Boards’ design and position highlighted in a concern about speed restrictions.

Reporter's concern

The reporter to CIRAS said that:

  • Train drivers cannot see repeating boards for temporary and emergency speed restrictions (TSR/ESR) when they are leaving
    a railway station.
  • These boards are commonly positioned on the end of a platform rather than next to the platform starting signal or just ahead of the station as in the rule book.
  • Drivers waiting at a station for a long time might forget the restriction, having passed the warning board. 
  • The boards’ design changed a few years ago to ‘R’ on top, then two reflective dots, with the speed underneath – so that the ‘R’ is visible first. But the reporter has noticed repeating warning boards with the speed on top.

They wanted Network Rail to brief all permanent way staff on the correct design, and on positioning the boards beyond where a train stops to remind drivers of a restriction. They also wanted Network Rail to investigate the position and design of these boards across stations. 

Network Rail's response 

Network Rail said that:

  • It had reviewed all repeater board locations and identified one with the board before the station starting signal. This was deliberate because drivers had said they couldn’t see it past the signal as it was hidden by the signal and the track curve. Most trains stop short of the signal and the board’s current position.
  • The review found no other repeater boards installed before starting signals, but Network Rail briefed staff so that it doesn’t happen.
  • It found that the boards had been installed in the wrong order (‘R’ below the speed) at a couple of sites – and said it would ensure staff erect them correctly, with any installed corrected where needed. Staff will need to supply photo evidence after every installation.
  • All staff who design ESRs were being trained so that ESRs are designed correctly to standard, with initial designs sent to a competent signalling designer to validate them and make changes. 
  • Findings of a separate engineering verification completed before the CIRAS report, about the design and management of ESRs, mirrored the output of the review.

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