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Just seen a Twitter message from London Underground shared on a FB group. Apparently there was a serious near miss at 0250 today near Turnham Green. 

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4 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

On the one hand, that's good.

 

On the other hand I just fear that it will be another reason not to bother...

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

All well and possibly good as a short term thing but simply adding another signature level doesn't actually make anything safer in my experience.  If, as seems to be the case, there is some sort of shortcoming in touch lookout working the whole thing needs to be fully reviewed from the ground up and a new and safer system developed assuming such working cannot be avoided (and I doubt it can be totally avoided).

Edited by The Stationmaster
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On ‎12‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 21:31, TheSignalEngineer said:

 

That probably means more time wasted doing the paperwork and having to rush the work on site to make up the lost time. If having an express train bearing down on you does not make you want to work in a safe manner no number of signatures will.

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31 minutes ago, Trog said:

 

That probably means more time wasted doing the paperwork and having to rush the work on site to make up the lost time. If having an express train bearing down on you does not make you want to work in a safe manner no number of signatures will.

My Grandad used to tell people new to working on track that you've got eyes for many reasons. Most important is survival.  All other things are less important. He had managed to survive the whole of WW1, including over three years on active service in France.

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3 minutes ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

My Grandad used to tell people new to working on track that you've got eyes for many reasons. Most important is survival.  All other things are less important. He had managed to survive the whole of WW1, including over three years on active service in France.

Not just eyes, but ears as well. 

 

Jim

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On ‎12‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 21:31, TheSignalEngineer said:

Heard something interesting in the last few days about this tragic incident that would, perhaps, make any number of additional signatures for "touch lookouts" irrelevant in this particular case. I'll not speculate further on what I heard on here, partly to protect the innocent, and partly to avoid unnecessarily  "setting hares running", but will wait until the formal report, or any interim report, is issued.

 

As a slight aside, does anyone else involved in the rail industry on this forum know if the "vibrating" HV vest (I believe initially tested as an aid/replacement for the "touch lookout" scenario) ever been adopted and rolled out nationally?  Not that I think such a device would have been any benefit in this particular incident (until the full facts are known), just curious that's all. 

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1 hour ago, iands said:

 

As a slight aside, does anyone else involved in the rail industry on this forum know if the "vibrating" HV vest (I believe initially tested as an aid/replacement for the "touch lookout" scenario) ever been adopted and rolled out nationally?  Not that I think such a device would have been any benefit in this particular incident (until the full facts are known), just curious that's all. 

Would this not have the fairly serious drawback of equipment failure giving the same signal to the wearer as "safe"? Or does it work the other way round, being normally vibrating, stopping to give a "danger" indication?

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1 hour ago, iands said:

Heard something interesting in the last few days about this tragic incident that would, perhaps, make any number of additional signatures for "touch lookouts" irrelevant in this particular case. I'll not speculate further on what I heard on here, partly to protect the innocent, and partly to avoid unnecessarily  "setting hares running", but will wait until the formal report, or any interim report, is issued.

 

As a slight aside, does anyone else involved in the rail industry on this forum know if the "vibrating" HV vest (I believe initially tested as an aid/replacement for the "touch lookout" scenario) ever been adopted and rolled out nationally?  Not that I think such a device would have been any benefit in this particular incident (until the full facts are known), just curious that's all. 

 

 

Would a vibrating HV vest be practical, in the case of using packing machines as the vibration from them is quite intense. Also my mobile vibrates, but half the time I don't feel it or hear it even when sitting reading.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Siberian Snooper said:

Would a vibrating HV vest be practical, in the case of using packing machines as the vibration from them is quite intense. Also my mobile vibrates, but half the time I don't feel it or hear it even when sitting reading.

 

Earlier in this topic I suggested ear defenders playing music. When the music stops, danger. Wearer could have a choice of music tracks.

 

A warning sound could be added, but simply having the music stop would fail safe.

 

Martin.

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2 hours ago, Siberian Snooper said:

 

 

Would a vibrating HV vest be practical, in the case of using packing machines as the vibration from them is quite intense. Also my mobile vibrates, but half the time I don't feel it or hear it even when sitting reading.

 

 

 

2 hours ago, PatB said:

Would this not have the fairly serious drawback of equipment failure giving the same signal to the wearer as "safe"? Or does it work the other way round, being normally vibrating, stopping to give a "danger" indication?

Quite. Which was the reason for asking the question really. I presume the "initial testing" (e.g. a trial) may have resulted in unsatisfactory performance, although a more robust vibrator could be provided that could be used and prove effective through multiple layers of clothing (unlike the fairly small and "weedy" vibrators found in most mobile phones). And it possibly didn't meet the "fail safe" criteria sufficiently.

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4 hours ago, martin_wynne said:

 

Earlier in this topic I suggested ear defenders playing music. When the music stops, danger. Wearer could have a choice of music tracks.

 

A warning sound could be added, but simply having the music stop would fail safe.

 

Martin.

 

 

Make it some sort of rhythmic rock music, and give the ganger a control so he can speed the music up when he needs the gang to work faster. This idea has possibilities.

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Posted (edited)
On 11/07/2019 at 19:01, jim.snowdon said:

Indeed not, but that sort of training material, even though the incidents are staged, probably got the point over better than today's training presentations do. Apart from the strap men who get it wrong, how many people have, for example, seen what at 750V DC short circuit looks like, or have ever seen a short circuiting bar used on the real railway?

 

Jim

Probably changed a lot since I last saw one on the Bury line,  with 504’s, but they had a thick wooden stick, with a metal shoe that was flat on one side, curved then flat on the other.

 

To use it, position it, so as put the flat base on the normal rail head, and the flat top under the 3rd rail and lean it back wards the railhead. The leverage of the two flat sides, one above and one below was sufficient to hold it in place.

 

no lights or gizmos to see if it were live or dead.

Edited by adb968008

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On ‎11‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 19:01, jim.snowdon said:

.......... how many people have, for example, seen what at 750V DC short circuit looks like, or have ever seen a short circuiting bar used on the real railway?

 

Jim

 

I have not seen a DC short, but the result of one with a 12" diameter bite melted out of the bottom of the running rail just leaving the top third of the head, and the way the surface of the concrete sleeper under it had melted and turned to glass was quite thought provoking.

 

I however did once see the effect of routing an AC loco from a live to an isolated and earthed line, it was at night and made quite an impressive firework display. it was rather worrying at the time as we were just walking down to investigate a report of a trespasser and were somewhat worried about what we would find.  

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2 hours ago, Trog said:

 

 

Make it some sort of rhythmic rock music, and give the ganger a control so he can speed the music up when he needs the gang to work faster. This idea has possibilities.

I remember my dad telling the story of a guy who worked in the fitting shop, fitting keys to keyways.

The fitting shop was part of the machine shop, where everything was driven by overhead shafts and belts.  The belts were made up to length with metal belt joiners which clicked every time they went over the pulleys. The fitter would quite happily file away at the keys in time with the clicks of the joiner. If for some reason the pulleys slowed down, his filing slowed or stopped too. When the pulleys started again, he started filing too.

 

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4 hours ago, Trog said:

 

I have not seen a DC short, but the result of one with a 12" diameter bite melted out of the bottom of the running rail just leaving the top third of the head, and the way the surface of the concrete sleeper under it had melted and turned to glass was quite thought provoking.

 

I however did once see the effect of routing an AC loco from a live to an isolated and earthed line, it was at night and made quite an impressive firework display. it was rather worrying at the time as we were just walking down to investigate a report of a trespasser and were somewhat worried about what we would find.  

 

When it gets down to it think of the damage a fast-moving train can do if it hits something - and that the energy for that is coming from that third rail (although I appreciate the difference between thinking about it and seeing it).

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Thanks. There's clearly more to come out of this yet, but now is not the time for speculation.

 

Jim 

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14 minutes ago, jim.snowdon said:

Thanks. There's clearly more to come out of this yet, but now is not the time for speculation.

 

Jim 

A very sad accident and as you say more will probably come out but none of us should speculate on anything about it. Let's wait for the professionals to find out what really happened. 

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Without speculating about the tragic incident, it does seem surprising to me that workers were "loosening and tightening large nuts" on pointwork while traffic was running over it at 73mph?

 

How much maintenance activity is allowed on live track before a speed restriction is required?

 

Martin.

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On 18/07/2019 at 11:41, iands said:

Heard something interesting in the last few days about this tragic incident that would, perhaps, make any number of additional signatures for "touch lookouts" irrelevant in this particular case. I'll not speculate further on what I heard on here, partly to protect the innocent, and partly to avoid unnecessarily  "setting hares running", but will wait until the formal report, or any interim report, is issued.

 

I have also heard rumours which suggest focusing on lookouts (touch or otherwise) is irrelevant to the Welsh tragedy.

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Posted (edited)

 

2 hours ago, martin_wynne said:

Without speculating about the tragic incident, it does seem surprising to me that workers were "loosening and tightening large nuts" on pointwork while traffic was running over it at 73mph?

 

How much maintenance activity is allowed on live track before a speed restriction is required?

 

Martin.

 

Providing the work does not affect the 'safety of the line'* then work can be carried out at full line speed - be it 5mph or 125mph.

 

*(the tightening of loose fishplate bolts, tightening down chair screws or lifting and packing - all of which involve the use of noisy powered tools do NOT usually count as 'safety of the line issues)

 

Staff safety when working with lookouts is a function of TIME as well as the maximum line speed.

 

Also while a temporary speed restriction may well be applied due to an infrastructure defect (to protect passenger safety).....

 

.....You must  NEVER USE ANYTHING LESS THAN WHAT IS PUBLISHED IN THE SECTIONAL APPENDIX** - i.e. any temporary  speed restrictions must be ignored and nor can one be applied for the purposes of staff protection.

 

You keep staff safe when working with lookouts by making sure they are clear of the line and standing in a place of safety for 10 seconds before a train passes. This does NOT include the time taken to reach said place of safety - so that means the MINIMUM time which you must use is 15 seconds.

 

If the linespeed is 125mph and you require 5 seconds to get clear, plus the extra 10 seconds actually being in a place of safety then your lookout MUST have an UNINTERPRETED view of approaching trains when they are 900 meters / 920 yards at a minimum. If the lookout cannot see this far then work MUST NOT START UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!

 

If the linespeed is stated as 5mph then the lookout now only needs to 40 meters / 40 yards of uninterpreted viewing

 

Additional chunks of time MUST be factored in if / for:-

 

(i) Each distant lookout that is used to 'extend the visibility available to the site lookout

(ii) The work is being undertaken by a line individual (i.e. they are 'lookout' for themselves)

(iii) The lookout(s) is / are looking both ways

(iv) Extra time is required to stop work before getting clear (e.g. lowering the jacks used during lifting and packing repairs)

 

So, now lets add 2 x 5 seconds for (i), another 5 seconds for (iii) and another 10 seconds for (iv), to our basic 15 seconds, that brings the required MINIMUM time between a train being sighted and it passing you up to 40 seconds. Yes at 125mph you MUST be able to see a train when it is a whopping 2300meters / 1mile 700 yards in both directions! (This can be made up of say 1300 visible to the site lookout and an extra 1000m visible to each distant lookout - though I would actually prefer to make that 1100m to feel comfortable).

 

These calculations are recorded in the 'Safe System of Work Pack / 'Incident Response book as seen in the pictures below.

 

The MAXIMUM amount of time which can be accrued after ALL things have been considered is 45 seconds IN TOTAL. No 'ifs' - no 'buts', should the calculated time exceed 45 seconds then the activity MUST NOT TAKE PLACE WHILE TRAINS ARE RUNNING.

 

** The only sort of 'speed restriction staff are allowed to consider when working with lookout protection is in situations where trains are stopped at a red signal before the worksite and trains are verbally authorised by the signaller to proceed through the section at caution (which must be at no more than 20mph). This is useful where the fault may be inside a tunnel or on a viaduct from which staff are usually bared during normal running due to the relative lack of places of safety in / on such structures. However due to the disruption this causes, we are talking 'job stopping failures here - AND staff must not only get a direct assurance from the signaller that said 'cautioning is in place , but most importantly an assurance it will continue (even if the fault is fixed) until the signaller is specifically advised all response staff are clear.

 

 

IMG_9943.JPG

 

IMG_9942.JPG.68f7a2618331529041e7e9662ecef1f4.JPG

Edited by phil-b259
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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

Line speed here is 90mph IIRC and the train would have been accelerating as hard as possible from the Port Talbot stop before reaching the bottom of Stormy Down bank about a mile past this spot.  The track is straight and visibility not apparently a problem but heat shimmer may have been a factor.

 

If the 'large nuts' were on the diverging part of the pointwork, there would be no need to restrict the speed of a train running on the up main, the non-diverging part of the pointwork, as it doesn't run over that part of the turnout and the looseness or otherwise of the nuts is irrelevant.  The work was presumably notified to the driver in the weekly engineering notices if they are still being produced (I'm out of touch with the modern railway), and the correct procedures seem to have been followed by everyone involved, along with wearing the correct clothing and safety equipment and using the tools correctly; these were men doing their normal job in the normal way, apparently.

 

The obvious explanation is that they were engrossed in their work and simply did not notice the approaching train until it was much too late, despite the driver's attempt to brake, his sounding the horn, and the efforts of their workmates.  The investigation needs to be about why this situation arose and what can be done to prevent a recurrence.  It is not difficult to become so engrossed in what you are doing that your awareness of the immediate environment is impaired; we all do it all the time, but not on railways carrying fast traffic.  

 

Please note what has been said above in various posts - in that the effectiveness of lookouts is rumoured to be totally irrelevant to circumstances of the Welsh case

 

AND

 

There have been LOTS of incidents where (for a variety of reasons) staff have believed they were under the protection of a line blockage, when in fact they weren't!

 

Note that if you are working in a line blockage situation, you DO NOT HAVE LOOKOUTS - you have one or more 'Site Warden's' whose SOLE focus is in stopping staff from straying away from the safe area / blocked line and becoming foul of open ones (no closer than 2m /6ft 6" from the open line). Site Wardens are NOT there to look out and give warning in case of approaching trains - the whole point of taking a line blockage is there won't be any......

Edited by phil-b259
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2 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Admin - removed

There is more to this incident than we have yet been told, and it is not for us to speculate as to what happened. The RAIB are not in the habit of leaving stones unturned, nor are that part of the ORR that we would traditionally have known as HMRI, who are the Safety Authority and will be doing any prosecuting that may be required, if such is necessary.

 

What Phil-B has said is a quote from the published rules that govern working on the line, and as such is not open to argument. Anything else that is trying to work out what happened is speculation.

 

Jim

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49 minutes ago, jim.snowdon said:

What Phil-B has said is a quote from the published rules that govern working on the line, and as such is not open to argument.

 

Hopefully not copied and pasted? Otherwise whoever wrote "uninterpreted" several times instead of "uninterrupted" is in the wrong job.

 

Martin.

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