ORR statement following Jacobite Steam Train suspension

Following the announcement yesterday from West Coast Railways[1] that they are suspending the Jacobite steam train, the Office of Road and Rail have released a statement. They say that for a number of years heritage operators have been aware of the need for central door locking or an exemption. In addition, they say that although they are assessing the current exemption application; they are disappointed that WCR chose to sell tickets when it wasn't certain if the exemption would be granted and that WCR have made no contingency plans.

The full ORR statement is below "All heritage operators were told several years ago that in order to operate after 31 March 2023 they either needed to fit central door locking or obtain an exemption from us. West Coast Railway's application for an exemption failed and they made a claim for judicial review.

A temporary exemption was granted in order to maintain the status quo, enabling WCR to operate whilst the litigation reached a conclusion. Despite this, WCR chose to sell tickets when it was far from certain that a new application for an exemption would be granted, either in time for the commencement of services or at all. It submitted an exemption application on 8 March, which we are now assessing.

ORR is disappointed that WCR appears not to have made sensible contingency plans for the benefit of their customers."

ORR Spokesperson



  1. ^ announcement yesterday from West Coast Railways (www.railadvent.co.uk)