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IRSE Minor Railways Section Seminar Report

Bob Barnard has sent us this piece regarding a talk he gave at the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, Minor Railways Section Seminar at Kidderminster two weeks ago:


Raising the Profile of L&B Signalling and Telecoms

The Institution of Railway Signal Engineers is the professional body for railway signalling and telecommunications (S&T) engineers, with around 5000 members worldwide. It has an active Minor Railways Section which provides help, guidance and written standards for S&T staff and volunteers on heritage and small private railways. The Minor Railways Section arranges technical visits to signalling installations and equipment suppliers, as well as a 1-day seminar every two years, attended by 50-60 people, where presentations are given and ideas exchanged.

L&B members have attended the past few seminars, and this year Bob Barnard gave a 20-minute presentation explaining how the L&B is specifying the signalling and telecoms needed for the rebuilt line. 

The event took place on Saturday 20th November 2021 in the Severn Valley Railway’s Museum at Kidderminster.  L&B member and volunteer Rob Prosser also attended the event.

Very little guidance on specifying S&T systems is available to new heritage lines, or to smaller railways planning significant extensions. The case of the L&B’s Phase 2A - a major increase in S&T scope and complexity - gives an opportunity to outline the steps to be followed, and the key decisions to be made.

The presentation was well-received, with many supportive comments made in the following discussion, and also in informal conversations throughout the day. We made some promising new contacts on other railways, including the larger ones like the Bluebell, West Somerset, Severn Valley, etc. The whole heritage railway community is very supportive and willing to help other railways with advice and information wherever possible. Consequently, we received useful (and positive!) comments on our proposals, and several suggestions for different approaches we may want to consider. One interesting proposition was from a university, who need S&T-related topics for students on a Railway Engineering degree course to undertake as final-year projects.   This may give a way for us to help young engineers, and in return gain the benefit of their work.  These ideas will be followed up in the coming weeks.

Bob Barnard L&BR Signalling Group

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