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The following received dated 6th August 2015 in response to an objection to the transfer of powers to run a railways service along the disused line from Network Rail to CHRL:

"Transport and Works Act 1992

Proposed Cambrian Railway Order

 

I am writing on behalf of Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited in response to your objection dated 16 April 2015 to the proposed Cambrian Railways Transport and Works Act Order (‘the proposed TWAO”).

 

 

 

I understand that you do not wish to have a meeting to discuss your objection but hope this letter will go some way to allaying your reasonable concerns regarding the proposed TWAO.

 

 

 

I should explain in advance that I do not intend to respond to all the points made in your objection, but only those of relevance to the current application. In particular, whilst noting your commentary about CHRL, I do not accept that your comments are reasonable or that the content of your letter is factually accurate. In particular, CHRL refutes any suggestion that there has been collusion between CHRL, Shropshire Council and others for improper purposes or that any of the bodies involved in this application have put political and financial considerations ahead of potential risk to life and damage to the environment.

 

 

 

As explained in the application documents, the freehold of the land was disposed of by Network Rail to Shropshire County Council some years ago, specifically for transport purposes and Shropshire Council leased that land to Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited (“CHRL”) for the purpose of operating a railway. CHRL is now the owner and occupier of the relevant land and the operator of the relevant railway undertaking. Even without the proposed TWAO that is the subject of this application, CHRL remains legally entitled to operate trains over the land within its ownership. The Order will ensure that it also holds powers and burdens relating to the railway undertaking. I stress that it will not authorise the acquisition of land or construction of works.

 

 

 

CHRL is a properly constituted company incorporated in 2009. It is a company limited by guarantee, and a registered charity operating under the scrutiny of the Charity Commission. No concerns have been raised by any key stakeholders such as the ORR, Network Rail, Shropshire Council or Highways England regarding CHRL’s suitability to operate the railway undertaking or to hold the relevant powers.

 

 

 

Whilst it is no secret that CHRL has long term aspirations to operate along the entire length of the branch line, such proposals will require funding and further statutory authorisation at the appropriate time. They are beyond the scope of the transfer Order. Nor is the question of safety at crossings of the public highway within the scope of the Order. Rather, such crossings are protected by legislation with which CHRL is obliged to comply including, in particular, the Level Crossings Act 1983, and are subject to the supervision of the ORR.

 

 

 

With regard to safety generally, railways are required to have a Safety Management System (SMS) for their railway operation, appropriate to the risk involved. CHRL utilise retained safety management consultants Green Dragon Rail on all matters of safety. CHRL is subject to regular visits from representatives of the ORR and has experienced no problems.

 

 

 

 

 

The Order does not authorise the construction of any new works. The draft Order, as submitted with the application, specifically excludes the use of the level crossings at the points where the railway is crossed by the A5 and the A483 trunk roads and CHRL has have recently amended the draft Order so as to make it explicit that any such crossings in the future may not be on the level. We have also specifically excluded the use of the crossings at the A495 and School Lane without the consent in writing of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

 

 

 

I fear, from the tone of your objection letter (and your more recent correspondence regarding my own position with CHRL) that nothing I can say is likely to secure your approval of CHRL’s proposals but I nevertheless hope that the fact that if the ORR and Highways England, being independent bodies with statutory responsibility for safety of the railways and trunk roads respectively, are content for the Order to be made will make it possible for you to consider withdrawing your objection.

 

 

 

I remain keen to answer any remaining questions you may have relating to the application."

 

 

 

 

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A reply sent to Cambrian Heritage Railways in response to their letter above:

 

"Transport and Works Act 1992 - Proposed Cambrian Railway Order

 

 

 

Many thanks for your letter of 6th August 2015.

 

 

 

As you may know I am unwilling to attend an informal meeting with any Executive Members of CHRL regarding this proposal as I prefer to receive written answers rather than run the risk of possible misinterpretation of verbal responses.

 

 

 

I’m sure you are aware that (redacted) has issues regarding your legitimacy to act as a Trustee and Executive Member of the charity and refuses to communicate with you. Therefore, I am writing as an individual (not representing (redacted) in this instance) with the understanding that you are acting as a representative of CHRL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In CHRL’s application for the Order it does state that the company has a proven ability in running a railway service and your most recent letter sets out to reassure me that health and safety risks have all been considered.

 

 

I am perfectly willing to review my own objection to the proposed transfer, but I would kindly request that you send me the following documents in digital format with permission to make them all publicly available:

 

 

ß Full details of the lease provided by Shropshire Council to CHRL in April 2014 including information on all responsibilities (legal and maintenance) for the line, all line structures and land.

 

 

ß A copy of the fully costed business plan submitted to Shropshire Council just prior to the signing of the lease to CHRL in April 2014.

 

 

ß A copy of the document giving CHRL the right to run passenger services via steam and diesel, over the Coney Green Crossing in Oswestry.

 

 

ß A copy of the document allowing CHRL the right to run a passenger service along the line in Llynclys.

 

 

ß Information regarding the rights of way at the two access level crossings off the B5069 (Gobowen Road) in Oswestry, with particular emphasis on any statistical data you may have gathered at the crossing into the Cambrian Medical Centre/Minor Injuries Unit.

 

 

My understanding is that the Office of Rail & Road and Highways England would have a strong interest in public highways, but un-adopted access routes (such as the entrance to the Funhouse, the Antiques Emporium and the Cambrian Medical Centre) and the pedestrian level crossing (Coney Green) – especially located close to a large children’s play area, remain a grey area. I have been unable to get concrete information on this particular aspect of your project from the Office of Road & Rail, Highways England or Shropshire Council. For me the use of level crossings at these locations remains a very serious concern, so if you can clarify the position of CHRL on these points I would be most grateful."

 

 

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Me to the Office of Rail and Road:

"Has the OoR&R sanctioned a level crossing on Thomas Savin Road in Oswestry, between the Cambrian Medical Centre and Gobowen Road? If not, is it minded to do so?"

Their reply to me:

"I do not regard your question to be a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA 2000). The answer to your question is no, and I would refer you to our previous responses regarding level crossings on the Cambrian Railway."

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Me to the Office of Rail & Road on 10th July:

"To make my request clearer to you: This refers to CAMBRIAN HERITAGE RAILWAYS LTD (created in 2009) use of the Coney Green Crossing to operate a passenger diesel and steam service.

HMRI granted "Cambrian Railways Society Limited" of Oswald Road, in Oswestry a Light Railway Order (No. 2142) on 28th July 1995. This gave limited powers to the society including use of the Coney Green Crossing (including maintenance), but also states "No part of the railway shall be used for the conveyance of passengers without the
prior written permission of the Secretary of State."

Therefore, have the limited powers granted to CAMBRIAN RAILWAYS SOCIETY LIMITED in 1995 been, in some way inherited by CAMBRIAN HERITAGE RAILWAYS LIMITED (as created in 2009), and if so, how is it able to operate a passenger service over the Coney Green Crossing, or did the Secretary of State grant CAMBRIAN HERITAGE RAILWAYS LTD (created in 2009) permission to operate a passenger service over the Coney Green Crossing?"

Me to the Office of Rail & Road on 11th August:

"I am writing to request an internal review of Office of Rail and Road's handling of my FOI request 'Can agreements made with HMRI concerning the operation of a heritage railway service be inherited when the original provider is merged with another?'.

The original request was delayed and the organisation has not responded within the 20 day limit. I would like this request for information to be answered in full before 21st August 2015."

Their reply to me:

"The current limited operation by the Cambrian Railways Trust is confined to the length of track as defined in the 1995 Light Railway Order and ORR is satisfied that the Trust has the necessary legal consents and powers to conduct this operation.
 
We understand that you recently submitted a request for an internal review based on the time taken to respond to your enquiry of 13^th June. In our opinion we did respond within the timescale and your question is a follow up. My response above answers all aspects of your enquiry and we will not be carrying out an internal review."

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This from the Department for Transport:

 

"I refer to your request of 20 July 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for information held by the Department for Transport:  “Has the Secretary of State granted permission to any heritage railway operator to convey paying passengers along the old Oswestry branch railway line (between Gobowen and Blodwel), through Oswestry over the Coney Green pedestrian level crossing since 1995?”

 

I am writing to advise you that to the best of our knowledge the information you requested is not held by this Department.    It may assist you to know that permissions of the sort about which you have asked are issued in the name of the Secretary of State by the body currently known as the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), who will presumably keep records of such permissions as they may have granted.   ORR is a separate entity from this Department for Freedom of Information request purposes: if you have not already done so, I suggest you ask your question of them."

 

 

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I requested some information from CHRL as bulleted above via an email dated 10th August 2015 that was unobtainable from Shropshire Council, the Office of Rail and Road and Highways England.

As I have not yet had an answer I forwarded my request via email to all the officials within CHRL yesterday.

This to the Office of Rail & Road:

"Is the ORR aware that Shropshire Council (owner of the disused railway line between Gobowen and Blodwel) will be allowing Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited to construct and operate a new level crossing on the emergency access route to the Cambrian Medical Centre on Thomas Savin Road in Oswestry?"

And their reply:

"In my opinion, the question you ask is not a Freedom of Information request and I am treating your email as a general enquiry. 
 
As we have explained on several occasions , Cambrian Railway applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA) to transfer from Network Rail Infrastructure Limited to Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited of certain statutory provisions and other rights and liabilities relating to the railways comprising the branch line between Gobowen and Blodwel. The ORR responded to this application and has made formal representations opposing the reinstatement
of level crossings along that stretch of the railway line.  All this information is in the public domain.  Details of the TWA application can be found at [1]http://cambrianrailways.com/twao/.
 
With respect to the crossing that has been installed across the railway line in the form of Thomas Savin Road, ORR is currently determining the legality of these works and Inspectors will be visiting Oswestry in the near future to discuss this matter with the Railway and Highway Authority."

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Shropshire Star, Tuesday August 18th has an announcement concerning the route for a cycleway and footpath along side the Cambrian Heritage Railway. Surely this is just what we need and means that "Simple Simon" can now retire in glory!

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@suenick: I wish I could retire! To clarify the position, the cycleway and footpath to which you refer is probably a reference to "The Greenway", planned and costed in 2011 to run between the Coney Green Crossing, alongside the line and up to Sycamore Road via a ramp in Oswestry.

It has nothing to do with me.

Should the project actually happen all the glory should go to Jan Cook (an official working for Shropshire Council who put a substantial document together bidding and winning almost £5 million of central government funding for sustainable transport projects), and Richard Harman who is/was a path engineer for the council.

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On the 18th August 2015 we received a letter from the Department for Transport saying that they had deferred making a decision regarding the transfer of powers from Network Rail to Cambrian Heritage Railways for the use of the Oswestry branch line for a second time. The new deadline is 19th October 2015.

The reason for this second delay is that Cambrian Heritage Railways are in on-going talks with the Office of Rail & Road.

So I sent the following to the Office of Rail & Road:

"With reference to your letter of the 18th August 2015:
 
We acknowledge that you have decided to defer the deadline for a further 2 months until 19th October 2015.
 
We received a letter from Roger Date of CHRL dated 6th August 2015 regarding our own objection to the transfer and offering to speak to us about the issues we raise. I emailed back on the 10th August 2015 requesting a number of documents regarding the operation of their services offering to review my own objection once I had seen and understood the documents giving legitimacy to their operations. I also emailed the entire board of CHRL on the 16th August 2015 with the same request and also sent a hardcopy of my request by Special Delivery to Roger Date on 17th August 2015.
 
So far I have received no reply.

 
In our original objection to the DfT we specified that we should be kept up to date with all developments. Please can you forward to us the precise nature of the talks between the ORR and CHRL, when they took place, between whom they were held, what was the subject?
 
We need to know the precise reasons why there was been this further delay. As objectors we feel an anxiety by being kept in the dark."

And their reply:

"With reference to your request in the penultimate paragraph of your message, we are not able to forward the information you are asking for, as we are not privy to the discussions held between applicants and objectors to schemes and thus we do not have the information. Although we encourage negotiations between the parties as part of the process, there is nothing in the TWA Rules that requires any parties to include the Secretary of State in the nature of their discussions. We are only told in conclusion, whether an agreement has or has not been reached."
 

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Me to the Department for Transport:

This is the second time a decision has been deferred on this proposal. Can you give us some idea of how many times a decision can be deferred, and whether the Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited can re apply for an Order at some later point?

The Department for Transport to me:

"Please note that the deferral does not refer to a decision on the TWA application; it is  merely a matter of allowing further time within which to make a decision on procedure, i.e., whether to hold a public inquiry, hearing or proceed by way of written representations. There is no limit in the TWA Rules as to the number of times that we can defer the period in which to take any step in the process in any particular case.

TWA powers are permissive, rather than obligatory and the decision whether or not to apply for statutory powers in a TWA Order is one for the operator and/or owner to take. There is no legal impediment to re-applying at a later date if the application is withdrawn or the outcome is not considered by the applicants to be satisfactory."

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We have sent an addendum to our original objection to the transfer of powers from Network Rail to Cambrian Heritage Railways for the rights and responsibilities to operate a railway service along the old Oswestry branch line.

The addendum was emailed yesterday, but no acknowledgement has been received from the Department for Transport, so we are unaware if this extra information will be taken into account. If we get notification that it will, then I will start to post a copy of it here in parts.

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A hardcopy received today from the Department for Transport that reads "...I can confirm that we have associated your letter with your previous correspondence on the matter. A copy of your letter will be forwarded to the applicants".

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An extract from a letter by the Office of Rail and Road sent to a third party:

"I can confirm that ORR has an established policy that states there should be no new (or reinstated) level crossings on any railway, including this one, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

ORR carried out a site inspection at Oswestry level crossing on 23rd June 2015 and concluded at that time, that there were no exceptional circumstances that would justify a new (or reinstated) level crossing at that location.

 

ORR advised Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited to take the necessary steps to physically prevent any rail traffic crossing the access road to the medical centre.

Currently ORR is determining the legality of the works on the level crossings, and a further inspection will be carried out in the near future. Additionally we are in consultations with the railway and Highways Authority".

Considering the extract above, here's a quote from the Advertizer dated 11th August 2015:

"Andrew Tullo, a member of the CHR executive and communications officer for the group, said: 'We are working on the track at the moment, but we will need trains to carry sleepers and track down to Whittington Road bridge, so I think we could see non-passenger trains going over the road to the medical centre and in front of the Cambrian Works by the end of the year'."

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Addendum submitted to the Office of Rail and Road, Part 1

 

Since the submission of our original objection earlier this year we have undertaken further research into the current operation of services by Cambrian Heritage Railways and we have identified more areas of concern that we would like to bring to the attention of the Department for Transport.

 

Legality of Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited existing services

In their submission to the Department for Transport for a Transfer of Powers Order, CHRL state that they are   “a well-established organisation with a proven success in operating two sections of restored railway at Oswestry and Llynclys in the County of Shropshire”, thereby making the organisation’s experience a key reason in favour of the transfer.

 

Although a document drafted by Her Majesty’s Rail Inspectorate exists (Oswestry Light Railway Order 1995 No. 2142, attached here) giving the ‘Cambrian Railway Society Limited’ powers to run a limited service over the Coney Green Pedestrian Level Crossing in Oswestry from 29th July 1995, the document explicitly states that “No part of the railway shall be used for the conveyance of passengers without the prior written permission of the Secretary of State”. And yet, for a number of years Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited (as created in 2009) has been operating passenger services over the crossing and even allowing members of the public to operate their engines on the line.

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Part 2

When queried on this point, the Office of Rail and Road were only able to point to the original HMRI document to account for the railway services currently operating in Oswestry and Llynclys. When pressed further for clarification, Mr. Paul Wilkinson of the Office of Rail and Road stated: The current limited operation by the Cambrian Railways Trust is confined to the length of track as defined in the 1995 Light Railway Order and ORR is satisfied that the Trust has the necessary legal consents and powers to conduct this operation.”

 

I asked Shropshire Council if it had made any enquiries regarding the legality of past and on-going train services operated by Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited prior to leasing them the disused railway line from Gobowen to Blodwel in April 2014. Their answer was “We have referred your query to the Head of Estates who has advised that enquiries were not made”.

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Part 3

There are also unanswered questions regarding how an Order drafted by HMRI for the Cambrian Railway Society Limited in 1995 in Oswestry can also be used to run a separate service by a separate organisation, namely the Cambrian Railways Trust, along a stretch of restored line in Llynclys. Further, how can such an Order be in some way inherited by a new organisation, namely the Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited as created in 2009? These questions have all been put to the ORR without a satisfactory response.

 

On 10th August 2015 we requested via email that Roger Date of CHRL should make available any agreements with the Secretary of State that allows CHRL to operate paying passenger services, both at Llynclys and more specifically over the Coney Green Pedestrian Level Crossing in Oswestry. On 17th August 2015 the same request was made via email to the entire board of CHRL. On the same day a hardcopy of the request was sent to the home address of Roger Date of CHRL by Special Delivery. At the time of the submission of this addendum to the Department for Transport no reply had been received. We asked both the Office of Rail & Road and the Department for Transport the same question but neither was able to reply.

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Part 4

Ian Prosser of the ORR, responding to a third party about the services operated by the Cambrian Heritage Trust has stated “The section from Llynclys to Pant was approved by HMRI for one train in steam operation some 10 years ago. The line did not need a Transport and Works Act order since there was no interference with highways or water courses and no crossings. No powers were granted it was an approval under ROTs”.

In a letter of 6th August 2015, Roger Date representing CHRL stated in relation to the safe operation of the railway service that the organisation “is subject to regular visits from representatives of the ORR and has experienced no problems”.

 

After learning of the questionable nature of CHRL’s railway operations in Oswestry we asked why the ORR were engaged in negotiations regarding the disused level crossings along the railway line between Gobowen and Blodwel in the full knowledge that Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited were
operating a regular passenger service across the Coney Green Pedestrian Level Crossing contrary to the agreement of operation made with Secretary of State in 1995?

 

This question remains unanswered.

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Part 5

Unless a document from the Secretary of State authorising CHRL to operate a passenger railway service over the Coney Green Pedestrian Level Crossing in Oswestry is produced, the past and current services are at best illegitimate and at worst illegal. As such, their claim that CHRL is “a well-established organisation with a proven success in operating two sections of restored railway...” MUST be discounted.

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In August I sent an email to a representative of Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited asking for the following information:

I am perfectly willing to review my own objection to the proposed transfer, but I would kindly request that you send me the following documents in digital format with permission to make them all publicly available:

 

ß  Full details of the lease provided by Shropshire Council to CHRL in April 2014 including information on all responsibilities (legal and maintenance) for the line, all line structures and land.

 

ß  A copy of the fully costed business plan submitted to Shropshire Council just prior to the signing of the lease to CHRL in April 2014.

 

ß  A copy of the document giving CHRL the right to run passenger services via steam and diesel, over the Coney Green Crossing in Oswestry.

 

ß  A copy of the document allowing CHRL the right to run a passenger service along the line in Llynclys.

 

ß  Information regarding the rights of way at the two access level crossings off the B5069 (Gobowen Road) in Oswestry, with particular emphasis on any statistical data you may have gathered at the crossing into the Cambrian Medical Centre/Minor Injuries Unit.

 

 

I received the following reply both as an email and in hardcopy dated 4th September 2015:

"Thank you for your email of 10th August and your willingness to review your objection to the proposed order.
 
You will appreciate CHRL is not a public body and therefore under no obligation to disclose information; however they will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.
 
The lease and business plan contain commercially sensitive information, these documents are not relevant to the transfer, which is merely for the transfer of statutory burdens and powers relating to the railway which is already in the ownership of CHRL.
 
The LRO is already in the public domain a copy for your information can be read at –
 
The Llynclys information is outside the scope of the Order, but again is in the public domain at – http://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/9000/cambrian_exemp2005-11.PDF
 
CHRL already have the right to run trains over the private accommodation crossings. This is unaffected by the proposed Order and therefore not relevant to it.
 
I hope the above information will assist you in your judgement of the proposed order."

This is the document that allows a rail service to runs in Llynclys:

The Railway Act 1993

(as amended)

 

Cambrian Railways Trust

Licence Exemption 2005

 

2005 No. 11

 

Made 14 September 2005

Coming into force 20 September 2005

 

The Office of Rail Regulation, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by section 7(3) of the Railways Act 1993 (as amended), after consultation with the Secretary of State in accordance with the said section 7(3), herby grants to Cambrian Railways Trust the following exemption.

 

Citation and commencement

 

1.            (1) This exemption may be cited as the Cambrian Railways Trust Licence Exemption 2005.

 

(2) This exemption shall come into force on 20 September and shall continue in force until revoked in accordance with article 6.

 

Interpretation

 

2.            (1) In this exemption:

 

“the Act” means the Railways Act 1993 (as amended);

 

“the Company” means Cambrian Railways Trust, incorporated in England with company registration number 3752270, whose registered office is at 28 Salop Road, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 2NZ;

 

“the exempt network” means the network consisting of a single line approximately one kilometre in length running from a terminus at Llynclys sidings to a buffer stop just short of Pen-Y-Garreg Lane, Pant, along with sidings at Llynclys Sidings station; and

 

“exempt activities” means those things which the Company may do pursuant to this exemption and in respect of which it is exempt from the requirement to be authorised by licence by virtue of article 3.

 

(2) In this exemption:

 

a)    unless the context otherwise requires, terms and expressions herein shall bear the same meaning as in the Act;

b)    the Interpretation Act 1978 shall apply as it applies to an enactment;

c)    any reference to a numbered article is a reference to the article in this exemption which bears that number, and any reference in an article to a numbered paragraph is a reference to the paragraph bearing that number in that article; and

d)    any reference to a person includes any individual, company, unincorporated association or body of persons (including a partnership, joint venture or consortium) or other entity and its respective successors and assigns.

 

Licence exemption

 

3.            Subject to articles 5 and 6, this exemption is granted to the Company from the requirement to be authorised by licence to be the operator of the railways assets, or the classes or descriptions of assets, specified in article 4.

 

 

Railway assets to which article 3 applies

 

4.            The railway assets to which article 3 applies are;

 

a)    The exempt network;

b)    Any installations associated with any of the track comprised in the exempt network;

c)    Any station which has been or may be constructed by the Company to serve the exempt network

d)    Any light maintenance depot which is connected to the exempt network and is operated by the Company in connection with the operation of trains on the network; and

e)    Any train being used on the exempt network, whether for the purposes of carrying passengers or goods by railway or for any other purpose whatsoever.

 

Condition

 

5.            The Company shall notify the Office of Rail Regulation in writing as soon as possible and, in any event, within 30 days, if an operational connection is made between any network forming part of the exempt network and any other network.

 

Revocation

 

6.            The Office of Rail Regulation may revoke the whole or any part of this exemption:

 

a)    At the same time that it grants to the Company any licence or exemption to operate any other railway asset or assets notwithstanding that such licence or exemption may also apply to one or more of the assets specified in article 4;

b)    If, having received written notification from the Company in accordance with article 5 above, it determines that such revocation is appropriate;

c)    If it suspects on reasonable grounds that the Company has operated any railway asset without having in place a licence or exemption as required by section 6 of the Act;

d)    If the Company has not commenced exempt activities within one year beginning with the day on which this exemption comes into force or if the Company ceases to carry on exempt activities for a continuous period of at least one year;

e)    By agreement in writing between the Office of Rail Regulation and the Company; or

f)     If the Company does not hold valid safety case or valid safety case exemption as required by the Railway (Safety Case) Regulations 2000.

 

14 September 2005

 

Robert M. Plaskill

Signed by authority of the Office of Rail Regulation

 

Explanatory Notice

This notice is not part of the exemption

 

This exemption provided for the grant of exemption from the licensing provisions of the Railways Act 1993 (as amended).

 

Article 3 provides for Cambrian Railway Trust (“the Company”) to be exempt from the requirement to hold a licence to be the operator of the railway assets specified in article 4.

 

This exemption will permit the Company to operate the network consisting of a single line approximately one kilometre in length running from a terminus at Llynclys sidings to a buffer stop just short of Pen-Y-Garreg Lane, Pant, along with sidings at Llynclys Sidings station; any station which has been or may be constructed by the Company to serve the network; any light maintenance depot which is connected to the network and is operated by the Company in connection with the operation of trains on the network; and any train operated on the network, whether for the purpose of carrying passengers or goods by railway or for any purpose whatsoever without need to hold a licence.

 

Article 6 sets out the circumstances in which this exemption may be revoked. The exemption may also be revoked under section 7(6) of the Railways Act 1993 (as amended) if the condition set out in article 5 is not complied with.

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Part 6

Access Routes

It is our understanding that the ORR and Highways England have placed restrictions on CHRL by preventing them using public crossings (over the A5, A483 and now over the A495 and at School Lane) on the level since the draft order was submitted earlier this year. We understand this to mean that other plans will be drafted to negotiate the crossing over the A5 and A483 (with an over and an underpass), with the other two crossings to be left to the discretion of future negotiations with the Secretary of State.

 

This still leaves the pedestrian level crossing at Coney Green as mentioned earlier in this document, and the access routes into the Antiques Emporium/Children’s Funhouse/Express Coffee and car park, and the Cambrian Medical Centre with Minor Injuries Unit. As these latter two are probably classified as access routes or unadopted roads, they may not fall under the responsibility of either the ORR or Highways England.

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Part 7

When we asked the Office of Rail and Road if it was aware that Shropshire Council (owner of the disused railway line between Gobowen and Blodwel) will be allowing Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited to construct and operate a new level crossing on the emergency access route to the Cambrian Medical Centre on Thomas Savin Road in Oswestry, Mr. Paul Wilkinson answered “…ORR is currently determining the legality of these works and Inspectors will be visiting Oswestry in the near future to discuss this matter with the Railway and Highway Authority."  

These crossings are as much a risk to life as others along the route and it is very important to establish who is responsible for health and safety, and ask the question, if the established national policy of the regulator is of “no new (or reinstated) level crossings on the railway – including this one – unless there are exceptional circumstances...”, what organisation with greater experience, expertise and knowledge in this field is happy to allow these crossings to be used?   

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Me to the Department for Transport:

"I've recently had an exchange of emails with a representative of Cambrian Heritage Railways Limited regarding the transfer order.
 
I submitted an objection to the transfer earlier this year and have been keen to communicate with CHRL about their project.
 
As you know, my objection covers a number of points ranging from health and safety to the legality of their past and on-going operations.
 
However, the representative of CHRL whom I have had an exchange of emails with prefers to concentrate on the technicalities of the transfer itself. Can I therefore ask for some clarification from the Department for Transport:
 
I need to know the precise criteria for allowing the transfer or whether there should be some kind of inquiry. By that I mean, what do CHRL have to do to demonstrate they are a suitable organisation to take over the responsibilities of the line. And I also need to know generally what information submitted by any objectors would not be seen as relevant to the consideration of the transfer."

 

The Department for Transport to me:

"With regard to the matters raised in the last paragraph of your e-mail, I would refer you to the Brief Guide issued with the acknowledgement of your letter of objection. There is more comprehensive guidance in A Guide to TWA Procedures 2006 which can be found on the DfT website using this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/4502/procedures-guide.pdf

As to the relevance of the information received from objectors, persons making representations and supporters, I can confirm that all information is considered before proceeding to determination of any application."

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Part 8

When Shropshire Council (owners of the line) were asked what would be given priority at the access to the Cambrian Medical Centre/Minor Injuries Unit (rail or road?), the authority stated Ongoing discussions with third party agencies continue, and the decisions made by these agencies will ultimately define any solution.”

We would like to point out that this is just one aspect of the proposal amongst many others that illustrate a worrying lack of forethought by the parties involved. These should have been identified, considered and solutions arrived at way before the submission for a transfer Order was applied for.

 

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