May 2012 in Train Operations
As part of an RSSB research project, Drivers have been instructed to isolate the TCA over certain routes. However, this equipment should only be isolated on the sections of the route requested and logged in the defect book onboard the train. The equipment should not be isolated in the depot.
Rule Book module TW5 section 32.1states:
"You must not allow a train to enter service from a maintenance depot if the TCA...is isolated on any vehicle..."
The reporter is not aware of First TransPennine Express being granted a dispensation to this rule though Drivers at York are being instructed to take trains into service with the TCA isolated. The reporter believes that the equipment is being isolated in the depot to avoid Drivers isolating the wrong equipment during the trial.
Could First TransPennine Express:
Response from First TransPennine Express
First TransPennine Express (FTPE) would like to thank the reporter for this report. FTPE are taking part in an industry project relating to Track Circuit Actuators TCAs). The trial involves certain identified services on specific routes. This trial is part of a wider industry TCA project led by the RSSB (project T579). A previous trial involving First Great Western services was successful. It is hoped that at the end of this project, the industry will fully understand the limits of TCA effectiveness, and indeed if such equipment is necessary on modern multiple units.
The FTPE trial has been authorised and approved by the RSSB. The necessary derogation from theRule Bookinstructions for TCA has been granted by the RSSB and as a result of this derogation, the train is allowed to be operated over the trial routes with TCA isolated when authorised. This includes departing certain maintenance depots when requested.
FTPE have issued a series ofTraction Bulletinsto communicate this project with Train Crew. A Driver's briefing booklet has also been issued.
To date, the trial has successfully covered 250,000 miles and, at present, no unit involved has failed to activate a track circuit.
Response from RSSB
A technical non-compliance againstRule Book module TW5, section 32has been granted to First TransPennine by RSSB to allow the entry into service of Class 185 units with all TCAs isolated as part of a trial under controlled conditions at defined locations and on defined routes.
The purpose of the trial is to further support a study to determine the risk associated with running specific classes of trains on risk-assessed routes without any operational TCA. This trial began in 2008 using First Great Western Class 165 and 166 units operating on routes from London Paddington and following successful conclusion of that trial, it has been widened out to encompass other operators and other train classes.
So far, First TransPennine has successfully completed over 100,000 miles of trial operation and it is hoped in the near future that the trial will be further widened to other operators and other routes.