August 2007 in Train Operations
A reporter is concerned about the Public Announcement (PA) system at Exmouth at the end of the platform near the booking office interfering with the communications between Signaller and Driver. As Exmouth is at the end of the line, Drivers must receive permission from the Signaller here before returning to Topsham.
The automated PA system can run for up to two minutes with its announcements to passengers at the station. The speaker is immediately next to the phone used by Drivers to contact the Signaller. During such announcements, it is not possible for the Driver to hear what the Signaller is saying properly. There is a danger a crucial bit of safety critical information may not be communicated effectively as a result.
Response from First Great Western
First Great Western (FGW) would like to thank the reporter for raising this concern.
The automatic announcements at Exmouth station take place six minutes before and three minutes before departure of the train, they do not run for more than 40 seconds, most run for 20 to 30 seconds.
Previously, Train Crew have been briefed to contact the Signaller from Exmouth between or after announcements, to help reduce noise interference during this communication. As per theRule Book, if the message is interrupted and hence un-clear, the message should be repeated.
The speaker in question is positioned close to the telephone used by the Train Crew, currently this points toward the telephone user. The Station Manager is now making arrangements for this speaker to be turned away in a different direction. Should this solution not resolve this issue, further consideration will be given to relocating the speaker