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RAIB Press Release - driver unaware of emergency speed restriction


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16 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

It requires the interaction in the box to cancel the ST from the GSMR unit and then clear and replace the signal, so 3 interactions to the ST message ;)

The boarded ESR requires no interactions and we are much busier with green zone line blocks these days so we don’t need distractions from those. 

 

I’m well aware as I do it regularly and it’s very useful for saving time as drivers call in straight away if they get it ;)

 

We sometimes receive that if they have got it! Also sometimes the driver gets a garbled message so has to call. 
 

I didn’t suggest that caused it but it does mean it cannot be used for all ESR’s, that was the point, it’s not a catch all solution. As I said in the next post the RAIB reports are good for identifying problems and I just expressed hope that the result will address it ;) 

 

Thanks for the clarifications Paul.

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Just now, iands said:

Thanks for the clarifications Paul.

One of those things that’s easy to miss if you don’t do it every day. We use the Broadcasts as much as possible as it is an improvement over calls every time because the message is consistent, you can’t forget something. There are things I prefer to do in person by call to ensure clear understanding too. 

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If I'm honest I've long argued that the Late Notices procedure is pointless in this day and age, and this incident to an extent underlines that - the notices are effectively out of date the moment they are printed , and in reality any TSRs or ESRs will have magnets and boards provided on the ground , or trains will be cautioned until such time as they are in place. I doubt there are many drivers that actually slow down if a restriction advertised in the WONs or late notices isn't actually there when they get to the location concerned and no magnets or boards are in place. 

 

Granted this incident seems to have resulted from a change in the speed , but my take on this would be to question how long the restriction has been in place - there are TSRs on routes I work over that may as well be permanent for the duration they have been imposed - if you're going over that route day in day out then it does become ingrained "there's a 50mph over Collywobble Junction".

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15 hours ago, Edwin_m said:
On 11/11/2020 at 12:49, caradoc said:

Had this particular restriction become a TSR, the later reduction in permitted speed would have made it revert to an ESR and the appropriate additional equipment would then have had to be re-installed, with trains cautioned until this was done.

They had to caution anyway until the boards were changed.  That might be quicker than putting the extra warning lights and magnet out to change it from TSR to ESR, but I suspect most of the time spent is getting someone out on the ground in the first place.  

 

The point I was making was that as this was still an ESR, no additional equipment was required when the higher applicable speed was reduced, just a change to numbers resulting in the first Driver through the area after this was done being misled and causing this incident ! As this was a CRT ESR, presumably at a track renewal site, and therefore to be expected at times of hot weather, the requisite boards and equipment should already have been on site, to minimise the delays when the CRT ESR was actually imposed. However, I know from bitter experience that this is not always the case, even on busy routes. 

 

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10 hours ago, caradoc said:

 

The point I was making was that as this was still an ESR, no additional equipment was required when the higher applicable speed was reduced, just a change to numbers resulting in the first Driver through the area after this was done being misled and causing this incident ! As this was a CRT ESR, presumably at a track renewal site, and therefore to be expected at times of hot weather, the requisite boards and equipment should already have been on site, to minimise the delays when the CRT ESR was actually imposed. However, I know from bitter experience that this is not always the case, even on busy routes. 

 

 

I would not expect cyclic top at a renewals site, as it tends to be a fault created over time by the action of wagon suspensions. 

 

If you have some sort of dip or wet bed, and a lot of the stock has similar suspensions. A wheel set dropping into the original dip, compresses its suspension as it does so, then the wheel comes out of the dip and the suspension decompresses lifting the wagon above slightly. The suspension then drops to its normal position and the wagon follows it down, re-compressing the suspension a bit and applying an impact load to the track. If this happens often enough in the same place a second dip forms, then a third one a bounce further on, then a fourth etc. The danger of this is that the dips and intermediate humps created can interact with a wagon suspension in such a way that each bounce adds to the one before, until the wagon starts jumping off the heads of the rails. should it also move sideways so that it does not land back on the rail a derailment will result.

 

The heat restriction ESR may well be unconnected with the cyclic top, perhaps being caused by a low stress free temperature in the rails, or a lack of shoulder ballast. Repairing the cyclic top in hot weather could however give rise to the heat restriction as the disturbed ballast would have a reduced resistance to the forces generated in the track by the heat.

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Thanks for the clarification Trog. I would still expect that at locations expected to have a CRT ESR imposed in hot weather, ESR equipment should ideally be on site so that the performance impact once the ESR begins is minimised. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is not always the case; I recall one CRT ESR at a track renewals site between Haymarket and the Forth Bridge, which was being monitored with staff on site who duly imposed the ESR once the CRT was reached, requiring all trains to be cautioned until the equipment was in place; But there was nothing there ! Delays mounted up, and when the guys finally arrived with the equipment, access was (of course) difficult, and slow, so we ended up having to cancel trains to get the boards etc out. Shambles was one of the words used that afternoon.....

 

 

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1 hour ago, caradoc said:

Thanks for the clarification Trog. I would still expect that at locations expected to have a CRT ESR imposed in hot weather, ESR equipment should ideally be on site so that the performance impact once the ESR begins is minimised. .........

 

The local PW Section Manager probably does not have the spare staff and equipment needed to do that.

 

I was told of one before I retired who only had enough staff to do his routine patrolling, if they found anything needing a repair, he had to get permission to hire in more staff. As if he took his own staff off their inspections to do it, it screwed up his programme for the week, and changing all the blocks and margins required was a nightmare. As for safety reasons late changes to these blocks was frowned upon. Even if they were mandated for safety reasons to cover safety inspections in the first place.

 

Even twenty years ago I can remember the Relaying Supervisor having to ring up the drawing office and ask if the technical staff would go out and do watchman duty for heat speeds, and I bet that they are even shorter on staff today.

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18 hours ago, Trog said:

The local PW Section Manager probably does not have the spare staff and equipment needed to do that.

 

It did happen sometimes though ! More usually at Track Renewal locations which would involve the Contractor, rather than local PW. I fully agree that providing the equipment at every location would not be possible, but the example I quoted was on a very busy, key route and the ESR was fully anticipated. 

 

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On 11/11/2020 at 12:49, caradoc said:

The time required to convert an ESR to a TSR was a source of mystery and frustration to me too, as a Controller, and no doubt to the PW Staff as well.................

When I was involved in these things about 30-40 years ago the 'official' required time to get a notice in the book was six weeks. IIRC the draft was prepared about 4 weeks out then the proofs were done by the printer. the final version went to press a week before distribution was due. Depending on how well in you were with the Line Manager's Office you could get one in at about ten days before the book was sent out.

When the use of temporary AWS was introduced* I was responsible for the S&T input on our Division. The PWay delivered all TSR proposals to me, one of my staff worked out the braking distance required and any conflict with signal positions and fixed AWS to determine the optimum board position. I then checked his proposal and passed it back. ESRs were put to the front of the queue and usually turned round on the same day if we were both in the office. Converting to a TSR was then down to how fast the PWay could get the LMO to issue an emergency notice to all affected traincrew depots.

 

*Still narked that my staff suggestion for it was turned down after my assistant had a brown trousers 60 through a 20 moment on his way to work one Monday morning two years before Nuneaton.

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On 10/11/2020 at 19:09, Western Aviator said:

Its twenty years since I was on the railway but I always thought that an Emergency Speed Restriction became a Temporary Speed Restriction once enough time had elapsed for it to be published in the next Weekly Operating Notice. This ESR was over six weeks old; is that normal these days? 
From the report: “The 30/125 ESR had been allowed to remain in place for some time without being converted to a Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR)”

 

here’s been an ESR on the Up Fast at Hendon for about 6 months now. ....


 

 

I always enjoy the talk of “digital railway “ and “driverless trains in the next 6 months max....” when the industry - RSSB - DFT et al are perfectly happy for safety critical information to be posted on tiny bits of paper in a random order in a notice case. 
 

I think portable magnets have replaced Dets as mentioned up-thread, but that also gives the situation where you can be cancelling 5/6 random magnets without knowing their meaning. (Wellingborough slow lines I’m looking at you.)

 

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13 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

 

*Still narked that my staff suggestion for it was turned down after my assistant had a brown trousers 60 through a 20 moment on his way to work one Monday morning two years before Nuneaton.

 

He had brown trousers! I was once working lifting and packing with a gang on a Monday morning between the platforms at Wembley Central under the protection of a 20MPH TSR, when a train came through at linespeed. I can still remember looking up from where I was lying on the platform (it is surprisingly easy to jump up onto a platform with a suitable incentive) to see the driver white as a sheet and hanging onto his desk for grim death, as his loco bounced all over the place. Once the train had passed we just dusted ourselves down, jumped back down onto the track and carried on. Did not seem worth reporting the driver, as the fright he had had was such that, we did not think he was likely to be a risk of missing any other speeds for quite a while. Also we used to feel that not reporting drivers was a good idea in the hope that when we f**ked up they would not report us.

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14 hours ago, NorthEndCab said:

 

here’s been an ESR on the Up Fast at Hendon for about 6 months now. ....


 

 

I always enjoy the talk of “digital railway “ and “driverless trains in the next 6 months max....” when the industry - RSSB - DFT et al are perfectly happy for safety critical information to be posted on tiny bits of paper in a random order in a notice case. 
 

I think portable magnets have replaced Dets as mentioned up-thread, but that also gives the situation where you can be cancelling 5/6 random magnets without knowing their meaning. (Wellingborough slow lines I’m looking at you.)

 

Notice case how 19th century. We have company tablets all notices are posted to, although there are those who are not very tech savvy. We don’t even have late notice cases anymore it’s a monitor in our sign on point. That said how many read front to back the weekly notices what ever form they take. 

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12 minutes ago, Andymsa said:

Notice case how 19th century. We have company tablets all notices are posted to, although there are those who are not very tech savvy. We don’t even have late notice cases anymore it’s a monitor in our sign on point. That said how many read front to back the weekly notices what ever form they take. 

 

A few weeks ago we were all given new company ipads at our depot, it's light years ahead of the previous one which, when I handed it over to the techy bloke I said to him ''there are nearly three months worth of late notices on there which I've been unable to open...''. Luckily I was able to rely on my fellow drivers and a switched on guvnor further up the food chain to help me out during that period. No amount of phone calls to the IT department solved the 'locked' issue on that old ipad!

 

The new one is fantastic, it's much easier and quicker to open documents, it holds its charge for much longer the log in page doesn't freeze on me like the previous one did.

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39 minutes ago, Rugd1022 said:

 

A few weeks ago we were all given new company ipads at our depot, it's light years ahead of the previous one which, when I handed it over to the techy bloke I said to him ''there are nearly three months worth of late notices on there which I've been unable to open...''. Luckily I was able to rely on my fellow drivers and a switched on guvnor further up the food chain to help me out during that period. No amount of phone calls to the IT department solved the 'locked' issue on that old ipad!

 

The new one is fantastic, it's much easier and quicker to open documents, it holds its charge for much longer the log in page doesn't freeze on me like the previous one did.


good old IT. Sounds like us they were basically thrown at us a told to get on with it. You lucky thing Ipads

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1 hour ago, Andymsa said:

Notice case how 19th century. We have company tablets all notices are posted to, although there are those who are not very tech savvy. We don’t even have late notice cases anymore it’s a monitor in our sign on point. That said how many read front to back the weekly notices what ever form they take. 


If they gave us IPads then they’d have to rewrite the “electronic devices,” policy to allow us to have the bloody thing switched on after booking on.

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4 hours ago, Trog said:

 

He had brown trousers! I was once working lifting and packing with a gang on a Monday morning between the platforms at Wembley Central under the protection of a 20MPH TSR, when a train came through at linespeed. I can still remember looking up from where I was lying on the platform (it is surprisingly easy to jump up onto a platform with a suitable incentive) to see the driver white as a sheet and hanging onto his desk for grim death, as his loco bounced all over the place. Once the train had passed we just dusted ourselves down, jumped back down onto the track and carried on. Did not seem worth reporting the driver, as the fright he had had was such that, we did not think he was likely to be a risk of missing any other speeds for quite a while. Also we used to feel that not reporting drivers was a good idea in the hope that when we f**ked up they would not report us.

While I appreciate the sentiment of not wanting to "dob someone in", I don't believe safety has ever been improved by not talking about near misses.  There have been so many accidents across every industry, where no-one wanted to tell "Old Fred" that he shouldn't cover up that sensor/prop the fire door open/disconnect the alarm, because although it was an inconvenience it was there to protect him, but he'd been doing the job for 30 years and got away with it.  Except for the day when, distracted at the precise wrong moment, he didn't.

 

The best thing the aviation industry did via the CAA was to introduce a confidential safety reporting line.  The worst thing the railways did was, after privatisation, turn the location of railway accidents into crime scenes; which is a way guaranteed to get no-one to admit to anything.

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24 minutes ago, NorthEndCab said:


If they gave us IPads then they’d have to rewrite the “electronic devices,” policy to allow us to have the bloody thing switched on after booking on.

 

 

Surely the restriction on using electronic devices only applies when in the driving cab. When away from that environment taking a PNB waiting for a train to come in to relieve a colleague, etc using i-pads etc presents no safety risk.

 

On track, people designated as lookouts must switch their mobile phones off - but there is no restriction on using them when not actually undertaking lookout duties.

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1 minute ago, phil-b259 said:

 

 

Surely the restriction on using electronic devices only applies when in the driving cab. When away from that environment taking a PNB waiting for a train to come in to relieve a colleague, etc using i-pads etc presents no safety risk.

 

On track, people designated as lookouts must switch their mobile phones off - but there is no restriction on using them when not actually undertaking lookout duties.

No there is no restriction on using a tablet, I say tablet as there is a restriction on a phone except in an emergency situation if the GSMR failed when needed or no SPT. Most companies now encourage the use of DAS which would be hard to use if the tablet is off. Personally I think DAS is a distraction and takes away the skill of keeping a train to time and how to control a train. 

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1 hour ago, Northmoor said:

The best thing the aviation industry did via the CAA was to introduce a confidential safety reporting line.  The worst thing the railways did was, after privatisation, turn the location of railway accidents into crime scenes; which is a way guaranteed to get no-one to admit to anything.

 

The railway industry also has a confidential reporting system, CIRAS, now expanded to include other transport operators:

https://www.ciras.org.uk

 

And I don't believe it is necessarily the railway's choice to turn accidents into crime scenes; The recent tragedy at Stonehaven being a prime example. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dagworth said:

What is DAS please Andy?

 

Andi

 

My understanding is its a bit of software that is supposed to 'optimise' driving (e.g. backing off the throttle if the train is on time etc) and therefore result in fuel savings, less wear on brake blocks, etc. I think GWR were one of the first TOCs to try it and the finical savings were encouraging.

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2 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

 

Surely the restriction on using electronic devices only applies when in the driving cab. When away from that environment taking a PNB waiting for a train to come in to relieve a colleague, etc using i-pads etc presents no safety risk.

 

On track, people designated as lookouts must switch their mobile phones off - but there is no restriction on using them when not actually undertaking lookout duties.


You might very well think that, but out policy is a bit more draconian. Having your mobile phone switched on while walking up to the station to get your set or walking back from the station to the depot (even if you’re not looking at it) is a disciplinary offence.

 

Once you book on it must be switched off unless on a PNB. 
 

Like a lot of theoretical disciplinary offences on the railway it’s one they seem to keep up their sleeve to hang you with if they’re looking for the opportunity. 

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4 minutes ago, NorthEndCab said:


You might very well think that, but out policy is a bit more draconian. Having your mobile phone switched on while walking up to the station to get your set or walking back from the station to the depot (even if you’re not looking at it) is a disciplinary offence.

 

Once you book on it must be switched off unless on a PNB. 
 

Like a lot of theoretical disciplinary offences on the railway it’s one they seem to keep up their sleeve to hang you with if they’re looking for the opportunity. 

 

Sounds like your company's management need a good kick up the backside - and with two RAIB reports now highlighting the need for real time info to be provided as regards speed restrictions I would have thought your safety reps could make a good case for a more sensible policy to be adopted.

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55 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

My understanding is its a bit of software that is supposed to 'optimise' driving (e.g. backing off the throttle if the train is on time etc) and therefore result in fuel savings, less wear on brake blocks, etc. I think GWR were one of the first TOCs to try it and the finical savings were encouraging.


sorry I have to disagree having actually tried it, any decent train driver can do this keeping a train to time by allowing for route knowledge ect,  If you start to rely on this kind of technology you will undermine the core skill in driving a train. Let me give an actual example, one of our drivers got a please explain why he was 15 minutes late. The reply was DAS told him to do speed X and the system did not take into account of what was actually happening at that time, management reply was common sense should prevail in other words ignore it when needed. DAS is just a tool to save money as you point out and not to run a train to time and get passengers to there destinations on time.

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