State-Funding For Utility Vehicle Of The Wiehl Valley Railway
Written by Detlef Zirpel
So called 'utility vehicles (German: SKL)' are absolutely essential for maintenance works on railway lines. Such a 'working tool' - basically a sort of lorry on rails with load bed and working crane, has been in the Wiehl Valley Railway's employ for the recent 20 years for works on the heritage-protected Wiehl Valley Railway line.
'Skl' of the Wiehl Valley Railway at Wiehl Stn. (August 2008)
Recently the 'Society For The Preservation Of The Wiehl Valley Railway' got an fundimg assurance by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the general insection of their 'SKL'. A new funding programme ('historic transport cultural assets') allows for this funding, which the state government came up with - this year for the first time with a total volume of € 500,000. This funding programme is located at the ministry of homeland, municipal, construction and equalisation affairs.
"The general inspection of an railway vehicle is much more complex than the genaral inspection of an road vehicle", the vice-chairman of the preservation society, Walter Zienow, reported. All safety-relevant components like e.g. brakes, wheels and axles do not just have to undergo a visual inspection, but have also to be disassembled to some extent, measured, replaced where necessary and finally have to undergo a functionality test.
And if then the ravages of time is gnawing away at the bodywork and coachwork, the costs of the works can easily escalate. So the total expenses for the general inspection have been estimated at € 52,000, whereof 70% (almost € 52,000) are assumed by the state. The remaining percentage is provided by the preservation society in the form of personal contribution and self-funding.
"The funding by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia effectively is the birthday present for the 25th anniversary of the society for the preservation of the Wiehl valley ralway", rejoiced chairman Gerhard Mansel. With the help of the restored 'SKL' the required maintenance works on the line can be carried out much more effectively from next year on. So e.g. the trafficability of the upper section of the line up to Waldbröl shall be reconditioned, which has not been possible for years due to the reconstruction of the Denklingen Railway bridge (among other things).