May 2012 in Network Rail and Suppliers
The speed restriction between Eastville and Little Steeping had been in place for a number of weeks and was due to be lifted at 12:00 on 21 December. However, the reporter noted that the TSR boards and Automatic Warning System (AWS) magnets were removed two days early from both the Up and Down lines near Bellwater signal box.
When this was raised with the Signaller it was suggested the boards had been removed in error and that the TSR was still in place. However, trains were not being stopped in the surrounding area and informed of the missing boards or the speed restriction. Neither the boards nor the magnets were replaced.
According toRule Book module SP, section 7.1'Warning boards, repeating warning boards or speed indicators missing or incorrect'Drivers must report missing boards and arrangements should then be corrected by operations control. The reporter feels that either the TSR boards and AWS magnets should have been replaced or Speed Previously Advised Terminated Early (SPATE) boards erected if the TSR no longer applied.
Could Network Rail:
Could the RSSB:
Response from Network Rail
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
Could Network Rail comment on the incident described above?
The track in question was passed as fit for return to line speed a day earlier than the booked TSR removal date, following activities completed on Monday 19 December on a track renewal site at Bellwater.
Contractor staff on site incorrectly assumed that the TSR removal date correlated with the completion of their work activity and removed the TSR boards in error without the Signaller being informed.
The Signaller reported the missing boards via Network Rail fault control, who raised the issue with the contractor concerned and implemented control measures to manage the risk.
At no time was safety of the line compromised as the track was fit for line speed.
Could Network Rail outline what action should have been taken in this situation?
The TSR boards should have remained in situ until the published removal date, or alternatively Speed Previously Advised Terminated Early (SPATE) boards should have been erected to advise Drivers that the booked speed no longer applied.
The Signaller should have been advised when the TSR arrangements were changed. The Signaller was unaware the boards had been removed.
Could Network Rail take steps to make sure that procedures are followed in future?
The weekly track renewals depot planning meeting agenda has now been modified to include a review of existing TSRs and their removal dates. A copy of the Weekly Operating Notice (WON) is displayed in the site access cabin and circulated in site information pack for all to see. These actions should mitigate the risk of boards being removed early in error in future.
Response from RSSB
The reporter's interpretation ofRule Book module SP Speeds, section 7.1is correct. If the Driver observes that any temporary speed restriction equipment is either missing or defective then this must be reported to the Signaller. The Signaller should then report this to operations control, and also inform all subsequent Drivers that the boards are missing. Operations control should then ensure that the boards and equipment are replaced and if necessary SPATE boards are erected.