March 2010 in Train Operations
A reporter has witnessed an event which they suspect contravenes the Rule Book and is seeking clarification. The reporter boarded a train at a station in Shropshire, which was due to travel in a northerly direction. It was discovered that the train had a fault and all passengers were detrained and asked to board a train at another platform. However, the reporter was aware that trains from this platform only travel south. Once all passengers were on board the train carried out a signalled shunt, which involved exiting the station, crossing over on a different line and heading back into the station on a different line so the train could carry on its journey northwards.
The reporter states that they have always been under the impression that no shunts are supposed to take place with passengers on board, no matter what train is involved and what type of shunting manoeuvre it is. Could RSSB clarify whether the manoeuvre described complies with the Rule Book?
There is no prohibition on carrying out shunting movements of loaded passenger vehicles, which can be necessary, for example, when one portion of a locomotive-hauled passenger train is attached to another, although there are at the present time very few cases where this still occurs regularly.
What the reporter probably has in mind is the general signalling regulation 9.2 which deals with the movement of any loaded passenger vehicle over facing points. This is only allowed if:
The only exception to these requirements is when the signaller has made sure himself that the points are fitting correctly (which means he must be able to see the actual points concerned himself), a signal is cleared for the movement, and the driver has been instructed to make the movement at no more than five mph.
Only Network Rail would be able to comment on such details as the provision or otherwise at a particular location of facing point locks, track circuits or signals, or indeed whether a signaller can in practice observe the points concerned. Of course to do so, it would be necessary to identify the station and directions of travel concerned, which may pose some difficulties in regard to preserving anonymity. Unfortunately, it would not be possible to give the reporter any reassurance that what was observed was a correct method of working without the location being identified.