The railway operates under the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006, known for short as ROGS. These regulations apply to heritage railways as well as mainline railways, and implement the European Railway Safety Directive. Under the regulations, non-mainline operators are responsible for ensuring that they have procedures in place to introduce new or altered vehicles or infrastructure safely.
From the outset of the project, advice was sought from the railway’s safety advisors, Green Dragon Rail, about how the regulations applied to the new steam locomotive project. It was agreed in discussions that the locomotive did not constitute a ‘new or novel’ vehicle since the railway already operates steam locomotives with similar characteristics. Therefore, upon the advice of Green Dragon Rail, in March 2016 Ron Whalley was appointed as a Suitably Qualified and Experienced Person to act as a reviewer of the processes used and to provide guidance where appropriate. Green Dragon Rail produced a framework for a technical file which would be completed as the project progressed.
The technical file would ultimately describe the as-delivered condition of the locomotive, the key interfaces the locomotive shares with the railway, the work carried out and the testing and maintenance requirements of the locomotive. Meetings were held throughout the course of the project to review the content of the technical file.
An acceptance meeting was held with Ron Whalley, Old Hall Engineering and the Railway Company on 6 March 2018. The meeting confirmed that the test programme had been completed, the technical file adequately recorded the work undertaken and the key interfaces with the railway infrastructure, and that the locomotive could be accepted into service.
The much-anticipated entry into service occurred on the first day of the 2017 daily service, 17 March 2018. Donors to the project were invited to ride behind the locomotive on its inaugural trip. During a brief ceremony around the locomotive on Ravenglass turntable, Preservation Society chairman Sam Dixon observed that the invited guests would be the first passengers to ride behind the locomotive in nearly 90 years. Despite flurries of snow, the locomotive performed admirably, achieving Dalegarth without fuss.