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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 24 - Summer 1975
Railway Preservation Societies such as ours and, in particular, the public operation of railway relics by amateurs is a comparatively new activity. The law is quite explicit as regards the operation of railway services and larger Societies have been operating within the Light Railway Act for some time. In order to satisfy the Department of the Environment and before trains can operate a public service or cross a public right of way, the Act must be satisfied in that all equipment and operations must be passed by an Inspecting Officer of the Department of the Environment. The Department concerned is the Railway Inspectorate whose members are responsible for the inspection of all railways in the UK, and are principally in the public eye dealing with accidents to our main line railways.
Our own Railway Centre does not come within this act, and being a new type of activity, railway preservation societies such as ours who only operate a Depot or short length of line have been in rather a vacuum, although we have always been open to inspection by the local Factory Inspector and Public Health Officials. We have known for some time that the DOE has been anxious to improve this situation but were reluctant to use their Factory Inspectors due to our rather specialised activities. It has now been agreed that the Railway Inspectorate will represent the DOE in inspecting sites such as ours, and this is a very welcome decision from our point of view. These men have very wide experience of railway equipment and operation, and are unlikely to require us to carry out unnecessary works or modify our equipment unreasonably. Societies that have already been visited have found the Inspecting Officer very fair and have learnt a great deal from his visit.
We have already received a letter from the Chief Inspecting Officer and the first visit will take place during mid May. This we understand will be an informal affair at which the Officer will "get to know us", he will meet our various Society Officials and learn of our activities. He will of course ask our methods of working trains and precautions over public safety. Any serious shortcomings will be pointed out to us, but it will principally be a fact finding exercise. The official inspection will take place sometime after, probably during one of our public open days, certainly when we are operating trains. A report will then be issued. If we have any shortcomings we will be given time to put our house in order and again we are led to believe the requests will be reasonable and in everybody's interests to carry out. In many ways a visit by an Inspecting Officer of the Railway Inspectorate is something of an honour and perhaps official recognition of what we are trying to achieve. We are very pleased that the DOE has decided to examine us in this way and look forward to learning from their very experienced Officers.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 28 October 2017