August 2012 in Freight Operations
A Driver is concerned about the length of time it takes to get through via telephone to Direct Rail Services Control. Drivers contact Control to inform them of train movements, incidents on the line, the punctuality of trains, and any other problems.
The reporter is aware that on several occasions Drivers have been unable to contact Control for up to two hours. The reporter feels that this is unacceptable as Drivers could have a situation that requires help from the emergency services. Not answering the telephone in a timely manner could slow down any response to an incident.
Could Direct Rail Services:
Response from Direct Rail Services
Direct Rail Services (DRS) notes the reporter's concerns. However, the reporter appears to have overlooked the presence of a dedicated emergency line within the Control Centre which ensures instant communication with the Duty Controller in the event of any safety issue requiring their attention. There is also a dedicated mobile phone available to communicate less time sensitive data or to leave a voice message or text to relay information or obtain a reply.
DRS train and maintain the competence of all Train Drivers to comply strictly with the instructions contained within the relevant sections ofRule Book module G1andWMFRS GO/RT3053, section F, this along with the facilities described above ensure our safety and incident response measures are robust. The Control Centre telephone networks include a call stacking system which results in no engaged tone being received even when all telephones are in use. This may result in a perception that Controllers are not answering calls in a timely fashion when in reality all Control Centre personnel are already busy with other calls.
In response to the reporter's specific points:
As a result of the issues raised by the reporter, a comprehensive communication brief has been created which will reinforce to Train Drivers and other relevant staff both the means and requirements to communicate with DRS Control Centre.