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Railhub Archive
2001-06-28 ATO-001


Train operators committed to improving safety

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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Train operators committed to improving safety

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28 June 2001
source ATOC
type Press release

Commenting on signals passed at danger (SPAD) figures for May, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) Director General, George Muir said:

"Train operators are totally committed to improving safety and driving down the number of SPADs. Operators put safety at the top of their agenda and they have made considerable progress in tackling SPADs and improving safety more generally.

"The latest year on year figures for signals passed at danger (475) are the lowest on record and are half the numbers regularly reported in the early 1990s. This improvement has been achieved thanks to a lot of hard work on the part of train companies and their drivers.

"But we are not complacent. There is still more we can do and we are committed to taking yet further action to tackle this problem.

" Mr Muir added: "SPADs need to be looked at in the proper perspective. Across the rail network, trains pass more than a million signals every day. Of these, on average between one and two will be passed at red. In half of all SPADS the train passes the signal by only a few feet and there is no risk to passengers. The vast majority of the remainder are contained within the safety zone for the signal. Again, the danger is slight. The average driver will make a mistake and pass one red signal in 15 years.

"This is still unacceptable, however, and that is what drives us to find further improvements."


For more information: ATOC press office 020 7904 3010

Rail Industry Safety Fact Sheet

A huge programme of work to improve safety has taken place across the industry since October 1999. Initiatives include:

Train Protection Warning System - on schedule to be fully fitted on the infrastructure by the end of 2002, and train operators are on target to fit to 5,500 passenger cabs by the end of 2003.

Industry-wide programme board set up for ERTMS and project team developing project plan for implementation, and test track at Old Dalby, Leicestershire for trial running of European train protection levels 1 and 2.

Driver training procedures reviewed and information shared to promote best practice. Ten codes of practice on driver recruitment, training and management produced by ATOC and shortly to be written into Railway Group Standards.

All drivers receive both written and oral briefings on details such as location of multi-SPAD signals and adhesion problem areas. Increasing emphasis on the importance of defensive driving.

Issue of new Railway Group Standards including signal positioning & visibility, TPWS requirements, prevention and mitigation of overruns - risk assessment, on-train data recorders, and SPAD management.

SPAD Management Handbook CD Rom - containing visual communication aids, 500 SPADed signals CD, driver briefing tips, best practice, & Anti-SPAD Toolkit - that aims to help industry use range of techniques and information to control SPADs. Extra resources committed to investigating SPADs as well as more formal training for staff involved in root cause investigations.

Train companies' plans to introduce simulators progressing well (Virgin, First Great Western and Thames Trains already have simulators in operation while Connex has placed a substantial order).

Human factors work including human error videos, research on shift work & fatigue, visual & mental acuity, specially monitored drivers, selection criteria for drivers standards managers, driver training & assessment and eye movement studies.

Complex layouts involving signalling around the country reassessed and extra preventative and mitigating measures provided where appropriate.

Train companies have, or are now producing comprehensive route maps developed for track layouts and Railtrack is working on a national standard.

National Safety Task Force established to facilitate and co-ordinate safety matters across the industry.

Nationwide Confidential Safety Reporting System (CIRAS) which now has more than 80,000 safety critical and safety related members from train, infrastructure and maintenance companies who can report safety concerns independently and in confidence.

Use of Drivers' Reminder Appliance on the move prohibited. Further studies have commenced into DRA usage, means of obtaining maximum benefit from existing DRA arrangements, alternative strategies to controlling the incidence of starting against signal SPADs).

ATOC Codes of practice on training of on-train staff in emergency procedures and provision of safety information on trains.

Code of Practice for AWS component life about to be issued.

Development work on a suite of special standards for vehicles including crashworthiness, emergency exit, emergency evacuation.

Research into train evacuation 'modelling' and testing has been initiated.

Train operators, manufacturers and leasing companies commissioned risk assessment into fire and crashworthiness of rolling stock

ATOC/Railway Safety have issued vehicle interior crashworthiness standard for industry consultation. Standard recommends standards for seating, tables, doors, lighting etc. It will apply to new trains and existing trains as these are refurbished.

Ladbroke Grove and HMRI 22 SPAD action plan follow up conducted to drive forward improvements and actions taken in all appropriate cases.

Railway Safety research and development programme into key areas of risk funded to the tune of £75m over five years.

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-06-28 ATO-001


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