Network Rail refuses to lift West Coast Railways suspension

Network Rail has refused to reinstate charter operator West Coast Railways, despite WCR Chairman David Smith’s confidence that the network-wide suspension of the company’s operations would be lifted in mid-April (RAIL 773). 

Following a meeting on April 24, Network Rail wrote to WCR to advise that there were still significant points outstanding before the suspension could be lifted. RAIL understands that further points have been added beyond the original seven areas for improvement that were highlighted in the initial Suspension Notice.

NR spokesman Kevin Groves said on April 29: “The suspension remains in place and won’t be lifted this week. We had a very positive and productive meeting , and WCR has provided us with further evidence. While some of the seven points raised in the suspension letter have been addressed and closed, half remain open with some significant work yet to be done.”

This caused chaos for the Railway Touring Company’s nine-day Great Britain VIII charter that began on April 28, and which WCR was contracted to run throughout (see RAIL 774 for more details).

The Office of Rail and Road is continuing its investigations into WCR’s safety management system, with its consultation into possible revocation of the operator’s safety certificate due to be completed on May 15. 

The ORR also still has a criminal investigation under way, with possible corporate and/or personal prosecutions following the serious Signal Passed at Danger (SPAD) at Wootton Bassett on March 7 (RAIL 771).

WCR was unavailable to comment.

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  • Neil Sansom - 08/05/2015 12:32

    Suspension notice has now been revoked as of 12.01pm on Friday 8th May. See Network Rail press release for details:

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  • Bob Goodman - 18/05/2015 21:41

    Rail safety is of great concern to us all. It transpires that West Coast Rail have been cavalier about this important aspect and have allowed their standards to slip. I support the action taken by NR but hope a way around the current impasse might be found-I am booked on the Fellsman on July 1st !!! Bob Goodman; President Lincoln Railway Society

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