Less call outs to steam locomotive lineside fires at the Severn Valley Railway

Lineside fire at the Severn Valley Railway
Credit: Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has announced that they have been working with the Severn Valley Railway to hopefully see a lot less of each other in the future.

Recently, there has been a big number of emergency calls to the steam railway to deal with lineside fires.

Lineside fires are often caused by ash from steam locomotives igniting dry undergrowth and grass, and the problem was particularly bad during the Summer of 2018.

During the hot spell last year, the railway took the decision to run diesel only to reduce the risk of dire after five separate call outs on a single weekend. However, this obviously caused disappointment to its visitors.

However, staff have now attended a ‘controlled burn’ course with railway volunteers. The hopes now are that the number of lineside fires will now be reduced.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will support the railway volunteers with an off-road firefighting capability.

This is another example of HWFRS working with local businesses to reduce the risk of fire and prevent damage to the surrounding area.

What did the officials say?

Watch Commander Lee Slipanczewski from Bromsgrove Fire Station said:

“The course was run by North Yorkshire Moors Railway and around 20 people attended,”

“The actions that we can now take will reduce the risk to the countryside and surrounding communities, and the impact on the Fire Service, when the steam trains are operating in the summer.

“It will also allow Severn Valley Railway to manage the undergrowth and permit wild flowers to return to areas covered by fern and bracken.”

“Using this method, the group identified the four most at-risk areas and the time of day where fires would be most likely,”

“So now the group of volunteers knows the high risk areas on which to concentrate, when the programme of controlled burning begins between February and April.

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Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.
  • Let’s get this straight shall we, controlled burning has nothing to do with locos setting alight to the undergrowth in hot weather.

    Controlled burning is countryside management, honestly, who writes this rubbish, and then there is the grammar …… !