Minor updates and code changes occur every day. Only significant or noteworthy updates are shown here. Updates shown with a gold background are (or were at the time) only available to Advanced HOPS members.

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Time DateSystem Updates
Update 1060
06 May 2024
There will be two HOPS Annual General Forums for HOPS Admins and senior managers at Advanced HOPS Subscribers this year.

Event 1 and Event 2 are identical. There are two events to offer maximum flexibility to 9-5 staff and volunteer staff with day jobs, UK staff and Australian staff. Staff from either country may attend either event.

The meeting will be via MS Teams.

There will be:
- a presentation about the developments of HOPS in the last year
- plans for the coming year and future developments
- changes in the heritage railway landscape
- HOPS staffing arrangements
- fees and costs
- long-term plans
- an opportunity for questions and comments.

This is (one of) your opportunities to steer the future development of the program.

Attendees need to please register to gain access to the meeting. Please email alan.johnson@hops.org.uk to register.
More than one attendee per organisation is permitted.... but please not hundreds!

* EVENT 1

The first is on Tuesday 11 June 2023 at 9.30am (British Summer Time), and is timed for the convenience of UK employed staff for whom it is during work time, and volunteer Australian staff for whom it is in the evening.

This meeting is at 9.30am UK time. The UK will be on British Summer Time at the date of the meeting.

0900 BST is:
1100 SAST in South Africa
1100 CEST in Italy
1830 ACST in South Australia
1900 AEST in Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales
Attendees from the UK or Australia are welcome to attend.

* EVENT 2

The second AGF event is on Thursday 20 June 2023 at 7pm, is timed for the convenience of volunteer staff in the UK who have day job during the day.
Event 2 is at 7pm (UK time). The UK will be on British Summer Time at the date of the meeting.

1900 BST is:
2100 SAST in South Africa
2100 CEST in Italy
0330 (21/6/24) ACST in South Australia
0400 (21/6/24) AEST in Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales

Event 1 and 2 are identical, and staff from any country may attend either event, but Australian staff may prefer to attend Event 1 which is at a more convenient Australian time.
Update 1058
25 April 2024
SPOT REPORTS

The attribution of Spot Reports to NMIs, Function Logs and Asset Defects is now controlled by new permission 523.

Everyone and every group that has 437 has been allocated 523 so no action = no change.

The separation of these permissions enables users to be able to view Spot Reports without having access to the Update and Attribute facilities. This can be achieved by allocating only 437 and not 523 (or by removing 523) to the groups for which it is required.

Thank you to the Llangollen Railway for the suggestion.
Update 1059
25 April 2024
SPOT REPORTS

A Spot Report widget is now on the Home page for easy overview access. It is shown for users with P437.
Update 1057
17 April 2024
COMPETENCE EVIDENCE ASSURANCE

This is now available to all.

An option has been added for each individual element to be included/excluded in the assurance process.

If not included, a box is given for the rationale to be recorded, eg for elements relating to ID Cards, issue of items such as keys, or where assurance will be conducted via another element.

Where an element is included, a start date can be recorded. This is designed to help 'start off' the assurance process, so that thousands of existing awards don't immediately show as 'overdue' for assurance.

The date can be set to the future or the past, depending on how the implementation of assurance goes.

Note that the system still does not take any action when an UNSATISFACTORY result is recorded. This will follow. Those conducting assurance should take the appropriate action when unsatisfactory evidence of competence is discovered.

Permission 496 is required to conduct assurance.

The 'Assurance' tab is available on each element, and on the element list page for 'all' elements (P497 required).

YouTube Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlHuK3Yn4c8
Update 1054
11 April 2024
SYSTEM DOWNTIME 10 April 2024:

We apologise for the recent system downtime, which was caused by a Denial of Service (DOS). HOPS received several million connection requests from a single location within a 24-hour period which overwhelmed the web server.

Overnight the HOPS program team have configured a DOS protection system which will limit the number of connections that can be made from one IP address. Any IP address which triggers a limit will be blocked for a short period of time.

We believe the configured limits to be very reasonable and we anticipate that there will be no disruption to legitimate uses of HOPS. For security reasons we are not publicising these limits but will continue to monitor and adjust them to reduce any user impact. Please open a helpdesk ticket if you believe you have been blocked and we will investigate this for you.

We appreciate your patience while we investigated this problem.
Update 1053
08 April 2024
PDF CREATOR:

Considerable progress has been made today on the issue of the PDF creator.

Instead of working to reinstate the PDF creator we have been working to improve the formatting of pages that are printed using native browser printing, saving to PDF, and printing to PDF.

This reduces the risk to HOPS that the PDF creator has always posed, in terms of reliability and resource consumption.

In the place of the old 'Download as PDF' option is now a 'Print this page' option which triggers the native Print dialogue box, with improved formatting styles applies.

[Note in pages that still use old HOPS body text, the 'Print this page' like is required to be used to obtain the appropriate formatting. Ctrl+P / Cmd+P / other methods of calling the print dialogue won't work the same. In New HOPS pages Ctrl+P etc will work fine and therefore there is no yellow 'Print this page' link.]

Table rows now no longer break across pages.

We are working to remove the green 'department' header that prints on the first page of department-based pages such as rosters before the 'real' content starts on page 2. Where table cells are merged the behaviour can be less predictable. If you find places where the 'Print this Page' link still allows content to be mis-formed or inaccurately split across pages please let us know and (as long as there's not thousands of them) we will try to fix them.

Thank you
Update 1052
03 April 2024
TEMPORARY ID CARDS:

A 'print locally' facility has been introduced for temporary ID cards, enabling them to be printed on A4 paper by the issuing railways. This reduces/removes the need for temporary ID card stationery, and enables tempoarary ID cards to work with Time Register for the first time.

Temporary ID cards can be printed immediately after they are created using the download link, or at any time later by browsing to the card via Services > ID Cards > Temporary ID Cards.

The details for completing the business card style ID card stationery are still in place, so railways wishing to use up stock or needing time to brief the new arrangements can do so.

The temporary ID card is much larger than the normal ID card. For railways that use Time Register, users are recommended to fold it around the QR code to avoid the QR code becoming damaged by the fold lines.

There is no current stock of blank temporary ID cards at HOPS HQ. If any railway wishes to continue using the old stationery until the end of the year please let us know and we will make arrangements. We will make one further order at the end of April for any railways that require it.

The temporary ID cards state that they are valid for internal use only, as it seems to be the policy at most railways that new staff obtain their discount on food and drink etc from their first day of volunteering, but not the reciprocal travel etc until they have obtained their full ID card.

The printed temporary ID cards are intended to be signed or stamped or embossed by the railway when they are issued.
Update 1051
02 April 2024
SERVICE STATUS:

PDFs have been reinstated for:

* E-learning completion certificates
* Function Log email attachments
* Group Booking confirmation email attachments
* Shop order confirmation email attachments

The 'Download as PDF' button on each page has not yet been reinstated.

E-learning has been reinstated.

Please do keep an eye on System Updates and here in this group and avoid raising support tickets related to this if you can. We have spent a lot of work time over the weekend in endless arguments with people about it, but it is being investigated and returned to use as soon as possible.

The PDF creator has always been ropey at best. We will be doing some work today to see if we can address some of the original issues that make the HOPS PDF creator required over the brower's Save as PDF facility, and the OS's Print to PDF facility, eg breaking text across lines etc. If we can improve the behaviour of those to match what the HOPS PDF creator does then that will be a much less risky way to proceed. It will also reduce a maintenance burden for HOPS and allow us to devote that time to other developments.

Thank you to the HOPS program team who have done a great job in responding to Thursday's disruption, including over the bank holiday weekend to ensure unninterrupted service. Once we have been able to fully reinstate our normal service we will be doing some further work in to the original cause and what technology is available to reduce likelihood of a reoccurrence.
Update 1050
28 March 2024
SERVICE STATUS

Downloading page as PDF, and Working at Height e-learning have been made temporarily unavailable as part of ongoing resolution of this morning's server issues.
Update 1049
17 March 2024
PROFILE PHOTOS

The Profile Photo information has been reviewed and updated.

The only material change is a line to dissuade users from wearing hats or sunglasses for their photo.

https://www.hops.org.uk/help/profile-photos

I know that profile photos are a pain sometimes, but the requirements are to ensure that a good quality outcome is achieved, both in terms of the quality of photo and the technical constraints of printing the image onto the cards.

It also manages user's expectations in terms of how seriously the railway treats its compliance processes. A user's willingess to engage in producing a good photo might also sometimes be a good indicator of their willingess to engage in compliance processes in general...
Update 1048
17 March 2024
EMPLOYEE SHIFTS

The totals at the bottom of the Employee Shifts 'Totals' tab, and the values in the table in Employee Report, have been turned in to hyperlinks. The links lead to a new detail page that shows a list of all the shifts contributing to the total.

At the top of the new page is a calendar showing where all the relevant shifts fall. Underneath this is a list of dates, including rostered shifts and time register info.

It is possible to set the 'Shift Type' to 'All' to obtain a list of all shifts (very colourful).

Thank to the our friends at the North Norfolk Railway for the suggestion.
Update 1047
14 March 2024
A facility to archive disused Roster Rows has been added.
Update 1046
11 March 2024
We have launched two new HOPS facilities:

STOLEN ITEMS REGISTER:

Services menu > Stolen Items

https://www.hops.org.uk/stolen-items

Intended to provide an opportunity for heritage organisations to permanently list stolen items in order that potential buyers can identify them, viewings of the items can be reported to the railway, and hopefully more items recovered.

Permission 519 is required to add new listings on behalf of the organisation (which has been added to all users and groups with 015 [generally indicative of HOPS Admins] to start with).

---

DISPOSALS GAZETTE:

Services menu > Disposals Gazette

https://www.hops.org.uk/disposals

There have been a number of cases recently where historical items have been disposed of to other collections or scrap, and there has subsequently been criticism of that action.

The Disposals Gazette is designed to provide organisations an opportunity to demonstrate having taken reasonable steps to advertise to advertise the assets to other preservation organisations before they are sold or scrapped. Full details of what we hope will become the 'standard' accepted disposal advertising process are shown on the page. (Feedback welcome)

Permission 518 is required to add new listings on behalf of the organisation (which has been added to all users and groups with 015 [generally indicative of HOPS Admins] to start with).

---

In both of the above, it is intended for use by organisations rather than individuals. We may provide a mechanism for individuals to post personal items in the future.

All new listings are 'accepted' centrally before becoming public. Once accepted, the listing is public. A link will be added to the HOPS home page in due course.

HOPS Users can subscribe to (and unsubscribe from) notifications from one or both systems via the 'Subscribe' tab and new entries will be emailed to subscribers, as well as posted on X etc. A mechanism for non-HOPS users to subscribe may be added in future. All users with 015 have been subscribed to both registers, feel free to offer/encourage other users to do so.

It is in everyone's interest to promote the use of these tools, and definitely in railway's interest to show disposals are being managed appropriately, so when posting in your own media outlets about items for disposal or stolen items please do share a link to the item's page in the Stolen Items Register or Disposals Gazette.

The lists are separate by coutnry, for each country with railways that use HOPS. Viewing the list of another country is fine, but we thought it would be more focussed to separate them out as most readers will only be interested in their own country.

Thank you to the railways who have requested these features over the years, we hope they are useful. Your feedback is welcome as always!
Update 1045
03 March 2024
ALLOCATION OF CARRIAGE SETS TO TRAINS

The concept of 'sets' has previously been driven by an asset type that recognises it contains assets that are actually 'sets', with each having children of the actual carriages.

This has proved unsatisfactory for a number of reasons so has been replaced this evening with a new system.

A new specific concept of 'Carriage Sets' has been introduced, visible in Base Timetables > 'Carriage Sets and Stock Diagrams' tab.

https://www.hops.org.uk/carriage_asset_diagrams.php

The new Carriage Sets concept is much less rigid than the previous Asset Management System-driven arrangement.

Permission 517 is required to edit.

Carriage sets are used to identify groups of carriage assets or vehicles. Eg a carriage set "Blood & custard set" might include five blood and custard mk1s.

A vehicle is added by means of giving it an order number and a letter. It is no longer necessary to use the fields in the asset management system, which was previously the cause of a lot of confusion.

A vehicle can belong to more than one set. Previously a carriage could only belong to one set as an asset can only have one parent, but now a carriage can belong to multiple sets.

Sets can then be easily allocated as a group to a specific train, a specific stock diagram (eg "Train 1" or "Train 2") in the same way as previously (via an individual train, the daily train list, or the monthly train calendar).

A set is only used in the process of allocating vehicles, once allocated, the train recognises the individual vehicles and not the set they belonged to at the time. This is the same as before.

Note a carriage will not be duplicated on the same train, even if it is commanded to be added as part of a set.

To save data re-entry, all existing 'set' assets from the Asset Management System that contained at least one legitimate vehicle have been copied to a new Carriage Set, and all the vehicles that were its children have been copied in to the set.

The old parent/children relationships in the Asset Mangement System can be safely removed, the 'set' assets archived, and the asset register in which they lived archived. If this will be an onerous task for you due to the volume of assets please let us know and we will remove them en-mass.

Note that this does not replace the concept of Stock DIAGRAM.

Stock DIAGRAMS are used to identify the same "train" each day, even if it is formed of different carriages. Eg the 10:00 train is always "Train 1" and the 11:00 is "Train 2", even though they may formed of different carriages each day.

The new Carriage SETS are for identifying the specific carriages in each set.

There was a lot of re-working involved in all the above, so please let us know if you find any problems. The 'HOPS Error' screen is a pretty good indication that we've been working hard on things... (the day you stop getting errors we've probably stopped working!)
Update 1044
27 February 2024
LOCO ALLOCATIONS ON ROSTERS

To make better use of space, there is now an option in roster settings to determine whether loco allocations are shown in their own separate column, or under the date and timetable in that column.

This will hopefully help show the loco allocations nicely on rosters that already have a lot of columns.
Update 1043
26 February 2024
HOPS-COMMS MESSAGES

A new tab has been added to user profiles - 'Comms Acks'.

Permission 515 required.

The new tab shows all the messages the user has received that required acknowledgement, and when they (first) opened them and when they acknowledged them. Messages that didn't require an acknowledgement are not shown.

This is to help identify if a specific user has any messages requiring acknowledging outstanding.

Note we don't, at present, record when a user reads the message if they read it by email. We may be able to achieve this in future if it becomes useful. Acknowledging can only be done in the system, not by email, so there's no ambiguity there.

The same tab also shows all the messages that the user has sent that required acknowledgement.

Note this is currently only available if you navigate to it via the department staff list. It doesn't yet work if you browse to the user via the search box at the top or the 'All Staff' list.
Update 1042
16 February 2024
Editing Custom Columns on Base Rosters has returned, I'm sorry it was away for so long - thanks to Zig-Zag Railway for the reminder! ( https://zigzagrailway.com.au/location/ - look at that location!)
Update 1041
11 February 2024
HOPS ACCOUNT JOINS

The long-outstanding list of HOPS accounts waiting to be joined has been cleared.

All users have been notified that their accounts have now been joined.

If your accounts have been joined and you find any problems please let us know.

DO YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE HOPS ACCOUNT? You can join them together to remove the need for multiple usernames and passwords. The data at each railway you work on is not affected.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfqhvAmIJ2I
Update 1040
10 February 2024
ENQUIRIES ABOUT UK DEPARTURE BOARDS

We have received a number of questions relating to our exciting collaboration with UK Departure Boards.

Here are some of the FAQs and answers:

- Where can we buy a Departure Board?

You can buy the boards, in various sizes, from https://ukdepartureboards.co.uk/

HOPS does not sell the boards, it is only providing the data.

- How do we get our times on to the boards?

Just enter the appropriate timetable in to HOPS and publish the day and the trains.

- Do goods trains and secret trains show?

No. Only published, non-secret passenger trains show at present.

- Do working times get shown or public times?

Only public times are shown, and only at stations. Passing times, working times and times at locations which aren't stations are not shown.

- How do we get the locos to show up?

Allocate the appropriate trains to a diagram and allocate the traction type and/or specific loco to the diagram.

- What drives the steam/diesel/DMU symbol?

If a specific loco is allocated to the diagram, the symbol for that traction type will be shown. If no loco is allocated, the symbol of the 'required traction' will be shown, apart from that diagrams that demand 'Any Traction' will not get a symbol until a loco is allocated.

- Can we customise the text that is shown about locos?

Yes. There is a new 'Public Name' field in the asset management system which can be used to set the public name. Eg the internal name might be "4472" and the public name might be "LNER class A3 number 4472 Flying Scotsman".

- Is this intended for use at heritage stations?

It is intended primarily for enthusiasts, but heritage railways can also purchase the boards and use them, especially in non-heritage areas such as shops and cafes. We recognise that these non-heritage items are unlikely to be used on heritage platforms.

- Is HOPS paying UKDB for this, or is UKDB paying HOPS?

No payments are being made by either side for this collaboration. It is being done by UKDB and HOPS in the spirit of working together for the promotion of heritage railways.
Update 1039
09 February 2024
COMPETENCE ELEMENTS

The Element Expiries list in Department Competence has been separated in to two lists, one showing currently non-competent awards and one showing currently competent awards.

This is to help ensure that users awarded a status such as 'Awaiting QP' remain at the top of the page.

In addition, element awards for Not Competent, Awaiting EL, Awaiting SD, Awaiting QP, and Not Required are now forced to 'Does not expire'.
Update 1038
05 February 2024
"WORK DONE" DURING ASSET MAINTENANCE TASKS

A "Work Done Recorded" section has been added when viewing a record of a task already carried out.

A new link has also been provided on the Work Done Record to get straight to the relevant maintenance task record.

Thanks to the NYMR for this suggestion.
Update 1037
05 February 2024
CREW DIAGRAMS

Mileages are now shown on crew diagrams.
Update 1036
04 February 2024
DIAGRAMS

A lot of tidying up work has taken place today around the new diagrams and loco allocations tools.

A tab has been added to Asset Usage and Asset Type Usage showing the diagrams to which the asset has been allocated. These new pages will probably be sorted into months and years in future, but this is in pursuit of integrating diagram allocations with mileage accumulation so I don't fully know how it will all play out.

Additional information has been added to crew diagrams following feedback from Admins. Staff are now shown on diagrams (where the viewer has permission 043). The information shown where additional locomotives join/leave each other has also been improved.

Thank you to everyone for all your feedback on these new tools. We will continue to try to develop them as soon as possible.
Update 1035
04 February 2024
CREW DIAGRAMS

It looks like you have all been having some great fun with the new crew diagrams tools and allocating turns to them!
Some early signs have come up of good ways and bad ways to use this, so I have added some notes to the editing page on good and bad naming conventions.
Update 1034
02 February 2024
LOCOMOTIVE ALLOCATIONS ON ROSTERS

Locomotive allocations can now be shown on Construct Rosters.

New settings are in Roster Settings for each type of traction: Steam, Diesel, DMU and "any". This enables, eg, showing only diesel allocations on diesel rosters and steam allocations on steam rosters.

View Rosters to follow...
Update 1033
01 February 2024
Locomotive allocations are now shown on station workings.
Update 1032
31 January 2024
LOCOMOTIVE DIAGRAMS & ALLOCATIONS

Here is a video that describes the latest method of managing locomotive diagrams and loco allocations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTPMLH5iiIg

This is hopefully useful for reducing the amount of time spent by railways, especially in the lead-up to galas etc, manually writing out diagrams for every driver etc.
Update 1031
31 January 2024
ASSET CHECKLISTS / MILEAGES

The usage options in the drop-down list when constructing a Checklist have been simplified, and are now drawn from a single list in Asset Management System Settings > Checklist Usage Suggestions tab. They are no longer asset-type-specific.

PLANNED ASSET USAGE

This has now been removed, as previously advertised, and replaced with the Diagrams tool in timetables.

Diagrams can be created on base timetables [Base WTT Trains tab, then Crew/Stock Diagrams tab on the base timetable detail page] and on individual days [Crew/Stock Diagrams tab on the calendar page for that day]. Each diagram can be set to require a specific type of traction if desired. Daily diagrams can have specific traction units allocated.

The loco diagrams appear in the heading of the daily calendar pages (visible on all tabs), on the 'Rolling Stock' tab of the daily calendar page, and can be set to show on availability collection sheets in Roster Settings.
Update 1030
26 January 2024
Attaching files to HOPS Comms messages is now back.

Permission 508 required. Please use it sparingly (eg only to managers), so that

a - it doesn't fill up the HOPS server

b - users don't use it for things that should really be files uploaded to the documents area of HOPS (eg WONs etc).

We don't guarantee it will be available forever if it becomes too expensive.

Thank you
Danny S.
Update 1029
22 January 2024
A new "Instructions following expiry of this element" field has been added to the competence element editing page.

The text entered here appears on the alert email sent to a user when their competence element expires.

The field is required, when the element is next being edited, but it isn't a requirement to populate them all immediately.
Update 1027
25 December 2023
DATA RETENTION IN HOPS

Options have been provided for the retention periods of a new round of data types.

These can be viewed in System > HOPS Config Settings > Data Retention tab.

https://www.hops.org.uk/railway_detail.php?t=2

Permission 358 is required to edit.

The HOPS-recommended periods for retention are shown in brackets, which hopefully we will be able to reach consensus on.

Each railway is required to opt-in (or open a dialogue with us if there is a reason to not do so). Note, once opted-in it is not possible to opt-out again.

This CIPD document was used for inspiration: https://www.cipd.org/uk/knowledge/factsheets/keeping-records-factsheet

- User DOB (40 years)
- User postal address (40 years)
- User telephone (7 years)
- User email (7 years)
- User emergency contact (12 months)
- User skills & background (12 months)
- User values in local fields (12 months)
- User permission (3 months)

The '40 year' retention periods on DOB and postal address are justified by the potential need to identify members of staff who may, in future, bring legal action against the company for exposure to hazardous substances etc.

The '7 year' retention periods are justified by the need to contact former members of staff in the case of a late claim by a member of the public or railway enforcement authority.

The emergency contact data has a shorter period as that is also data about another subject who is not a member of the railway's staff, so carries slightly more risk. As the person no longer works for the railway there is limited (but not zero) likelihood that the railway will need to use the data.

The 'Continuous Improvement' page has also been updated to show the railway's status, HOPS Admin > Continuous Improvement.

https://www.hops.org.uk/continuous_improvement.php

* Background

Up to now HOPS has generally been considered not old enough to be storing data for which there was no outstanding lawful basis on which to store it, but as HOPS is now over ten years old that is no longer the case.

Some data is easier than others to think about retention/deletion. Some is 'nice to have', some is required for useful analysis, and some is vital to maintain for insurance etc purposes (where the record-keeping period can be 40 years or more).

Removing old data also helps maintain best use of system-resources and avoids HOPS becoming 'bogged down'.

All data must have a lawful basis for being stored (GDPR), so we must act reasonably in how long we store data for, especially after the person to whom it applies no longer works for the organisation. All data stored in HOPS is stored on the legal basis of 'legitimate interest' - ie it's all necessary data for the client organisations to store to run their businesses - it is not stored under the legal basis of 'consent' and therefore the subject user cannot withdraw their consent.

It is legitimate for businesses to store information about their former staff for a reasonable period of time, particularly to protect the company against subsequent legal, insurance or employment claims.
Update 1028
25 December 2023
CALENDARS are now shown on Construct Rosters in the same way as they are on View Rosters.
Update 1025
02 December 2023
Passenger Guard, Ticket Collector, and Signalman/Porter/Goods Guard hats are all back in stock!

They are available now, visit the HOPS Shop - https://www.heritage-ops.org.uk/product_categories.php - to place your order.
Update 1026
01 December 2023
BACKUP RESTORATION DRILLS

There will be some brief periods of downtime on Christmas Day, 25 December 2023, between 1200 and 1600 UTC for backup recovery drills.

That's four hours commencing from :
1200 UK GMT
1300 Italy CET
1400 South Africa SAST
2000 Western Australia AWST
2130 Australia Northern Territory ACST
2200 Queensland AEST
2230 South Australia ACDT
2300 ACT, NSW, Victoria & Tasmania AEDT

This is an important part of HOPS's resilience and data protection assurance processes.

Time Register devices will continue to work as normal and transactions will be stored up on devices and uploaded to HOPS when it comes back online.

We apologise for any inconvenience.
Update 1024
16 November 2023
Thanks to a productive meeting with our friends at the Severn Valley Railway today, there is now the facility to show loco diagrams and which loco has been allocated to them on the availabilty collection page.

A new setting in Roster Settings has been added to show the loco diagrams for steam and/or diesel diagrams as appropriate.

This facility has been added to encourage those staff who only sign a small proportion of the traction fleet to make effort to make themselves available on days when they are more likely to get turns.

While some staff are either 'available or not', some have the flexibility to rearrange their other work or family commitments and are more inclined to do so on days when the traction they sign is planned to run.

The intention is not that those staff would only give their availability for days on which their traction is running, it is recommended that they are encouraged to give availablity, where they can, on all days, to enable the railway to better-cope with short-notice changes of traction.

On balance, it is believed that better availability overall will be obtained.

Thank you to the SVR operating dept for this suggestion.
Update 1023
14 November 2023
A lot of updates have been implemented this evening to enable non-railway locations in Spot Report and NMI, without affecting the timetable or ticket systems.

There should be no visible changes except a new tab in System > HOPS Config Settings called 'Locations'. If you observe any other unintended side-effects please let us know.
Update 1020
06 November 2023
HOPS's house newsletter - Top of the HOPS - is out now!

https://www.heritage-ops.org.uk/uploads/public/docs/2023-10-October-HOPS-News.pdf

Top of the HOPS is one of three ways HOPS communicates details of system developments, updates and strategy, as well as highlighting other important safety items for heritage railways.

This issue includes updates to the HOPS-comms, ticket system, timetable system, trainee log, competence evidence assurance, Safeguarding symbol on elements, Safety Circular, and more.

If you'd like to receive it directly, request your HOPS Admin to allocate permission 168 to your account.

We're sorry that this issue is late in coming - it was waiting for the release of HOPS-Comms, Competence Evidence Assurance and Trainee Logs. (Otherwise you'd be reading about things that weren't in the system yet!)
Update 1022
06 November 2023
Minor updates:

- A user's U number is now shown at the top of the user details page.

- The 'Confirmed' status of a telephone number is now shown on the user details page.

Update 1021
06 November 2023
"County" is now shown as "State" for railways outside the UK.
Update 1018
05 November 2023
HOPS has a new tool for enabling staff to give feedback about the progress of trainees.

The feedback takes a mixed form of some written and some 'scores'.

For footplate roles, some additional fields are available for specific footplate-related recording. It is intended that other types of role will have specific feedback fields in due course, eg Guard, Signalman, Platform, Retail, etc.

Permissions 505 and 506 apply. (Note staff can always view their own feedback, no permission is required for this.)

Managers can view trainees' progress in the competence management system, and the progression of 1-5 scores can be seen by comparing vertical columns of scores through time.

It is hoped that a team will be identified to consult and inform the exact boxes that should be available on the feedback system, and the definitions of the 1-5 scores.

A video describing the system can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cNnb9wKt_A
Update 1019
05 November 2023
Work has been done to improve the bevahiour of user telephone numbers presented in New HOPS to encourage users' devices to make them diallable when clicked.
Update 1017
05 November 2023
HOPS has a new tool for Competence Evidence Assurance - checking that evidence that justifies competence decisions exists and is compliant with your railway's SMS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlHuK3Yn4c8

This tool is currently in trial by a pilot group of railways. If any other railways would like to be part of the trial please let us know.

Competence Evidence Assurance involves a second person checking that evidence exists and is compliant. This is following a few instances where evidence has been found by railways, uploaded in to HOPS by their assessors, but being way off compliant - eg wrong forms used, not filled in correctly, not signed, not marked, etc, etc.

The is a 'Competence Evidence Assurance' tab in Competence > Competence Management which shows info for all elements across the whole railway.

There is also an 'Assurance' tab in each individual element showing info just for that element.

Assurance activity on individual element awards can also be accessed from the 'History & Evidence' tab of individual element awards.

When a new award is made it still takes effect straight away, and it is considered 'submitted for assurance'. Ie in no-man's land. Hopefully Assurance will take place as the evidence will either be found to be in good order, or not satisfactory.

Permissions 496 and 497 apply.

(If it's not satisfactory the system says it will send emails about it but it does not do this yet. It also says that if it remains unsatisfactory for 7 days the competence will be revoked, but it does not do this yet either. These will be completed once it's had a bit of a trial.)

If you would be interested in taking part in the trial, please let us know.
Update 1016
05 November 2023
We have done some fiddling so that Google Mail web interface better recognises HOPS styles.

Email interpretation in the many many different clients that exist in the world is an ongoing battle, but we hope that recent attention paid to Outlook and Gmail will benefit a majority of users.

Thank you
Update 1014
31 October 2023
Pilot railway(s) wanted for 'Competence Evidence Assurance' tool. Please email Danny.

The idea is that competence evidence is looked at by a second person to check that it (exists and) is compliant. This is following a few instances where evidence has been found by railways, uploaded in to HOPS by their assessors, but being way off compliant - eg wrong forms used, not filled in correctly, not signed, not marked, etc, etc.

There is a 'Competence Evidence Assurance' tab in Competence > Competence Management which shows info for all elements across the whole railway.

There is also an 'Assurance' tab in each individual element showing info just for that element.

Assurance activity on individual element awards can also be accessed from the 'History & Evidence' tab of individual element awards.

When a new award is made it still takes effect straight away, and it is considered 'submitted for assurance'. Ie in no-man's land.

Hopefully Assurance will take place as the evidence will either be found to be in good order, or not satisfactory.

(If it's not satisfactory the system says it will send emails about it but it does not do this yet. It also says that if it remains unsatisfactory for 7 days the competence will be revoked, but it does not do this yet either. These will be completed once it's had a bit of a trial.)
Update 1015
31 October 2023
We have done some fiddling so that Outlook better recognises HOPS styles.

(Outlook is generally not very good at respecting styles properly.)

We haven't been able to get it to constrain the width like it should, but it's better than it was, particularly paragraphs now space themselves nicely.
Update 1013
26 October 2023
The HOPS-comms messaging system overhauled to New HOPS.

* Messages can be constructed and saved as draft to return to later.

* Messages no longer constrained to plain text. Header, bold, italic, underline and strikethrough formatting available.

* Links can be inserted (with alternative link text).

* Images can now be included in messages.

* Files can now be included in messages (with option to attach them or not to the email the user receives)

* Option to require acknowledgement of the message, and visibility of who has opened and/or acknowledged it.

* Messages are now spooled up and sent in the background, so it is no longer necessary for a sender to wait ages for messages to large numbers of users to spool up emails before the form unloads.

* The original message is now included when replying or forwarding via HOPS.

* Tick box mode for mass-deleting messages and marking all as read/unread.

There are no changes to permissions.

We hope you like it!
Update 1012
20 October 2023
The terms of use of HOPS, Security, Backups and GDPR information have been reviewed.

No significant changes have taken place, but some wording has been altered to make clear that it applies to non-heritage railway organisations making use of HOPS as well.

Some redundant text relating to Covid has been removed (eg resilience actions we took at the time).
Update 1011
04 October 2023
The editing of age boundaries for competence element, where the expiry is determined by age, no longer requires programming by HOPS. Hurrah!

You can now edit them yourselves.

The interface is a little basic, but it's not something used very often so hopefully not an issue.

Expiry lengths have to decrease as age increases.
Update 1010
28 September 2023
Following very significant work on rosters arranged by custom column, there is now a facility for editing the ordering of columns in Roster Settings.

If anyone observes any irregular behaviour of rosters, particularly those arranged by custom column, please raise a support ticket.

Thank you.
Update 1009
28 September 2023
Heavy work is taking place on rosters that are viewed by custom column from 2130 UK time (BST) 28/9/23.

Rosters may display irregularly for the next few hours. There is no need to report this unless it persists after 0001 UK time (BST) on 29/9/23.
Update 1008
20 September 2023
By popular demand, HOPS has developed a ticket sales system over the last couple of years. Like all HOPS developments, this has been done on the basis of participating railways sharing best-practice and everyone benefitting from everyone else's input - it is a system specifically designed for heritage railways, with direction and development steered by heritage railways, and all revenue raised staying in the heritage railway sector to further develop the system.

On Wednesday 11 October 2023 there will be an opportunity for railways to view the progress so far and feed back on the suggestions and requirements for development towards making this a system that, like HOPS, all heritage railways can use and benefit from.

There will be two (identical) meetings, one at 2pm (primarily to allow employed members of railway staff to attend during office hours) and one at 7pm (primarily to allow volunteer railway staff to attend).

There will be a presentation of the development of the system so far, followed by an open-forum discussion. We will be pleased to hear suggestions, ranging from the nice-to-have to the must-have from all railways.

The meeting will be held via MS Teams, and those who wish to attend should please email steve.morris@hops.org.uk to obtain the meeting link. Please let us know which railway you're from when emailing and whether you wish to attend the 2pm or 7pm session.

The ticket system can be seen in public use at some early-adopter railways:

sdr.hops.org.uk/tickets

perrygrove.hops.org.uk/tickets

sps.hops.org.uk/membership
Update 1007
29 August 2023
A 'Safeguarding Officer' symbol has been added to the range of symbols that can be shown next to a person's name based on elements that they hold.

Where railways have appointed Safeguarding Officers as part of good risk mitigation for involving young/vulnerable people in volunteering, selecting this option on the Safeguarding Officer training element will display the 'SG' icon adjacent to holders' names in other parts of the system.

The Safeguarding officer is someone that anyone can go to for advice or help with a safeguarding matter or if they have concerns about a colleague, a member of their staff, or if a member of staff wishes to raise some concerns themselves.

The new symbol allows Safeguarding Offivers to be highlighted on HOPS rosters and in department lists, etc, in the same way as first aiders are - so that everyone will be able to identify who the safeguarding officers are to seek assistance.

Thank you to the West Somerset Railway for the request.

This work involved some heavy work on the other element symbols, and it has not been easy to test every permutation of symbol so please let us know (via a support ticket) if you find anywhere we have missed or where the symbols aren't showing correctly.
Update 1006
29 August 2023
To enable assessors to print QPs, but not have permission to edit them, we have introduced new permission 499, to view QPs. 071 is still required to edit them.

I think we have found all (or certainly most) places where someone with 499 but not 071 doesn't get offered links to edit things that they will immediately be blocked from, but if you find any I've missed please let me know.

Note 499 (VIEW permission) is required by everyone who previously survived on 071 (EDIT permission), as you can't edit what you can't see. I have allocated 499 to all individuals and groups who have 071, so there will be no change in the system as of now.

You can allocate 499 to the people who you would like to be able to view and print QPs but not edit them.

Thanks to the Severn Valley Railway for the request.
Update 1005
09 August 2023
We apologise for the downtime from 11:10 to 11:15 this morning. This was causead by an outage by our commercial server supplier.

In times like these we post service status updates on the HOPS Facebook and Twitter/X pages:

https://www.facebook.com/HeritageOps

https://twitter.com/HeritageOps
Update 1004
08 August 2023
ORR SMS GUIDANCE

HOPS Workshop makes a re-appearance to discuss the ORR's recent new guidance on Safety Management Systems on minor and heritage railways, where we will be joined by ORR's Simon Barber, HM Principal Inspector of Railways.

The new guidance can be downloaded here: https://www.orr.gov.uk/about/who-we-work-with/railway-networks/minor-heritage-railways

This workshop will be conducted via MS Teams (not the normal Facebook Live), to enable all participants the opportunity to ask questions or make comments during the workshop.

Meeting link: https://teams.live.com/meet/9449094336787?p=8fP0yUmwCwaGkYBZ

---

HOPS has a great many tools to assist in the management of volunteer and employed staff at heritage and volunteer organisations.

Previous HOPS Workshops are available to view on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HeritageOps/videos/
and YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRu_xPovYjpBegbwS-89jUg

EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO JOIN IN.

We will respond to comments and queries raised during the meeting. The meeting will start at 7pm and last approximately 90 minutes.
Update 1003
03 August 2023
TIMETABLES - CARRIAGES ON TRAINS

A lot of exciting developments have been taking place in the timetable system throughout 2023, some the most recent involving assigning locomotives and carriages to trains. This will have far-reaching benefits in the asset management system such as for mileage accumulation and usage history which is currently managed manually.

Here is a video that explains the method of adding carriages to trains.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjwyCP0mzW8
Update 1002
02 August 2023
TIMETABLES - BRAKING AND ACCELERATING TIMES

There are a small number of timing points in the timetables system in HOPS that still have braking and accelerating allowances. These are being removed imminently, which will alter the times of trains that call at these stations (as the allowance for braking and accelerating will no longer be consdiered).

If you have locations that still have braking and accelerating allowances please could you remove these, and include the time in the sectional running time instead.

If all your timing points already have a zero for braking and accelerating, no action required.

Thank you

(Previously advertised in updates 971, 974 and 988)
Update 1001
01 August 2023
ID CARDS

The frequency with which ID cards are sent to individuals will increase to WEEKLY, normally on a Wednesday, starting from Wednesday 9 August.

Be sure to have your cards approved by *10am* on Wednesdays. After 10am you may miss the boat for the week, but we will include all cards that are approved by whatever time the printer starts, so you may be lucky!

No change to ID cards that are sent to railways, these will still be sent fortnightly, at approximately the middle and end of the month.
Update 1000
31 July 2023
RAILDAYS

We have produced a guide to help railways maximise their presence and exploit maximum benefit from Raildays.

https://api.hops.org.uk/file_download.php?ft=12&doc=Raildays_User_Guide_V1
Update 999
28 July 2023
TIMETABLES

The pages for Signal Box Movements and Station Workings on both base timetables and daily timetables have been altered to show only on location at a time. This is to aid printing.

Carriage Stock Diagrams have been added to the Signal Box Movements and Station Workings sheets. Loco diagrams will be added shortly, followed by loco allocations.
Update 997
21 July 2023
TIMETABLES

Work has taken place today and overnight to enable locomotives to be added to diagrams.

It is possible to set a type of traction advertised on diagrams on Base Timetables, and on Daily Timetables as well, and then set a specific traction unit which usually happens a lot closer to the day.

The booked traction type, and allocated traction unit is now shown on train crew diagrams. Opportunity has also been taken to show the allocated carriage stock on train crew diagrams as well.

Locomotives can be assigned to diagrams either when editing the diagram (one-by-one), or using the new 'Loco Diagrams' tab in the Calendar to allocate locomotives/tractions units in tick box mode. This is also accessible from the new 'Loco Diagrams' option in the Operations menu.

The traction required, and the traction allocated, are now shown on the 'Train List' tab of the daily calendar, and also in the 'Rolling Stock' tab.

Thank you for all your winderful ideas for further developments of the timetable/planning system, we will implement as many of them as we can!
Update 998
21 July 2023
USER PROFILE

An 'Email Log' tab has been added to user profiles, showing recent emails sent to that user.

Thank you to users from several railways who requested this, including the Aln Valley, West Somerset, Bure Valley and Severn Valley.
Update 996
17 July 2023
Work has taken place today to allow Train Crew / Loco diagrams to be created on Base Timetables. (This has been available for a while on daily timetables.)

I believe I have updated the relevant places where the base timetable is copied on to a specific date to copy the diagrams as well, but over to you all to test!

Contrary to the work that went on over the weekend, THIS will get us closed to assigning specific locomotives (and people) to DIAGRAMS (rather than TRAINS), to facilitate traincrew/loco chagnes etc mid-journey.

Note, this work is to enable "Steam 1", or "Turn 2" or "Shift 3" to be built and the times of trains being worked to be recorded for each. The next stage will be the allocation of specific turns and locomotices to "Steam 1" on a specific day, etc.

When editing a diagram it is possible to state whether the diagram can be assigned to a turn and/or allocation of a locomotive. A steam/diesel/DMU can be specified if required, or 'any loco'. If, at your railway, the driver and fireman stay with the same locomotive all day long, you can create one diagram and use if for both purposes. If a driver changes loco part-way through the day, or is relieved by another driver, then separate diagrams can be created for each driver and the locomotive.

In readiness for the next stage of work, attributes have been added to Asset Types to specify whether assets of each type count as 'Steam Locos', 'Diesel Locos' or 'DMUs', which will interlock with the type of loco required for each diagram.

Those admins that are keen to test things, here are the things to test:
* Setting an asset type to Steam, Diesel, DMU, none.
* Creating a diagram on a base timetable
Adding work to the diagram
* Copying the base timetable to a date and checking the diagrams copy too.
* Checking the diagrams on daily timetables can still be edited correctly.

Thank you to everyone who tests new HOPS developments!
Update 995
13 July 2023
GROUP BOOKINGS

There is a new setting in Group Bookings Settings for determining whether to show 'provisional' or 'confirmed' passenger numbers, or no passenger numbers at all on the Customer's Confirmation No 1 and No 2.

Some railways use the No 1 confirmation as a 'provisional' confirmation, and the No 2 confirmation as a 'confirmed' confirmation, so this lends itself well to that.

Both are set to 'none' by default so no action = no change.
Update 994
02 July 2023
QUESTION PAPERS

The 'Papers Received' tab of Question Papers now also contains a list of QPs that have been marked but not attributed to a competence decision.

This might give away that an assessor has marked the QP but then either not updated the user's competence, or has updated it but not correctly attributed the QP to it.

Links are provided to view the QP results, and to jump to the user's history in that element (if they have one) to easily see which assessment decision is potentially missing evidence.