Accusations that Telford Steam Railway running more journeys than allowed to be investigated by council

Accusations that a vintage railway is running more journeys than it is allowed are being investigated by Telford & Wrekin Council.

Telford Steam Railway
Telford Steam Railway

The council has launched an investigation into Telford Steam Railway after nearby residents complained that owners of the volunteer-run historic line had failed to comply with trip limits.

Planning permission to change the use of the line to a ‘historic recreational railway’ was granted in 1992, and consent for new track to be laid came three years later. An extension of the operational line and the addition of a new station were given the green light in 2007.

All three instances came with conditions restricting the number of days per year and the times during which steam trains could operate.

Telford Horsehay Steam Trust, the charity that runs the railway, now has three weeks to provide the council with a list of trips undertaken so far this year.

A Telford and Wrekin Council spokesperson said: “We have received complaints from residents that the steam railway is operating outside of its planning consents.

“The length of the track is covered by three permissions, all of which have conditions restricting the number of days per year and the times during which the steam trains can operate.”

The spokesperson said the planning contravention notice was served on Monday, August 12.

It requires the steam railway to provde information detailing the number, dates and times of trains that have operated so far in 2019 within 21 days.

“Once we have received the requested information, we will be able to ascertain what, if any, further action is required,” the spokesperson added.

Telford Steam Railway chairman Paul Hughes said the trust was working with the council to check the planning permissions following allegations of a potential planning breach.

"The main issue is we have numerous planning permissions for different parts of the site that were granted at different times and with different conditions," he said.

"The request for information from Telford & Wrekin Council is to determine that the conditions are being meet in line with the appropriate permissions."

The volunteer-run historic line usually operates on Sundays and Bank Holidays, but in the last few years has also run its hugely popular Polar Express event throughout December.

Standard tickets for Polar Express this year have already nearly sold out.

A residents group, Horsehay & Doseley Residents concerned about Telford Steam Railway, has been set up on Facebook.

It currently has nearly 100 members.

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