By Jonathan Webb
LOCOMOTIVE Services Limited has commenced steam crew training on the Severn Valley Railway.
The TOC currently makes great use of drivers from other operators, such as DB Cargo, which are hired in to drive their steam charters, as it has very few steam qualified drivers of its own.
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The training, which involves drivers that are already passed out on diesels, comprises of two round trips from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth using a rake of carriages.
On each trip there are at least three LSL drivers undergoing tuition, hence the use of a larger steam locomotive, such as Bulleid West Country light Pacific No. 34027 Taw Valley, with their bigger cabs.
DB Cargo has also recently stepped up its steam crew training, with management asking for diesel drivers to volunteer for a traction conversion course.
According to a senior DBC steam driver, the company was overwhelmed by the response, with approximately 60 applications received for just nine positions.
However, not all applications came from qualified drivers, with some being received from other grades, such as shunting staff or other jobs that didn’t fit the criteria. This led one driver to joke that he was surprised that there wasn’t an application from the Toton depot lavatory cleaner!
Further LSL steam crew training took place at the SVR on October 15 and 16, with the TOC saying that it expects a full complement of steam crews to be passed out over the next 12 months.
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