UKIP MEPs voted against amendments put down by Mr Simpson on behalf of the HRA exempting Heritage lines from the new EU Railway Safety Directive. Fortunately, Mr Simpson has secured other cross party support and his amendments were accepted by a large majority.
"By voting against my amendments, UKIP have seriously let down our Heritage railways movement in favour of their own narrow-minded interests", said an angry Mr Simpson. "Thankfully, all other political parties supported what I was doing and I'm very grateful for that support which meant we had a successful outcome."
Without Brian Simpson MEP's amendments, all Heritage Railways would have had to conform to exactly the same safety regulations on staffing, rolling stock maintenance and railway workshop operations as the mainline national railway companies. This would have severely restricted their operational capability and raised operating costs significantly.
"Our Heritage Railway movement does an excellent job in preserving our industrial and railway heritage and by gaining this exemption, we are helping them carry on this important work. It's just a great pity that not all of the UK's MEPs support us", said Mr Simpson.
With the success of the Simpson amendments, all Heritage Railway operations on their own network will be exempt from the EU Directive. Present national regulations will be all that is required, including for heritage operations on the mainline.
"The Heritage Railways would have faced a number of severe problems had my amendments failed. Now despite UKIP's votes, I can say that this is a good outcome for our great movement and I thank all those from other political parties who supported us in this vote", added Mr Simpson.
For more information please call contact Brian Simpson MEP on +44 7768 253 863 or the European Parliamentary Labour Party Secretary General, Giampi Alhadeff on +44 7809 411 696
European Parliamentary Labour Party, European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, 1047 BRUSSELS, Belgium
Notes to Editors
1. On Wednesday 9th July, the plenary session of the European Parliament voted in favour of the Costa report: "Safety on the Community's railways". The first reading was voted in November.
2. Brian Simpson MEP's amendments to the report can be found at: http://www.europarl.ep.ec/sides/getDoc.do?language=EN&reference=A6-2008-0223&type=REPORT
(4a) In order to ensure consistency with existing railway legislation, heritage, museum and tourist railways are exempt from this Directive.
(-1a) The following points shall be added to Article 2(2):
"(ca) heritage rolling stock that runs on national networks providing that it complies with national safety rules and regulations;
(cb) heritage, museum and tourist railways that operate on their own network, including workshops or rolling stock that are owned by or based on such a railway or staff who are based on that railway."