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saving grace in this whole sorry fiasco is that the case was heard in a magistrate’s court so there are no precedents set.


From: Ian Hughes Subject: Telford steam railway ORR fine


I agree with your contributor Peter van der Mark (see www. railtechnologymagazine.com/ Inbox)…I am involved with the railway concerned.


I don’t really think this prosecution is about safety but something else; probably the fact that (as far as I can find out from publicly accessible information) the ORR has not prosecuted a minor railway since its inception so this may have been a performance issue for the ORR sub-group mounting this prosecution?


I would not pay too much attention to Inspector Keay’s statement as the ORR does not seem to be consistent in its regulatory approach. From his pronouncement it would seem that Inspector Keay and the ORR are enforcing on all minor railways consistently, when this does not seem to be the case. For example the Gwilli railway was involved in a fatality a number of years ago and the Foxfield railway was involved in a similar incident as Telford more recently (IP had broken bones), neither of these undertakings were prosecuted. It is interesting to note that the inspector that prosecuted the Telford Steam Railway was the chairman of the Foxfield Railway at the time of its incident and non- prosecution by ORR.


The people involved in this incident at Telford were a group of volunteers and the railway has no paid staff. The undertaking and its volunteers held its hands up to its failings and appointed my company (Green Dragon


Rail) to assist in remedying the deficiencies that caused the incident; we were making good progress and managed to get the railway operating again.


However, the prosecution costs and fines have wiped out their bank balance and further work on improving safety is on hold, as is their development work. I fail to see how prosecuting this charitable status undertaking was in the public interest as they were contrite, were working through the list of improvements to be made as demanded by ORR and had learned by their mistakes. The IP will not be making any claims and the whole railway has learned a salutary lesson. It has also lost the best part of a year’s revenue as it voluntarily closed and ceased operations after the incident.


Another interesting point was that the ORR issued a prohibition notice on an undertaking with no employees, so as far as I can gather is not a duty holder under the HASAWA 1974. When challenged pre-trial the ORR dropped three charges made under LOLER and pursued the railway with a charge under ROGS Reg 19 (1) (b). However, Reg 19 of ROGS is not applicable in a possession and this incident occurred in a possession.


It is unfortunate that the ORR in its first (as far as I can find out) prosecution of a minor railway chose an impecunious charity with absolutely no chance of raising the money for its defence in court, so had no option other than to plead guilty. It is my opinion that had a defence been mounted in court the railway would have been found not guilty but it will remain an opinion as the case failed to get before a judge for a trial. The only


rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12 | 21


So as far as I can see, with the information I have, this statement by Insp Keay and prosecution by Insp Turner has nothing to do with safety but just the ORR using a sledge hammer to miss the nut, to get itself in the public eye and prove to persons unknown that it is doing something with the taxpayer’s money.


Editor’s note: David Keay, ORR’s head of inspection, railway operators, said this when the fine was issued: “There are hundreds of heritage railways in Great Britain, and the vast majority are run in a safe and professional manner.


“However in this instance, those working on the Telford Steam Railway put their lives at risk, attempting to move a 450kg length of rail with an unstable and defective crane, without training or planning. We will not allow such an inexcusable and casual approach to the safety of those working on Britain’s railways. Safety


is the rail regulator‘s


priority, and this year we will be inspecting heritage railways across Britain to ensure they are being operated safely.”


From: Dr Peter Jarvis Subject: Heathrow western connection


If the engineering work can be done by 2016, why is the scheme hanging around four more years in the corridors of power at the DfT?


© Littlestar19


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