West coast rail ways
Jacobite Letter From Mps Re Wcr

Jacobite - Letter from MPs re WCR

5th April 2024

MPs voice support for our campaign to get the Jacobite back on track. 

Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum have asked Rail Minister, Huw Merriman to help West Coast Railways (WCR) secure a temporary exemption to run our world-famous Jacobite steam train. 

We have operated our much-loved heritage service for more than 30 years. For almost 20 of those years, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has granted us an exemption to operate with hinged-door carriages on the mainline. During this time, no serious injury has been attributable to the lack of central door locking (CDL).

To operate this year’s programme, we applied to the ORR to renew our long-term exemption certificate and requested a temporary exemption to operate from March, while it assessed our longer-term submission. 

As the ORR has not yet granted a temporary exemption, unfortunately we have had no option but to suspend The Jacobite services at the start of the season.

The eight MPs, who represent constituencies in which we operate or have an interest in preserving the UK’s heritage railways, have written a joint letter to the Rail Minister highlighting that:

  • the ORR’s policies allow for exceptions to fitting CDL for heritage carriages. 
  • the ORR should therefore consider our application, designed to meet one of those exceptions, with an open mind.
  • in applying for a temporary exemption while our long-term application is being considered, we are asking no more than to be treated in the same way as other operators who are currently using hinged-door rolling stock on the main line. 
  • if the ORR is allowing them to use hinged-door carriages on the mainline, there can be no safety reason to justify the refusal of the temporary permission for WCR. 
  • The ORR’s approach ‘should not be clouded by the fact that we have not to date made an application to fit CDL.’

You can read the full letter here:  Read Letter

As the ORR has not yet granted a temporary exemption, we have had no option but to suspend The Jacobite services scheduled for the start of the season, disappointing customers and local economies that rely on our services. 

If you would like to help get the Jacobite back on track, you can sign this petition, started by a Mallaig business owner, here or you can contact the ORR via contact.pct@orr.gov.uk

West Coast Railways


Home The Jacobite The Dalesman Scarborough Spa Express Railtours Lune Rivers Trust About FAQs News Gallery 2024 Brochure Contact Us