Steam train firm rapped after safety equipment ‘turned off’ in Doncaster

Engine 45231 The Sherwood Forester pauses at Great Rocks signal box to take the token for the single line working on to Buxton. Photo by David Frith, of Whaley Bridge.
Engine 45231 The Sherwood Forester pauses at Great Rocks signal box to take the token for the single line working on to Buxton. Photo by David Frith, of Whaley Bridge.
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A Train operator was rapped by Government officials for turning off safety equipment on one of its steam trains near Doncaster, it has emerged.

The Office of Rail and Road temporarily prohibited West Coast Railway Company Limited from operating steam trains on the mainline rail network last month because of the move, it has revealed

The enforcement action, put in place no November 25, followed an initial investigation into an incident near Doncaster on October 2 2015, which found staff on the steam locomotive board locomotive 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.

The Doncaster incident emerged as the OFF announced it was prosecuting WCRC and a train driver over a signal incident in March.

It is alleged a West Coast Railway Company Limited train was running from Bristol to Southend when the Spad (signal passed at danger) happened at Wootton Bassett junction in Wiltshire on March 7.

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways at ORR, said: “The safety of staff, volunteers, passengers and members of the public is our absolute priority.”

“Britain’s railways have a good safety record. However, there have been a number of incidents over the past year involving West Coast Railway Company (WCRC) trains.

“ORR inspectors are working with the rail industry, in particular the mainline heritage sector, to ensure that lessons are learned, and public safety is not put at risk.”

The first hearing in relation to the Wootton Bassett incident is due to take place at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on January 11.