Published at 18:31 on Tuesday 24th November 2015
Tags: WCR, ORR


The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has temporarily prohibited West Coast Railway Company Ltd from operating some steam locomotives on the main line rail network.

The enforcement action, which the ORR says is to protect the safety of its staff, volunteers, passengers and members of the public, follows an initial investigation into an incident near Doncaster on 2nd October 2015, which found staff on-board LMS 'Black 5' No. 45231 had turned-off its Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) isolation equipment, designed to apply an emergency brake if the driver makes an error.

An ORR spokesman said: “ORR will not allow the company to run trains where there are not effective controls in place for key safety systems. The regulator is working with the company to make the required improvements before services resume.”

Railway Herald understands that the prohibition notice comes into force from 23:00 on 24th November and does not affect diesel operations, which can continue to operate.

Mayflower to operate to Minehead

Since the story broke, it is understood that WCR has been actively working with the Office of Rail and Road to resolve the issues, and it is now understood that the ORR has passed LNER 'B1' No. 61306 Mayflower for operation on the main line, meaning that the trip on 26th November to Minehead should proceed as planned, steam-hauled. Railway Herald also understoods that WCR are seeking agreement with the ORR for a second locomotive to be passed as well.

The ORR says that any modifications to the TPWS isolation equipment would need to be rolled-out to the entire steam fleet that is operated by WCR before the prohibition notice could be lifted.

At present, the status of other tours over the coming days is unknown. At present, they would have to use Mayflower, be diesel-hauled or rescheduled.

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