More bad news for the West Coast Railway Company. The Office of Rail and Road have prohibited the heritage train operator from running rail services following repeated safety breaches.
Safety incidents involving WCRC over the past year include:
In June 2015, a WCRC train moved forward while preparing to leave Reading station, due to miscommunication between the guard and driver.
In September 2015, a WCRC train collided with the buffers at Weymouth, In September 2015, ORR inspectors found WCRC’s safety risk assessments for operating steam trains were out of date and that, even so, WCRC staff were not aware of their existence.
In October 2015, staff on a WCRC train near Doncaster turned off its Train Protection and Warning System isolation equipment, designed to apply an emergency brake if the driver makes an error.
All these were after the earlier suspension following the Wootton Bassett incident involving “Tangmere”, which leads to the conclusion the WCRC’s management have not got their act together and made safety a sufficient priority, and indeed suggests that it was only a matter of time before their luck ran out and there was a serious accident with the possibility of multiple fatalities.
This leaves DB Schenker as the only licenced operator of steam trains on the main line.
As for WCRC, they’re now drinking in the last chance saloon, if that isn’t a highly inapproriate metaphor. It’s not hard to imagine the company going into liquidation, with their assets including locmotives and rolling stock sold to another operator.