CHANGES have been made at West Somerset Railway - which announced a three-month closure after a safety inspection highlighted a 'significant number' of improvements were needed.

Now, chairman of West Somerset Railway PLC, Jonathan Jones Pratt, has announced a number of significant staff changes with two new appointments in key roles and a significant departure.

WSR PLC head of finance, finance director and company secretary Richard Maw has resigned from all three posts with immediate effect for personal reasons.

READ MORE: West Somerset Railway to close for three months

Joining the WSR team in April 2017 as head of finance, Mr Maw's experience and financial expertise saw him later take on the role to line manage the commercial department.

In the early part of 2018, he was co-opted to the Board to carry out the role of finance director and, later the same year, also became company secretary.

Mr Maw said: “The period from when I first joined the Board has been both interesting and, at times, enjoyable, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

"I offer the chairman, the current and future directors, my best wishes in all their endeavours to get the railway back on track.

"I will continue to look on the WSR favourably and may yet return in due course as a volunteer.”

Mr Jones Pratt added: “Richard Maw has been a true, professional asset to this company, and he will be missed greatly by his colleagues, but I respect his decision to resign and the WSR will move forward of course.

"But, as testament to his commitment before he left the company, Richard played his part in the appointments of two new members of staff which I am delighted to announce.

“Danny Scroggins, known to many already via HOPS (Heritage Operating Processing System) will be joining the WSR soon as our safety and compliance officer and his role will include a full review of our SMS and other safety reviews, and to ensure best practice standards are achieved, as well as ensuring a smooth introduction to the HOPS system on the WSR.

"This role clearly demonstrates the WSR’s commitment to safety and investment, and to build a strong credible team that will deliver high end results.

“And Bob Meanley, well known from his sterling work over the last quarter century at Tyseley loco works, will also be joining the WSR team too as acting chief mechanical engineer.

"His appointment is one of the first steps in our high-level restructuring plan begun recently on the WSR.

"Bob is no stranger to the heritage railway industry, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to us.

"Bob’s wide skill set will offer stability and engineering professionalism that will support the West Somerset Railway on our journey towards best practice during 2019, and which will secure the status of the West Somerset Railway as a premier railway which sets the standards for others to follow."

READ MORE: West Somerset Railway addresses safety inspection issues

At the start of November, it was revealed the railway planned to close for three months, from January 2 to April 1 2019, after a safety inspection highlighted a 'significant number' of issues.

After the inspection, the chairman said: "The board has taken the view the railway should close completely from January 2 until April 1 next year.

"This will mean the spring gala and the proposed ACE event will now not take place.

"There will also be no trains during the spring (February) half terms.

"The board consider this short period of closure as essential, both to give infrastructure teams additional time to undertake maintenance but also to allow paid and volunteer staff to focus on qualifications and effective record keeping.

"It is also clear that from a commercial point of view we need to refocus our operation and business processes. We have already begun discussions on the way forward."