MainLine Steam News 2016
updated Wed 23-Mar-16 front page

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ORR lifts WCRC Prohibition Notice

[Wed 23-Mar-16] The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today ilifted the Prohibition Notice on the West Coast Railway Company Ltd (WCRC) served on 17 February. Under the terms of the Prohibition, the company was unable to operate trains on the main line network until ORR was satisfied its governance and operations meet industry practice and are fit for the scale of its operation. ORR demanded, and have now received evidence of, assurances that steps have been taken to remedy the issues we identified. These included: the introduction of clearer governance structures with proper accountability for safety; more robust risk assessments; and enhanced processes for managing staff, with a focus on safety culture.

The latest ORR statement may be found here.

ORR suspend West Coast Railway Company operating licence

[Wed 17-Feb-16] The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today issued a Prohibition Notice to West Coast Railway Company Ltd (WCRC) preventing it running its heritage rail services on the mainline railway. The Notice relates to concerns about WCRCs management of safety, following a number of incidents over the past year.
See ORR notice here. The ORR letter to WCRC detailing the issues of concern may be found here.

As a consequence it is unlikley that any of the trains due to be operated by WCRC will run for the foreseeable future. The only exception may be a few trains which can be taken over by other operators (eg DB Shenker).

ORR to prosecute West Coast Railway Company

[Sat 02-Jan-16] The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) announced on 9 December 2015 that it has started criminal porceedings against train operator West Coast Railway Company Ltd (WCRC) and one of its drivers, in relation to breaches of Health & Safety Law which led to the SPAD at Wootton Basset on 7 March 2015. The first hearing is due to be held at Swindon Magistrates Court on 11 January. (Addendum: subesequently moved to Swindon Crown Court on 19 February, and later postponed to Friday 18 March. Now postponed until May)

Separately, the ORR has launched a review of WCRC's safety certificate, which allows the company to operate main line train services. Consultation closes in January 2016.

On 25 Nov the ORR placed certain prohibitions from operation of steam locomotives on the main line following a further incident on 2 October. The prohibition relates to steam locomotives with inadequate arrangements for preventing the unsafe isolation of TPWS.

These issues place considerable uncertainty on the futurew of main line steam hauled services. The ORR announcemnet may be found here.

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