GMR out of puff until training is on track

GLENREAGH Mountain Railway's steam train will not be steaming these holidays.

The heritage railway group has been off the rails for almost a year, since its accreditation to operate public rides expired on January 31, 2008.

GMR secretary Peter Dickson-Smith said there were a variety of reasons why the railway had not yet achieved re-accreditation.

He said although they had had a group working on compliance since 2007, they had not been aware at the time of all the conditions and restrictions imposed by the new 2008 Rail Safety Act.

A meeting was held in Coffs Harbour yesterday between directors of GMR and members of the NSW Department of Transport's Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator, to try to clarify the situation.

Mr Dickson-Smith said other heritage railway groups were able to continue operating under the old regulations because their accreditation had not yet expired, when they too would have to meet the standards of the new Act.

GMR's new Board has also agreed on a draft Memorandum of Understanding with accredited training organisation MAP Training for educating rail track workers including GMR volunteers on the GMR facilities at Glenreagh West and Lowanna.

This is expected to enhance the group's accreditation prospects as well as helping to ensure the heritage railway's future.

The GMR held its annual general meeting on December 6.

The 2009 Board of Management is: president Andrew Lee; vice-presidents Kevin Anderson and David Page; treasurer Helen Bamford; secretary Peter Dickson-Smith; directors John Kramer, Ron Wells, Ron Paul, Trevor Kelly, Dennis Clack, Terry Boatswain and Christopher Frost.

A new accreditation team was also elected at the December AGM, now called the Rail Safety Committee, with new president Andrew Lee as rail safety manager. Other members include Ron Paul, Dennis Clark, Christopher Frost and David Page.

Mr Dickson-Smith said one of the problems in the past with an off-board accreditation sub-committee had been communication and this year would see 'a slightly different track.'

GMR facts
  • GMR is based at Glenreagh West and tomorrow's Board meeting will be the first to be held on-site in the new workshop annexe.
  • The railway operates a number of rolling stock including NSW steam loco 1919 and a former Melbourne tram.

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