CONTROVERSIAL plans to buy a replacement diesel locomotive for the Steam Railway are being reconsidered.
Tynwald last month approved funding of £350,000 for second diesel from Romania.
This was less than half the cost of the original plans to spend £750,000 on designing and building a new engine.
Now the new Minister of Community, Culture and Leisure Graham Cregeen MHK has confirmed his department is considering a late bid submitted by an American manufacturer that could mean a new diesel engine could be supplied at about the same cost of a second hand machine.
He said: ‘Following the media coverage about the potential purchase of a diesel locomotive from Romania, a well established company in the United States submitted a proposal matching the revised specifications.
‘Whilst this proposal was received after the recent Tynwald debate, it potentially offers better value, quicker delivery and much improved long term support for maintenance. It is prudent that we carefully consider all proposals so that we deliver the best possible value and quality for the taxpayer.’
The minister added: ‘The department has not made any final decisions with regards to the supplier of the diesel locomotive and is working with Treasury and will remain within the funds approved by Tynwald, which was for the purchase of a remanufactured locomotive.’
He told the Manx Independent that the purpose-built locomotive using some re-engineered components from other machines may be able to supplied nearly a year ahead of the earliest date that the second-hand diesel could be delivered – and this would mean that savings on operational costs could be made earlier than expected.
Heritage bosses have previously defended plans to spend £400,000 – £350,000 from the Tynwald vote but £50,000 already agreed – on a replacement diesel loco from Eastern Europe – claiming it will pay for itself in 13 years and help make savings of almost £40,000 a year.
Previous minister Tim Crookall said the cheapest alternative option ‘by far’ was to buy a fully-refurbished 30-year-old Romanian-built L45H diesel, which could be delivered in about 18 months’ time.
It would help reduce running costs by eliminating the need to have a spare locomotive in steam.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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