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 past 20 years for work on the heritage-protected Wiehl Valley Railway line.
Recently the 'Society For The Preservation Of The Wiehl Valley Railway' got a fundimg assurance by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the general inspection 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 amount of € 500,000. This funding programme is managed by the Ministry of Homeland, Municipal, Construction and Equality.
"The general inspection of a railway vehicle is much more complex than the genaral inspection of a 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 dismantled to some extent, measured, replaced where necessary and finally have to undergo a functionality test.
And if then the ravages of time are 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 € 74,000, of which 70% (almost € 52,000) will be covered by the state. The remaining percentage will be provided by the preservation society in the form of their own resources and individal contributions..
"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 Railway", 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 operability of the upper section of the line to Waldbröl can be restored, which has not been possible for years due to the reconstruction of the Denklingen Railway bridge (among other things).