December 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter raises concerns about the level of training provided to Duty Shift Managers (DSMs). In particular, this affects major signalling centres in the South East, such as Victoria, Three Bridges and London Bridge.
DSMs are qualified to the same level as Signallers in rules and
regulations. But the reporter is more concerned about the
'hands-on' element - being able to operate
panels and qualifying with a certificate for specific panels. DSMs have to gain competencies to work each panel. After qualifying, refresher training is provided to
re-familiarise the DSMs with the panel if they haven't operated it in six months. The reporter has been told that DSMs will be trained on all panels, but this has not yet taken place.
Inadequate training could potentially lead to safety-ofthe-line issues occurring. The reporter is aware of DSMs working without the assistance of Signalling Assistant Turns (SATs). SATs are fully experienced Signallers and provide essential support. Sometimes, it is another DSM without as much training or experience who assists. More comprehensive training would enable DSMs to act as a full-time Signaller which is essential for relieving Signallers and operating a panel when required.
Could NR provide comments on the report and address the following:
NR would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention. NR requires its staff to have all the relevant competencies for each task associated with their role; however this will take time and has to be done as efficiently as possible and allow for cover of operational locations / panels at the same time.
At a major signalling location it may take months if not years
to learn all the panels and this is no different whether you are a
Signaller or Station Signalling Manager (SSM). The same process
would apply whether this is initial training
or refresher training. In the case of Victoria and Three Bridges, the training plans are reviewed by the Operations Manager on an annual basis to deliver the maximum training possible within the constraints of the system and this
includes SSM training.