January 2011 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter has contacted CIRAS regarding a faulty train describer at Guide Bridge and Ashburys.
A train describer is an essential piece of equipment allowing Signallers to know what train is entering the area. The reporter has noticed that for nearly several months the train describer has not worked. This is felt to increase the chances of wrongly routing incoming trains, adding extra pressure and workload on the Signallers.
The reporter is also concerned about meal and relief breaks not being provided to Signallers on their 12 hour shifts. When relief breaks are taken the reporter notes that there is pressure to rush back to resume work due to the extra workload of not having a working train describer. The reporter states although an assessment of the situation by an ergonomics team was arranged for August 2009, this has still not happened.
Could Network Rail please answer the following:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
The train describer at Guide Bridge is over 20 years old and within the last 12 months it has started to shut down of its own accord. On each occasion a fault team has attended but have not found it in a failed state. On each occasion the fault team and technical support have carried out thorough tests and monitoring and will continue to do so. The consensus from the Signallers is that the problem gets worse during high ambient temperatures. To combat this we have installed a three fan cooling system and we will continue to monitor the situation.
During any failure the signal box has emergency block bells available to describe trains.
In regard to meal breaks during 12 hour shifts, the only rostered turn of duty for 12 hours is on a Sunday and traffic levels are not high enough to warrant meal break relief. We have, at the request of the staff, arranged for an ergonomic assessment to determine if meal relief is required during the hours of 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Saturday. We are currently awaiting this assessment. In the meantime we have put in place measures to provide the Signallers with meal breaks until such time as the ergonomics team can carry out their assessment.