Myth: Britain’s unique collection of vintage steam trains could be in danger of being forced into an early retirement due to an EC proposal designed to protect drivers and footmen from hot surfaces, valves and steam. Locomotives will have to be radically redesigned, making them virtually impossible to drive in a traditional way.
(Sunday Times, p.7, 3.7.94 Daily Express, p. 18, 4.7.94 Daily Mail, p.3, 4.7.94)
Response: This is not the case at all. These claims are widely exaggerated. The relevant proposal, which aims to improve the health and safety of workers aboard means of transport, has been substantially revised since the European Parliament and representatives from the European Association of Railway Preservation Societies aired their respective criticisms of the original version last year. The European Commission has since amended this proposal, taking into account nearly all of their recommendations, but without compromising the health and safety of the workers concerned.
In no way will vintage trains have to be redesigned, the end result must simply be that the driver and his colleagues ought to emerge unscathed from their journey.
However the proposal does not apply to volunteers, who account for the great majority of those running the lines. Nor does it mean insulating all parts in the driver’s cab which might cause bums, as was insinuated in newspaper articles, as other means of protection are permitted in the proposal, such as the wearing of gloves, overalls and/or other personal protective equipment.
(*) – COM (93) 421final: revised proposal for a Directive concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for transport activities and workplaces on board means of transport. – COM (92) 234: original proposal.