Progress at Sterns...
Over the weekend commencing 22nd February it became apparent that a significant slip was occurring at the North end of the Sterns area that resulted in an emergency speed restriction being implemented. Further investigations the following week concluded that ground movement was taking place on the top of the old slip and that the movement was ongoing. It was decided in the interests of safety and on the advice from the SVR’s consulting engineer to issue a temporary speed restriction that instructs all trains to stop and proceed with caution at the location.
Some remedial drainage work is planned and close monitoring is taking place. The good news is that over the weekend of the 1st March no further movement was measured. It is hoped that a 5 mph restriction can be imposed soon and it is likely that this will have to remain in force during 2014.
At Bridgnorth a slip has been observed in the main car park above Jewsons yard and this is giving cause for concern. The area has been cordoned off and additional boreholes are being sunk in order to obtain further information on the rate of movement taking place. Once this information has been collated a decision on what corrective action will need to be made.
Both of these problems are almost certainly linked to the exceptional rainfall and flooding that has taken place this Winter and we can hope that we start to get dry weather during the coming Spring months.
Nick Ralls General Manager
February 2014 Roundup
The Holdings Board Meeting was held Tuesday 18th February. It was a full agenda and items below are detailed for interest:
Assistance with Operational Safety:
Last year Andy Barr MBE, Heritage Operations Manager for Transport for London volunteered to assist the Railway in looking at its emergency procedures and operational safety, giving a view to see if anything can be improved. Last night Andy gave an interim report on his assessment of the SVR to date. The review was very positive and encouraging; highlighting many positive aspects of our operation, and also some areas in which we can improve. Andy, during this initial period has written a new Emergency Plan which has been introduced, the Adverse Weather Plan has also been enhanced. Andy will continue to assist the Railway in an advisory capacity offering guidance on the Safety Management System and Rule Book in conjunction with the committees whose responsibility it is to maintain these documents.
Andy will provide updates on his progress via the General Managers monthly report to the Holdings Board.
Heritage Skills Training Academy:
The recruitment process for this year's intake of trainees is just beginning; a group of young people with their parents or guardians have been invited to the Railway to meet with Richard Thurlow, the Academy Coordinator to explain more about the Railway and the trainee/apprenticeship scheme. An interview and selection process will follow this so that we have trainees ready to start on the Railway by August.
Locomotive Agreement Negotiations:
The negotiations on a new maintenance agreement have been progressing with a meeting of all Locomotive Owners having taken place in January 2014. Company representatives were invited for part of the meeting. The meeting was cordial and there was discussion surrounding the draft documents that had been circulated by David Postle, Chairman of the Large Locomotive Owners Group, prior to the meeting. Before further progress can be made, a full assessment of the out of traffic locomotive fleet needs to be completed. This is currently underway with the locomotives being assessed by both Ian Walker and a representative of the Owner of the relevant locomotive.
The long cherished ambition to build a diesel maintenance facility took a further step forward last night. Planning permission having been gained last year a funding package has been accepted by the Holdings Directors to build the depot will commence this Autumn with the construction of the concrete slab followed by the construction of the depot building in 2015. Primarily a maintenance facility the depot will incorporate a road for diesel storage which can be extended to a further phase of development being funded at a future date.
The depot situated close to the Carriage shed will provide pit and jacking facilities and allow maintenance and repair of the heritage fleet of diesels to take place throughout the year.
Please look to This site for further information on this exciting project.
There have been two recent incidents concerning the Safety Committee. During the recent high winds a loose slate was blown from the Bewdley MPD signing on point, knocking a member of MPD staff off their feet. The roof has been assessed and will be repaired. All staff are requested to check roof structures for signs of slate movement and if there are causes for concern to inform Chris Bond, Infrastructure Manager.
Locomotive 7812 Erlestoke Manor was subject to a low water incident whilst under test in Bridgnorth MPD yard. The incident is under investigation by Ian Walker, MPD Works Manager in conjunction with Roger Norfolk, Locomotive Crew Manager and the Office of Rail Regulation have been informed.
Clare Gibbard is working on maximising publicity for the Heritage Skills Training Academy which is garnering good press coverage and finalising the publicity for the Spring Gala.
Other work includes finalising bookings and plans for the Family Fun Weekend involving Peppa Pig and highlighting the Railway as an ‘all weather’ attraction in light of the atrocious weather seen across the country in recent weeks.
Phil Brown, Operations Manager has been investigating an incident at Orchard Crossing where a delivery man drove on to the track after incorrectly following his sat nav directions.
The dissemination of the rule book and changes will be implemented this April.
The repair work on Sir Keith Park continues and the report in to the reasons for the incident occurring is continuing. The engine is expected back in April.
Carriage & Wagon:
Wheel flats on carriages have been a problem for the department and cost significant sums to repair as the whole carriage, in this case MK1 TSO 4550, has to be transported to Bristol by low loader for tyre turning.
In the paintshop LNER buffet 643 is being repaired and re-varnished.
At Bewdley LNER Pigeon Van 70759, has had its roof replaced and the volunteer group are now concentrating on the completion of the interior fit out.
GWR Carriage 1146 is now awaiting its turn in the Bewdley workshop.
John Phillips is undertaking preliminary work on the rewiring of signalling circuits at Bewdley South.
Work on the renovation of Kidderminster Offices is continuing apace, the current date for the office going live is the 7th April.
A visit from a Network Rail Test train to the SVR means that we have comprehensive survey data of our track condition along the whole line.
Work to build the storage sheds in Kidderminster yard will commence shortly.
All of the Permanent Way Gangs have put in a massive effort to clearing vegetation alongside the line this Winter, thank you.
The Staffing Committee in conjunction with the Safety Committee and Company Doctors have reviewed the over 70’s Operational Policy. The review has not seen drastic change but does provide a clearer definition of the policy. This is now with the Guarantee Company for ratification.