Voluntary Railway Inspection Scheme

A voluntary scheme to help railways improve safety has been developed by 3 BGLR members (Trago, Peco, Rudyard Lake).  If you are interested please talk to us about it. This scheme has also been taken up by Moors Valley, Exbury Steam Railway and Eastleigh Lakeside Railway


To provide the facility for an external inspection of miniature railways to improve their safety.

 Also to provide for external inspection by an independent competent person(s) when required by the HSE.


Inspections would be carried out from a panel of suitably experienced and qualified persons.

Inspections would not attract a fee but reasonable expenses would be paid.

No warranty would be provided by the person(s) undertaking the inspection. Where the inspector(s) identified an issue outside their area of competence this would be specified and excluded from any report.

There would be no obligation to carry out an inspection and requests could be declined without any reason being given.

A written report will be provided by the inspector(s) setting out their findings and any recommendations.

It will be the railway operator’s sole responsibility to undertake or otherwise the implementation of any recommendations contained in a report.

Criteria for Persons undertaking inspections

A minimum of 15 years active involvement in running railways.  At least 10 of which should be with railways that carried members of the public. Experience should cover more than one miniature railway.

A minimum of 7 years experience of the management of a public miniature railway*

A minimum of 7 years experience of operation and maintenance of a public miniature railway*

Knowledge of railway operation and practise and the ability to produce written reports to an acceptable standard

(* experience may be concurrent)

Pilot exercise

Rudyard, Trago & Peco have started a pilot exercise. This involves using the experience of George Hinchcliffe who is accepted by HSE as an independent competent person and has done inspections  at a number of heritage and miniature railways( NYMR, Ravenglass, Rudyard, Trago etc)

A joint inspection and report required by the HSE was carried out at Trago last year by George & myself.  A joint periodic  inspection was carried out at Rudyard in September  by George and David Nicholson( Trago).  Periodic inspections were carried out at Trago & Peco  in October  . The idea was to hand over from George and use his experiences. He is now 89 and wants to gradually step back. The experience of those taking part has been that this is a very worthwhile exercise.


The experience so far has been that this is very worthwhile but does take time. However its time well spent as the railways are better as a result. To help ourselves we have produced as standard format for a report and are working on a checklist to use when doing the inspection. The standard report format is attached.

The only downside is the time this takes. You can allow 2 days to do an inspection and to write it up. But this should reduce in future years. Of course the report you get on your railway might/will cause you more work. But that’s your choice. In my case it’s caused me to catch up with some things which I knew needed doing. I’ve also picked up some good ideas.

The problem will be those railways who can’t join in on a reciprocal basis as there is not much spare capacity from those involved already. Therefore we have reduced the criteria somewhat for those undertaking the inspections and will review this again later.

There is no doubt that:

1. My railway is safer as a result of David and George’s inspection this year.

 2. Our record keeping will now stand up to external scrutiny.

3. I can sleep a little easier.

I am happy to talk to anyone who wants to know more about this.

Mike Hanson

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway 


To help move this on a set of checklists has been developed and a draft report format. These have been added to the site below for others to use or to let you do a self assessment.

The Documents being used are:

Miniature Railway Voluntary Independent Inspections

Inspection- Sample Inspection Report

Form1- Background Information on the railway (This is best filled out by the railway concerned)

Form2- Inspection Form 2 List of Records Kept

Form3-Track Inspection Record

Form4- Sample Coach Inspection

Form5- Sample Locomotive Inspection

For the above forms the method statement is provided for each form to help guide consistent use. The forms are intended to be checklists as far as possible to make them easy to complete.

If you are interested in joining or setting up your own Inspection team please contact Chris Phillimore (info@littlehamptonrailway.co.uk or 01460 221303) who is now coordinating this activity.