about. But nobody is travelling.

I’m guessing quite a lot of the members here haven’t been anywhere near a train or station since lockdown began.
 

Wombat

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12 Jul 2013
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I think this is a big factor. Most regular posters on here presumably like railways therefore presumably like travelling by train for non-essential purposes.
While I'm sure you're right, I view the railway in much the same way that I view HMRC: an unpleasant necessity that is often not up to the job. This forum has been very helpful in developing my understanding of where and why the various problems exist, but since I'm not using any trains at the moment I'm not suffering any rail-induced aggravation that requires explanation.

More generally, and perhaps more broadly applicable, everything's a bit weird at the moment and I'm spending more time on websites that provide frivolous entertainment. This forum doesn't really do that for me, though I'm sure that's not true of many rail enthusiasts.
 

Mikey C

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There's been a relative shortage of actual "on topic" news stories to talk about, which may have affected post numbers, hence the news about the 707s last week being quite exciting :E
 

TheEdge

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What really is there to discuss?

Take my region. The 755s are chugging around Anglia carrying air without incident. The Mk3s left without fanfare, the 745s took over just as quietly on a reduced timetable. The 720s are quietly testing without major incident.

And thats East Anglia for the last 6 weeks summed up. And it'll be the same for most other regions.
 

ABB125

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23 Jul 2016
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I haven't been on a train since the end of December, mainly due to a-levels. Now that they're cancelled, I was hoping to get out a bit more... I wonder what my first train journey of 2020 will be?
I think the most significant change I've noticed is the complete collapse of activity in the UK Railway Discussion section, and the rather reduced number of threads that interest me.
 

Jamesrob637

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Yep. I’ve not been on one since March 8th.
March 10th for me. Was from Budapest to Prague however. Flew out that same evening back to the UK. I've still been posting as regularly as before but it's relative for me: I don't post humongous amounts of stuff even under normal circumstances.
 

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