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A safety net when all else fails

50030 Inconsistency in GB station announcements

February 2012 in Network Rail and Suppliers

tagged Station and platform Not Specified

A reporter is concerned about the safety implications of station announcements being made inconsistently across Great Britain.

The reporter states that passengers are often unaware of approaching trains, especially fast trains passing through, which places them at risk if they are standing too close to the platform edge. Station announcements do not appear to conform to any particular standard. 

Some specific examples are given where station announcements are not made for non-stopping trains:

  • Dore and Totley. No announcements are made for trains operated by East Midlands, First TransPennine Express and freight operators. Often there is no prior warning at all, since Drivers do not normally sound their horns when passing through. The line speed here is 70 mph. 
  • Meadowhall. No announcements are made for freight and express trains. The line speed here is 80 mph.
  • Dronfield. No announcements are made for CrossCountry, East Midlands and freight trains which pass through without stopping. The line speed here is 90 mph. However, trains scheduled to stop are normally announced by the train operating companies. 

"Station announcements do not appear to conform to any particular standard."

For non-stopping trains, the issue is said to be nationwide, with some stations providing more comprehensive announcements for passengers than others. At Birmingham New Street, for example, even the passing through of empty rolling stock is announced to passengers. 

The reporter would like to see every station announcing every train passing through and would like to know:

  • Why there is such a large discrepancy between how approaching trains are announced?
  • If aRailway Group Standardexists for the announcement of both stopping and non-stopping trains?
  • Whether any research has been undertaken into the inconsistencies between stations?

Response from RSSB

RSSB are unable to comment as to why there are large discrepancies between how approaching trains are announced. However, we are able to help with the other two questions.

GI/RT7016 'Interface between station platforms, track and trains'sets out measures for the protection of people from the aerodynamic effects of passing trains.Part 9contains requirements for passenger trains passing at speeds greater than 100 mph and freight trains greater than 60 mph. Appendix D gives advice on the factors that should be taken into account in a risk assessment to determine the action required to mitigate the risk from the aerodynamic effects of passing trains, and the mitigation measures that should be considered. One of the risk mitigation measures to be considered are 'announcements warning people of the risk'.

With regards to the question as to whether any research has been undertaken into the inconsistencies between stations, a piece of work is currently in progress in order to develop additional guidance for managing the aerodynamic effects of passing trains.

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