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Don Foster, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, speaks for the party nationally on Transport.
 
 

33 Key Rail Safety Measures Not Implemented
Thirty-three rail safety recommendations from key rail accident reports are way behind schedule for implementation, Liberal Democrat analysis can reveal today.

Main ImageDon Foster MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, speaking the day before the Rail Safety Bill is debated in Parliament, said:

"If safety is the rail industry’s number one priority, then why have key recommendations from recent rail accident inquiries not been implemented?

"Some of these recommendations are crucial, and the travelling public must be told why progress has slipped and if safety is being compromised.

"The Government said immediate action would be taken in May last year.

"We are still waiting for the final report on the October 2000 train derailment at Hatfield. And questions remain about last year’s accident at Potters Bar.

"Alistair Darling must set out a clear timetable of how his Department and industry will progress with these recommendations, stating which measures will be dropped, which will be amended, and which will be urgently implemented."

ENDS

Notes to Editors follow..

Notes to Editors

Don Foster MP has sent a letter to Alistair Darling highlighting concerns over progress being made on rail safety recommendations.

· A total of 20 recommendations from Lord Cullen’s Part 1 Report on Ladbroke Grove (from June 2001) are not being implemented to timetable. These include:

Three which should have been met by 20th December 2001, and are one year late:

1. Support of the bereaved and injured

The police service, in co-operation with the emergency services, should use their best endeavours to ensure that common telephone numbers are issued for the use of members of the public who are seeking to give or obtain information about persons who have, or may have, been involved in a major incident (para 4.121).ACPO, ACPOS

2. Signal sighting

29. The standard on signal sighting should explicitly define the cab sight lines within which signals must be positioned by reference to the envelop governing the position of the driver’s eye which is specified for each particular rolling stock (para 11.17). Railway Safety

3. Signallers’ working conditions

43. Railtrack should review the work done by signallers to identify all non-essential tasks and eliminate them from the work, which is performed by them while they are in charge of a workstation (para 12.17).

Railtrack

· 17 recommendations which should have been met by 20th June 2002, and are six months late:

1. Driver management and training

18. Thames Trains and other TOCs should ensure that their driver training and testing programmes adequately reflect the need for specific, relevant and validated criteria. Drivers should be tested against these criteria, and a definite pass standard should be established. Consideration should be given as to how often drivers should repeat key steps in their training before submitting themselves for testing (para 9.64). Thames Trains, TOCs

2. Signal sighting

26. Areas where ambiguity in the meaning of "very short duration" may have caused, or may still cause, problems should be identified. There should be a retrospective review of all locations

where this may be the case, so that appropriate action may betaken (para 11.14). Railtrack

3. Signal sighting

31. Railtrack, in consultation with the TOCs, should examine the availability of signal sighters to meet the expected workload and take all necessary steps to ensure that there is an adequate supply of trained signal sighters and an adequate range of skills (para11.20). Railtrack, TOCs

4. SPAD investigation

35. Persons who investigate, and make recommendations as a consequence of, SPADs should be trained in the identification of human factors and in root cause analysis. Their competence in these areas should be formally recorded, and renewed by refresher courses. The analysis of SPAD data should be specifically directed to eliciting the part played by human factors and assessing the significance of the hazards against which the signals which have been passed at Danger were intended to afford protection (para 11.31). Railtrack, TOCs

5. IECC equipment

44. The speed with which signallers can take action to move points in an emergency should be improved (para 12.22). Railtrack

6. Crashworthiness

48.The enhancement of the cabs on HSTs to improve driver protection along with energy absorption and compatibility with other vehicles, and the enhancement of measures for the retention of bogies on the coaches of HSTs, should be considered, subject to an assessment of feasibility, costs and benefits, with a view to possible retro-fitting (para 13.4). TOCs, ROSCOs

7. Crashworthiness

53. The current standard for crashworthiness in respect of new vehicles should be reviewed in the light of the crash at Ladbroke Grove with respect to the objectives referred to in recommendation 53 (para 13.4). Railway Safety

8. Crashworthiness

54. The current standard for crashworthiness should be reviewed, in the light of the crash at Ladbroke Grove, in order to ensure that there are adequate measures for safeguarding survival space(para 13.5).

Railway Safety

9. Crashworthiness

56. In the case of new vehicles constructed of aluminium, consideration should be given to:

(i) the design requirements for more realistic scenarios;

(ii) high speed accidents; and

(iii) dynamic verification testing (para 13.17).

ROSCOs, Manufacturers

10. Crashworthiness

58. The revision of the Group Standard for crashworthiness should be

pursued with particular reference to:

(i) the design requirements for more realistic scenarios;

(ii) high speed accidents; and

(iii) dynamic verification testing (para 13.17).

Railway Safety

11. Crashworthiness

60. Comprehensive market research in regard to safety related measures should be carried out in order to take account of the views of informed passengers (para 13.20). TOCs

12. Fire mitigation

61. The following measures should be considered with a view to enhancing protection against fire:

(i) a review of Group Standards in respect of improved crash resistance of fuel tanks;

(ii) consideration of the feasibility of reducing fuel inventories and of utilising smaller fuel tanks;

(iii) in respect of frontal impacts, consideration of the repositioning of fuel tanks away from the leading ends of trains from behind bogies wherever this is practicable;

(iv) avoidance of placing fuel tanks in exposed and vulnerable locations;

(v) examination of the use of additives to reduce the propensity of a fuel to atomise;

(vi) the employment within fuel tanks of internal flexible linings or a honeycomb construction;

(vii) consideration of the most appropriate material for fuel tanks; and

(viii) recognition of the need for supporting theoretical and experimental work in respect of the foregoing (para 13.27). Railway Safety, TOCs, ROSCOs

13. Passenger protection, evacuation and escape

72. So far as is feasible, emergency signs on all trains should be capable of being understood by passengers without the necessity to read text (para 14.19). TOCs, ROSCOs

14. Passenger protection, evacuation and escape

80. There should be a thorough review of the adequacy of the number of, and signage relating to, emergency hammers. This should include the provision of means of illuminating the location of

hammers in an emergency, with a back-up power supply in case of emergency (para 14.46).

TOCs, ROSCOs

15. Passenger protection, evacuation and escape

81. There should be research into the feasibility of, and risks associated with, removable windows, the adequacy of windows as a means of emergency egress, the number of dedicated windows which are necessary and the provision as to the maximum distance between each passenger and a bodyside door or emergency exit (para 14.46).TOCs, ROSCOs

16. Passenger protection, evacuation and escape

82. Tests should be carried out into the practicability of building emergency hammers into the passenger alarm system so that they could be released only after an alarm has been activated (para 14.50). TOCs, ROSCOs

17. Passenger protection, evacuation and escape

88. The availability on trains carrying passengers of the items of emergency equipment mentioned in the standard on emergency and safety equipment should be unrestricted (para 14.74). ATOC

· A total of 7 recommendations from Lord Cullen’s Part 2 Report on Ladbroke Grove (from September 2001) are not being implemented to timetable. These include:

Three recommendations that should have been met by 20th March 2002, and are 9 months late, including:

1. The use of contractors

4. Steps should be put in place to ensure that contractors and sub-contractors are selected by a process which gives due regard to their state of training. They should be given appropriate time further to develop their training and planning as necessary before embarking on work (para

4.72). Railtrack, IMCs, TRCs

2. The use of contractors

9. Employers of contractors and sub-contractors should ensure that they work to exactly the same safety standards as those who are directly employed (para 4.87). Railtrack, IMCs

3. Accident investigation

72. There is a need for a protocol dealing with the release of technical information and access to technical experts in investigations involving the police (para 11.29).BTP, Railtrack

We still do not know if these recommendations have been implemented, despite the fact that the then Secretary of State Stephen Byers wrote to the Health and Safety Commission demanding action and report by the end of May 2002.

13 May 2002: Column 508

Mr. Byers:

The hon. Gentleman also mentioned concerns about contractors. Without expressing a view on what the investigation may reveal in this case, I agree with him that the Cullen report made some clear recommendations about contractors, and I am concerned that not enough progress is being made on their implementation. On 1 May, I wrote to the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission, asking him to report to me by the end of May on the progress made on Cullen's recommendations—a point that I reinforced when I met him this morning. This is a crucial issue, irrespective of what the investigations into this case might discover. Progress must be made on the Cullen report's recommendations.

· 4 recommendations which should have been met by 20th September 2002, and are three months late, including:

1. Safety cases

19. The definition of responsibilities for the control of risk at specific sites which are shared by different railway operators and at the interfaces between them across the network should be refined and set out in the safety case. However, the details of the arrangements and agreements

for these purposes should not be required to be set out in the safety case; it should be sufficient that the safety case provides information as to the means of access to them (para 7.15). Railtrack, TOCs

2. Safety cases

20. A duty holder should be required to show by means of its safety case that it has reduced the risks associated with its operation as low as reasonably practicable, but it should be sufficient if the safety case points to the methods which have been used and to where the details can be found. (para 7.20).

HSC, Duty holders

3. Railtrack and Railway Safety

28. The safety regulator should cease to be dependent on Railtrack for a recommendation as to whether or not the safety case of a train operator or a station operator (or its material revisions) should be accepted. Instead the safety regulator should give Railtrack the opportunity to make

any representation as to whether or not the safety case or revision should be accepted, and the grounds on which such a representation is based. The safety regulator should likewise give the opportunity to any other train operator or station operator who may be affected by matters referred to in the safety case to make a similar representation, and for this purpose select whichever operators it considers to be appropriate in the circumstances (para 8.33).HSC

4. Railtrack and Railway Safety

30. In regard to the safety case for Railtrack or any material revision, the safety regulator should give any train operator, selecting whichever it considers to be appropriate in the circumstances, the opportunity to make representations as to whether or not the safety case or revision should be accepted, and the grounds on which the representation is based (para 8.34).HSC

· Three of the 93 recommendations from Professor Uff’s Report on Southall (published 20th October 2000) have not implemented to timetable – three months on from the final deadline. These include:

1. Use of simulators and training for driving in abnormal conditions

3. Simulators should be introduced for driver training and for the observance of driver behaviour (para 16.3). ATOC

2. Use of simulators and training for driving in abnormal conditions

4. Driver training should include driving in abnormal situations permitted by the Rules and specifically driving with AWS isolated to the extent so permitted, including the use of simulators (para 16.4)

ATOC

3. Fault Reporting by all staff

18. Provide forms, defect repair books or other means of reporting faults should be regarded as a disciplinary offence (para 16.11). ATOC

· Three recommendations from Professor Uff and Lord Cullen’s joint report on Train Protection have not been met to timetable – with another 7 due to be met by the end of the month

The Final Report and Recommendations on the Hatfield disaster are long overdue, and likely to highlight maintenance contract practices as a key concern:

The Hatfield Crash took place on 17th October 2000, with a first interim report published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 20th October 2000. On 23rd October 2000 the HSE published the Second Interim Report, which stated that recommendations would follow in the final report.



The Final Report should have been published by the end of 2001, meaning that it is now nearly ONE YEAR LATE:



A Draft Report of the final report into Hatfield was leaked over one and a half years ago and highlighted problems with contractors as a key area of concern:



"Inadequate management by Railtrack of contractors; Lack of equipment, manpower, management and opportunity to replace track; a failure to identify and repair or replace the rapidly deteriorating rail" (Rail Safety News 9/5/02, https://www.safetynews.co.uk/)

The final report remains yet to appear, but if problems relating to contract work is found to be a major reason for the incident, then this will be a repeat of the same structural problems, which caused the Hatfield disaster.


Printed (hosted) by David Bellotti on behalf of Don Foster (Liberal Democrat) both at 31 James Street West, Bath BA1 2BT.
 
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