March 2010 in Train Operations
A reporter is concerned that train drivers and managers have not received coupling refresher training on the Voyager 220/221 and High Speed Trains (HSTs), or training below the sole bar on HSTs, for over two years.
Staff previously received coupling refresher training so should a train break down or need rescuing, the train driver or manager could attach the emergency coupler to allow the train to be towed. Also, staff have been informed that they only need to know the workings of HSTs above the sole bar. This means that if a train were to break down staff would be very limited in their ability to solve the problem and would have to wait for help to arrive (which could take several hours). The reporter believes that drivers and train managers should have full knowledge of the traction they are working.
The reporter would like to see train drivers and managers receive coupling refresher training for the Voyager 220/221 and HSTs on a regular basis and to be given training below the sole bar on HSTs. Please comment.
Voyager emergency coupler
The manual handling requirements for the Voyager trains changed after the DMSL vehicle in which the emergency coupling was stored was refurbished to accommodate revised catering storage. When the manual handling was reviewed with the drivers‟ health and safety representatives it became apparent that releasing the coupling from its storage cupboard posed manual handling tasks that required specific training and additional staffing levels for assistance. The company reviewed the number of occasions where the coupler had been used, and with records showing that nationally the coupler had not been used over the last four years, the decision was taken that it was not reasonably practicable to maintain competence on this method of emergency recovery using the driver. In the unlikely event that an emergency coupler is required, a TRI can be used to deploy the coupler.
HST emergency coupler
Drivers continue to maintain competence where possible on use of the emergency coupler and should be assisted by another competent person. A competent person would be someone capable of assisting in the manual handling requirements for the component parts of the coupler, should assistance recovery be required due to breakdown. Since HST operation commenced in the new CrossCountry franchise, there has not been occasion to use assistance recovery.
Drivers are competent on all technical aspects of the operation of the train; including items below the sole bar level on the rolling stock, for example isolation of brakes.