Communication review follows report about trains being sent over a bit of track that had been closed because of a defect.

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© Derek Harper/Wikimedia Commons

Network Rail took a set of points out of use following a track defect. A reporter to CIRAS said that Network Rail hadn’t published an operational notice about the resulting route change, and that trains were being sent over the closed bit of track. The reporter believed this was because signallers were using automatic route setting (ARS). They wanted Network Rail to publish the route change in the operational publications and advise train and freight operators how they were preventing trains from being routed the wrong way.

Network Rail reassured the reporter that it had barred the route, so trains could not pass the signal and go over the defect. They had amended the train plan (which feeds into the ARS) – a few services were missed but checks were introduced to avoid future errors. The new restriction had been published in Network Rail’s Weekly Readiness Statement, but not in the Weekly Operating Notice. Network Rail is reviewing communications about the incident, providing recommendations so that similar instances are communicated more robustly in future. The points have been replaced and Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road investigated the incident.

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