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22.05.15

ORR will not revoke West Coast Railways’ safety certification

West Coast Railways will be allowed to continue to operate services after the ORR ruled it would not revoke its safety certificate.

The regulator was considering the taking away the licence that allowed the company to run services on the railway following its recent investigation into a SPAD at Wootton Bassett Junction.

The SPAD occurred on 7 March when the 13-carriage Cathedrals Express service, pulled by engine Tangmere, failed to stop at a danger signal on the approach to the double line junction near Wootton Bassett, and missed its mark by 700 yards.

It came to rest at the Wootton Bassett junction just one minute after the previous train had passed.

The incident also led Network Rail to serve WCR with a suspension notice, temporarily banning it from operating services.

The suspension notice was lifted earlier this month after WCR addressed the safety concerns raised by Network Rail, however the ORR review continued.

An ORR spokesman told RTM that its inspectors were there for the operation of the first service after the suspension was lifted. They observed WCR’s preparations in the days leading up to the running of the service, and also monitored the train crew aboard while it was operated.

Following these inspections, the regulator has now written to WCR to inform them that they will not be revoking the company’s safety certification.

The letter said: “Owing to the steps you have already taken to improve your Safety Management System and our satisfactory site visits, we are satisfied that there is no significant risk requiring the revocation of WCRC’s safety certificate.”

However the letter added that the ORR still has some concerns that the changes to WCR’s safety management system is not “embedded” and that there are “still some outstanding matters that requiring attention”.

Due to this the ORR has served WCR with an Improvement Notice, which states that WCR has not “sufficiently documented or implemented all parts of your safety management system to ensure the control of risks associated with your operation”.

The company has until 20 July to make the required improvements.

Ian Prosser, director of railway safety at the ORR said: “The regulator’s initial investigation found shortfalls in the WCRC’s safety management system and in response the company has introduced enhanced safety procedures and appropriate staff competence regimes. ORR inspectors have been on site examining the new safety arrangements and inspecting WCRC passenger services to ensure that the necessary changes are being fully implemented by the company.

“ORR has issued an Improvement Notice to ensure WCRC delivers further improvements. This will ensure workers are provided with suitable training and effective systems to control safety risks and have clearly defined performance indicators in place. ORR will closely monitor the company and will not hesitate to step in if any non-compliance with the Improvement Notice is found.”

(Picture by: Peter Trimming)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Anon   28/05/2015 at 17:25

" failed to stop at a danger signal on the approach to the double line junction near Wootton Bassett, and missed its mark by 700 yards." surprised by decision of the ORR - so, what happened there in the cab ... ?

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