August 2011 in Train Operations
A reporter has concerns about how the dispatch procedure for 10 and 12 car trains running through platform 12 at Clapham Junction is being carried out.
Conductors require the assistance of 2 members of Platform Staff to dispatch 10 and 12 car trains safely from platform 12 because the platform is curved. Each member of Platform Staff should be at different ends of the platform. However, the reporter states that usually only one member of Platform Staff provides assistance and when there are two, both tend to be situated at the north end of the platform.
Also, the dispatch baton is being raised by Platform Staff to indicate that station checks have been completed, even though passengers are still boarding. This could potentially lead to passengers being trapped between closing doors.
The current method of dispatch used on platform 12 means that Conductors are unable to rely on Platform Staff to ensure that it is safe for the train to depart. They are concerned that this has become the normal practice of dispatching trains, even though it is unsafe.
Other stations have had yellow markers painted on the platform to indicate where staff should stand when dispatching long formation trains. This could be employed at Clapham Junction, with a yellow marker on the north end and another on the south end of platform 12. When 12 car trains are due, the whole train would then be visible to all those involved in the dispatch procedure.
Could South West Trains:
Response from South West Trains
Stagecoach South Western Trains (SSWT) would like to thank the reporter for raising the issue of train dispatch at Clapham Station platform 12.
SSWT is aware of the problem and has already conducted a review which has identified that change is needed to the train dispatch process. Yellow diamonds have been painted on the platform to assist in the correct positioning of Dispatchers. From 1 October 2011 Dispatchers have been briefed on the revised arrangements and information posters provided. According to the new process, the Lead Train Dispatcher will wear an orange high visibility vest to identify them to Train Crews.
SSWT has arrangements in place to monitor train dispatch and additional monitoring of the trial arrangements will be undertaken to see how effective the revised arrangements are. SSWT have asked that CIRAS advise that it is a trial and things may change following a review of the process.