February 2011 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Drivers are being distracted by badly positioned trackside Automatic Warning System (AWS) magnets on the Inverclyde Line.
These magnets are currently activating the onboard train AWS equipment where no signal should actually be received at all, constituting a code 8 failure.
Drivers have said that they do not actually know why these AWS magnets have been positioned in this way. A common experience on this route is for Drivers to hear the bell to proceed in the cab, and then immediately afterwards have to cancel the AWS. This is because these magnets have been placed within only a few feet of each other.
The locations of these new magnets are:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
In response to their three specific clarifications they have requested we would like to take the opportunity to respond as follows.
The trackside magnets are currently being installed as part of ongoing signalling and track improvements to the Line of route. Part of this process is to install various pieces of signalling equipment. This is being done in advance of the signalling commissioning which is due to take place later in 2011. As engineering access to this part of the infrastructure is limited we must install as much of this equipment as possible in advance. This is to maximise the access time given at the signalling commissioning stage.
Specifically looking at the AWS magnets, the magnet has a 'permanent' part that is not powered in any way. This cannot be disconnected and so the AWS magnets are all fitted with a metal shield over them which should prevent the magnetic field of the AWS interfering with the train-borne equipment.
These shields were tested at the time of installation using an AWS strength and polarity meter with all results showing that the shields were working correctly and providing a suitable shielding effect from the magnet.
We have undertaken a cab ride on the 14 January 2011 and can confirm that there were incidences where there was a problem with some of the AWS magnets.