The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which now runs Sellafield and 18 other UK nuclear sites has placed an instant ban on steam charter trains using their Sellafield facilities.
This has led to the cancellation of several fund-raising steam charter trains without notice as the steam locomotive would be serviced and turned on the Sellafield triangle to face the right way for the return journey to Carnforth.
The Nuclear authorities contacted the Carnforth based West Coast Railway Company and told them that with immediate effect, they would not allow their facilities including the turning triangle at Sellafield to be used due to the security situation.
Amongst trains that were cancelled was the sold out September 24 train raising funds to go towards the overhaul of LMS ‘Duchess’ No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland.
The second train to be cancelled should have run on October 29 as a fund-raiser for the Brief Encounter attraction at Carnforth station running to Ravenglass.
These cancellations will have a knock-on effect on the local economy as each train took between 400 and 500 passengers to Ravenglass and other towns on the Cumbrian coast. The narrow gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway will be hit the most because each of these trains took hundreds of passengers to the railway.
Thirty years ago, the nuclear industry welcomed steam charters to Sellafield as a PR stunt to say how safe they were and used ‘Flying Scotsman’ on many of these trains. How times have changed and did we expect terrorism to have such an effect?