Even though this is primarily our hobby, as with most organisations these days, safety is paramount. This applies equally for the miniature railway as it does for other aspects of Society’s activities. ASME has a well developed set of rules, codes and guidelines to help ensure everyone’s safety. Members & visitors can expect a brief discussion on some aspect of safety at all meetings. In additional, passengers get a brief safety message at the station before each train departs. The railway is registered with Worksafe NZ as an amusement device and operates under a permit issued by Auckland Council.
Roles at the Railway
Members (and volunteers) fill a number of pre-determined roles to ensure the railway can always be operated safely. For public running on Sundays, these roles are:
- Train Controller (T/C) – this is the manager for the day. The T/C ensures all the team are doing their allocated duties fully and in accordance with licenses and the operating code. A daily running sheet is completed to record all important aspects of the day’s operations. In the event of any accident, incident or hazard, the T/C collects the necessary information, fills out a report form and submits this to the appropriate people in the Society.
- Drivers – all drivers have to be appropriately trained, tested and licensed. They operate locomotives according to their licensed categorises. They tend to swap duties during the course of the day with the guard providing the guard is appropriately licensed.
- Guards – all trains with public riders on 3 or more carriages have a guard. The guard’s duty is principally to watch out for any issues during the journey such as dragging feet, reaching out or any other misbehaviour. If anything unsatisfactory occurs, he signals the driver (usually via his horn switch) and the driver stops the train immediately. The guard then deals with the issue and ensures there is no repeat – in the event there are continual problems, the guard is authorised to order the culprit off the train. This is to ensure the safety of all other passengers.
- Station Master (S/M) – this is the person looking after all operations for the day within the station area. The S/M is responsible for ticket sales, collection of cash, loading of passengers, clipping of tickets, delivering the safety message and controlling other members of the station team who are there to assist him. He wears a Hi-Viz jacket to make him easily identifiable to the public in the event they need to make contact (in the first instance) with someone in control. As well, the S/M balances up the ticket stock and takings at the end of the day and arranges for its safekeeping.
- Other members of the station team – these operate under the guidance & control of the S/M delivering most of services set out for the S/M
- Maintenance Workers – this team undertakes the regular maintenance and upkeep of the railway infrastructure and surrounding park/gardens. It often can be seen at work most Saturdays of the year.