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1995-03-30 DoT-003
Department of Transport

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Mawhinney endorses HSC view on future of Automatic Train Protection


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ATP
Department of Transport
signalling



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Department of Transport

Mawhinney endorses HSC view on future of Automatic Train Protection
_______________________________________________________________


date
30 March 1995
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 98


Dr Brian Mawhinney, the Secretary of State for Transport, today
endorsed the view of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) that
automatic train protection (ATP) measures may be justified on parts
of the rail network.

However, he said that he also agreed with the advice of British Rail
and Railtrack, endorsed by the HSC, that the fitment of ATP
throughout the network could not be justified because the costs far
outweigh the benefits. Replying to a Parliamentary Question from Bob
Dunn MP (Dartford), Dr Mawhinney said:

"Serious railway accidents are relatively rare and there has been a
significant improvement in railway safety in recent years. Accidents
involving signals passed at danger (SPADs), overspeeding and buffer
stop collisions, which ATP would prevent, are infrequent and account
for about 3% of fatalities and injuries (excluding trespassers and
suicides). But there is no room for complacency about the need to
pursue cost effective measures to reduce the risk of accidents to the
lowest reasonably practicable level.

"On the basis of advice I have received from the HSC, I have
concluded that applications of ATP, other automatic devices or
measures giving protection against ATP-preventable accidents may be
justified on parts of the network.

"British Rail and Railtrack have advised me that network-wide fitment
of ATP as piloted is not justifiable because the costs far outweigh
the benefits. The HSC has endorsed this view and, furthermore,
considers that there are alternative safety investments which would
be likely to yield greater effectiveness in terms of lives saved, and
better value for money."

Dr Mawhinney stressed that British Rail and Railtrack remain
committed to a co-ordinated programme to reduce the risks associated
with signals passed at danger, overspeeding and buffer stop
collisions. He explained that Railtrack is giving high priority to
the development of appropriate techniques for analysing the costs and
benefits of all safety projects addressing these risks and their
application at individual locations and confirmed that he has asked
the HSC for an overall progress report in July.

In addition he said that the HSC has advised that ATP or Automatic
Train Control (ATC) should be adopted as standard on new high speed
lines including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and that full
consideration should be given to installing ATP within future major
resignalling works, such as modernisation of the West Coast Main
Line.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. ATP is a safety system that ensures that trains cannot pass a
signal at red and keeps a train's speed within the permitted limit.

2. Railtrack announced on 22 March 1995 its intention to develop a
new train control system which uses transmission based in-cab
signalling as part of the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line.
The system will incorporate ATP functions. An automatic train
protection system will be a requirement of the new high speed Channel
Tunnel Rail Link.

3. A copy of the full Parliamentary Question and Answer is attached.



HOUSE OF COMMONS

Mr Bob Dunn (Con - Dartford):

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what advice he has
received from the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and Railtrack on
British Rail's report on Automatic Train Protection (ATP), and if he
will make a statement.

DR BRIAN MAWHINNEY

Serious railway accidents are relatively rare and there has been a
significant improvement in railway safety in recent years. Accidents
involving signals passed at danger, overspeeding and buffer stop
collisions, which ATP would prevent, are infrequent and account for
about 3% of fatalities and injuries (excluding trespassers and
suicides). The trend in the number of serious incidents where
signals have been passed at danger (SPAD) has been downward in the
last five years. But there is no room for complacency about the need
to pursue cost effective measures to reduce the risk of accidents to
the lowest reasonably practicable level.

The British Rail (BR) report on ATP examined the technical
feasibility, costs and benefits of two pilot ATP systems. Copies of
the report were placed in the Library of the House last July. The
HSC and Railtrack have concluded that the report was thorough and
sound. I welcome that conclusion.

On the basis of advice I have received from the HSC, I have concluded
that applications of ATP, other automatic devices or measures giving
protection against ATP-preventable accidents may be justified on
parts of the network. In particular, the HSC has asked the Health
and Safety Executive to explore with Railtrack the options for
tackling ATP- preventable accidents, and the criteria that might be
used for identifying parts of the network where such measures could
yield value for money, with a view to receiving a proposed strategy
from Railtrack by June 1995. In addition and in the longer term, the
HSC has advised me that ATP or Automatic Train Control (ATC) should
be adopted as standard on new high speed lines including the Channel
Tunnel Rail Link, and that full consideration should be given to
installing ATP functions within future major resignalling works, such
as modernisation of the West Coast Main Line.

BR and Railtrack have advised me that network-wide fitment of ATP as
piloted is not justifiable because the costs far outweigh the
benefits. The HSC has endorsed this view and, furthermore, considers
that there are alternative safety investments which would be likely
to yield greater effectiveness in terms of lives saved, and better
value for money. The BR report on ATP has demonstrated the
importance of assessing the costs and benefits of all investment
aimed at improving safety to ensure that funding goes to schemes
which maximise the benefits for rail users. Copies of the HSC's full
advice, which I accept in full, have been placed in the Library of
the House.

British Rail and Railtrack remain committed to a co-ordinated
programme to reduce the risks associated with signals passed at
danger, overspeeding and buffer stop collisions. As part of this
programme, the feasibility of a drivers' reminder device is being
researched which will help prevent drivers stopped at danger signals
from inadvertently starting against these signals when the train is
ready to move, for example at a station. This is one of the more
common type of SPAD leading to serious consequences and such a device
could potentially deliver up to 25% of the benefits of network-wide
ATP. An early trial of this device is proposed.

A further project is examining enhancement of the present Automatic
Warning System (AWS) so that the brakes are applied automatically if
a train approaches a red signal at excessive speed indicating an
impending signal passed at danger or over-speeding incident. A
detailed specification is being drawn up.

Risk analysis is also being applied to track layout and signalling
design, to ensure that safety factors are taken into account
quantitatively in the design of the network. Protective signalling
measures have already been introduced at a number of vulnerable
locations and examination of other vulnerable locations is ongoing.

Railtrack is giving high priority to the development of appropriate
techniques for quantifying the costs and benefits of all these
projects and considering their application at individual locations.

ATP and other devices are not the only way of preventing or
mitigating certain risks. The human factors involved will continue
to be addressed through driver selection, training, motivation and
supervision programmes. This includes close attention to driver
familiarisation when new rolling stock and signalling is introduced,
and a rigorous alcohol and drugs policy.

The Chiltern Line and Great Western pilot ATP installations will
continue in service, and ATP will be extended to the new Heathrow
Express Link in due course. The scope for improvement in the
cost/benefit ratio of ATP will continue to be examined through these
schemes.

I have asked the HSC for an overall progress report in July.


Railhub Archive ::: 1995-03-30 DoT-003





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