May 2011 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter is concerned that Signallers are sometimes using the term 'set back' to instruct Drivers when in fact they mean 'change ends'. This is said to be an issue at Shieldmuir and Dunbarton stations. If a Driver overruns at these stations, and the train needs to reverse, the reporter believes the Signaller's use of the term 'set back' could contribute to an incident.
'Set back' implies the train can in fact be reversed with the
Driver remaining in the front cab. In actual fact, a Driver in this
situation should change ends and walk to the rear cab to carry out
the movement from there. A train reversing without the Driver
changing ends poses more of a safety risk, because the Driver
cannot see in the direction of travel. It is acknowledged by the
reporter that overall responsibility lies with the Driver. However,
consistent voice communications by the Signaller could help prevent
an incident in any future situations.
Could Network Rail:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
Could Network Rail comment on the correct term for Signallers to use in the event of station overruns?
The term 'set back' is the correct term as referred to in the Rule Book (section TW7) where it clearly defines the act of a wrong direction move for a number of circumstances, including overshooting a platform, as being to 'set back'. The Signaller is not giving permission to the Driver, nor instructing them to 'change ends'. The Signaller is permitting the Driver to make a wrong direction move (in this case back into the station platform) and set back. The Driver is trained and competent to understand their responsibilities in these circumstances and to know how to safely carry out the manoeuvre.
Could Network Rail Brief Signallers in the area to use the correct term consistently?
No briefing required as correct terminology is used.
Could Network Rail consider if any wider briefing needs to take place?
It appears that there is no misunderstanding regarding terminology within the Network Rail Signaller community based on this report as correct terminology is being used.