Full Independent Track Survey to raise standards on the West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway is delighted to announce that it has commissioned a full independent track survey of the complete line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, to be carried out by a fully qualified heritage railway civil engineer
Jonathan Jones-Pratt, the WSR PLC Chairman commented “This is to ensure that a proper audit and independent evaluation is made of the work currently being carried out on our track infrastructure, so as to provide absolute assurance and transparency for those people who kindly support us with donations. The survey will also enable us to clarify all of the core assets involved along the track in a greater level of detail than we have today”.
The evaluation will be carried out using a traffic light system to identify which of the assets require most immediate attention versus those that can be maintained over a longer term basis. It will also help ensure we are maintaining the West Somerset Railway to fully meet the requirements of the government’s light railway order, both now and into the future.
One of the key objectives for the railway has been to restore the previous ‘red route’ status which allows the heavier locomotives, such as Flying Scotsman, to make high profile visits to the line, giving the railway much needed publicity and additional revenues. This survey will enable the board to accurately assess the work needed to restore red status to the line.
Jonathan Jones-Pratt comments “The output from this survey is expected to be a 5-10 year plan that can be delivered by teams of volunteers and a core group of paid staff working together to raise overall standards on the railway. The board will empower these people to ‘get on with the job’ by giving them sensible budgetary guidance and being prepared to listen and react to support the various initiatives arising from this survey”.
This initiative is part of a much wider strategy to raise standards across all areas of the railway; to achieve best practice in all areas of maintenance and repair; and to restore pride in the overall operation of the Railway by bringing in fresh new people who are best qualified to provide the railway with the right level of detail and assessment.