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RAIB investigating an incident on the RH&DR

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Old Today, 15:16
Beeyar Wunby's Avatar
Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is online now  
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Yo Steve.

1) Yes, that report is the one. If I remember correctly, it was a combination of untrained platform staff being involved in handling the token, and the train crew not physically checking the token when they received it (I think it had a leather cover to protect it and they just didn't bother to open it - the devil is in the detail often in train collisions). I appreciate that the second aspect was not involved in the RH&DR incident, but to me the BIG issue is the way that staff who have their own duties to perform are given a Safety Critical task as a 'side issue'. Signallers aren't allowed to sell tickets as an extra duty, and revenue staff should not be made to make life and death decisions as a byline. I'm not coming at this from a poltical or union point of view, but purely from a safety aspect.

2) Stop/Limit boards. Yes they scare the c**p out of me sometimes.

We have a stabling yard on our route, with 2 access lines with several stop boards. Movement into and out of the yard via the access lines required permission from the Signaller for some boards, and the Shunter for others. The boards didn't say who they belonged to - see photo of a similar board below. We only communicated with the Shunter, who was in touch with the Signaller. One day one of our Managers came poking around and declared that he'd just observed 3 SPADs.

(To any readers who may not be aware, a STOP board has the same standing as a signal at danger. Therefore if a train passes a board without authority, it is classed as a SPAD).

When it was investigated, it turns out that the Yard Shunter and the Signaller had developed a method of working between them whereby they'd only call each other if a movement which wasn't booked was to take place. When a train that he was expecting arrived, the Shunter would just wave it past the boards without ever calling the Signaller for permission. This had been going on for years, and it even turns out that there was a misunderstanding into which of them 'owned' the board in several places.

It was such a legal mess, that in the end the Yard Shunter got 'retrained', and new boards got put up which clearly said either 'Stop - Obtain Signaller's permission to proceed' or 'Stop - Obtain Shunter's permission'. Drivers are now required to speak directly to the signaller to pass his boards.

We were mildly dazed when all this came to light, because what had been going on had become become accepted practice - but it has to be said that since the speed throughout the area is 5mph, there was NEVER any danger of a collision.

It was generally agreed throughout the company (even by his superiors) that our manager was just being a bit of a **** for the way he handled it (nothing new there ) but it goes to show how easy it is for irregular operating practices to creep in.

Cheers, BW
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It's later than you think...

Last edited by Beeyar Wunby; Today at 17:37.
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