May 2012 in London Underground
The reporter gives a number of examples of lines or stations where there have been issues, in particular the Victoria Line. Lunar white lights were replaced by blue lights but Trans Plant did not find out about this until their staff were due to go on track. This could have resulted in a Signal Passed at Danger (SPAD) and a possible collision between engineering trains.
In addition, no information has been received about the new Distance to Go - Radio (DTG-R) signalling system that has been installed on the line. As a result, the necessary briefings cannot be given to staff informing them of any changes.
When the issue has been raised in the past, London Underground and Tube Lines have been unable to agree on who is responsible for providing this information to Trans Plant.
Could London Underground and Tube Lines:
Response from London Underground
London Underground thanks the reporter for raising their concerns.
The signalling changes on the Victoria Line were briefed and communicated to all staff via theTraffic Circular. Although such communications would be close to the implementation date, they are supplemented with local communications to and from LUL and Trans Plant. This task was undertaken via the LUL Operational Assurance Manager.
The recognised communication channels are as follows; an Operational Safety Plan (OSP) Ref: (ENG TRAIN - NO DTG-R VIC LINE issue 02issued 29/06/201) exists between LUL and Trans Plant to operate a non Distance To Go radio (DTG-R) fitted train on the Victoria Line. This document was written by Tube Lines (in consultation with LUL) and has been communicated to Trans Plant Train Drivers.
The OSP section 4.6.2 specifically states the colour of signals that will be encountered on the line and the action required. Although the OSP covers a blue aspect signal, an engineering Train Driver would only ever encounter a blue aspect in the event there is a track failure ahead of the train, as the OSP only allows one engineering train to operate on the Victoria Line at any time, because of the non-provision of Automatic Train Protection (ATP) to enforce compliance with signal aspects. This eliminates the risk of collision with another train in the event of a signal passed at danger without a direct rule contravention.
The changes that have been made on the Victoria Line were made through the Directors Risk and Assurance Change Control Team (DRACCT) approval in which Tube Lines are represented. These changes were accepted at the DRACCT meeting held on 11 May 2011 (minutes available).
In addition to the higher level communication at the DRACCT agreement meetings, a formal infrastructure letter is sent to Tube Lines Head of Safety, Tube Lines Group Manager and Safety Certificate Manager.
LUL additionally communicate changes through the publication of the weeklyTraffic Circularwhich are supplied to Tube Lines and Trans Plant, who in turn have the responsibility to communicate any changes to their staff by providing copies of theTraffic Circular, which they are required to read as part of their preparation before driving.
In addition, changes should be communicated to Trans Plant Drivers through local briefings and late notice cases. Train Operators should be route/line familiar for any areas they drive a train as part of their Train Operator competence.
Response from Tube Lines
At present engineering trains do not have a compatible DTG-R
train protection system for the Victoria Line and therefore cannot
operate on the Victoria Line under normal traffic condition
To enable engineering trains to operate on the Victoria Line, Trans Plant were approached by London Underground (LUL) to develop an operational safety plan which would safely allow engineering trains to operate in traffic conditions. The operational safety plan was developed in accordance with the requirements of the exemption certificates granted to LUL and Tube Lines (TLL) against the Railway Safety Regulations 1999.
The assessment of risk, methodology and process for developing the operational safety plan was detailed in a case for safety paper and discussed with staff representatives. The case for safety paper and operational safety plan were both reviewed and processed in accordance with TLL and LUL safety validation processes.
During the development of the operational safety plan it was highlighted that there were changes to the lineside signalling system that must be communicated to the Drivers of the engineering trains. To address this issue, LUL Operational Learning offered TLL and Trans Plant training and the use of train driving simulators. As the engineering trains had a different cab to the Victoria Line trains and would not be fitted with a DTG-R train protection system, the use of the train driving simulators was declined.
LUL Operational Learning then offered TLL and Trans Plant training material and the LUL Train Operators Handbook (for Victoria Line asset replacement). This was accepted by Trans Plant and a review of the material was undertaken. After the review it was concluded that the additional information that the Drivers required could be communicated via the operational safety plan and by briefing. There is no risk of collision as the operational safety plan requires that engineering trains are only allowed on to the Victoria Line when all other trains are stabled.
When the engineering trains are fitted with a DTG-R train protection system, a training/competence learning specification will be developed and tailored for the engineering train Drivers. This will be part of the assurance process. The training will give the Drivers an understanding of the DTG-R signalling system.
For changes to operational rules and the safe operation of engineering trains on LUL infrastructure, there are formal processes and standards established between LUL and TLL. Any proposed change will be managed by both organisations assurance and safety validation processes which are embedded in their respective management systems. When information is received by TLL that could have an impact on the safe operation of engineering trains then this information will be cascaded to Trans Plant and managed accordingly.
Short notice changes are communicated by the Traffic Circular and the weekly Engineering Works Safety Arrangements (EWSA) publications.