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Approach Speeds and Speed limits at Stations and Platforms

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Inversnecky

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The Kirby derailment reminded me to ask - is there a universal speed limit of 15 mph at stations, or on approach to plaforms, or does it vary?

Leaving aside the obvious passage of through trains, I'm thinking of two scenarios - stopping trains at termini or through stations. With termini, there's the obvious need to stop before the buffers, so there can be no error, so are approach speeds lower for that situation?

Is there a standard speed (where mandated or regarded as best practice) for trains to be at as they approach a station platform in general?
 
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Watershed

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The short answer is that it varies.

Some stations have a 125mph limit. Obviously only through stations! ;)

More seriously, stations with both through and terminating platforms tend to have a lower speed limit for the bays. For example York is 30mph for the through platforms, but 15 for the bays (albeit that's only in the direction into the bays, on the way back out it's 30).

The terminal platform with the highest speed limit that I can immediately think of would be Paddington - platforms 5-9 are 40mph. But I'm sure there are faster examples out there.

As for the speed that trains actually travel, that will largely be down to the Professional Driving Policy of the TOC or FOC concerned. Many will have guidance on the speed that drivers should be at, when entering the platform "ramp".

For example, East Coast's Professional Driving Policy (released under FoI) states that drivers should aim to be travelling at no more than 15mph at the ramp for bay platforms or terminal stations.

Where approaching any signal at danger, the PDP advises a speed of 20mph when 200m from the signal (i.e. around the location of the AWS magnet for most signals), and stopping 20m from the signal.

Obviously that won't always be practicable if the signal in question is the starting signal at a platform, and for bay/terminal platforms the PDP advises stopping a minimum of 2m short of the buffer stops.
 
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king_walnut

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Where I work, for terminus stations it's 15mph at the start of the platform.

When I'm calling at stations then 20mph at the platform ramp is my general habit, though this is not the rule.
 

Inversnecky

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Where approaching any signal at danger, the PDP advises stopping 20m from the signal.

I presume that so they can be clearly visible from the cab?

PDP advises stopping a minimum of 2m short of the buffer stops.

Is it always assumed that a train should never come into contact with buffers, that the buffers are there purely for an emergency situation?

I’ve seen locos in sidings up to the buffers, but I guess that’s a different case.
 

westcoaster

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Company policy for us is 15 mph at the ramp, and no more than 5mph 2 coach lengths from the stops. (I tend to do about 6-7mph at the TPWS grids)
 

Eccles1983

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15 into a bay.

Dependant on platform length is what defines an approach speed.

Some can be 50mph, some 10mph.
 

skyhigh

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Is it always assumed that a train should never come into contact with buffers, that the buffers are there purely for an emergency situation?
Yes, something has gone wrong if a passenger train is touching the buffers.
 

dk1

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Yes, something has gone wrong if a passenger train is touching the buffers.
When you go back to the 70s at Yarmouth Vauxhall, hauled trains where always propelled from the carriage sidings to the station & where pushed onto the stops. I used to love the ‘clunk’ as they came into contact.
 

norbitonflyer

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At Holborn viaduct, space was so tight that they usually touched the buffers on platform 2 to be sure to be clear of the fouling point at the other end of the platform.
 

8J

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For through platforms, it depends on lot of different factors such as gradient, length of platform, length of train.

There are some platforms out there that a driver can hit at 40mph and comfortably stop. There are others that drivers dare go over 20mph at the ramp.
 

Efini92

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It varies massively, But the general rule for bay platforms is 15 mph. Some are lower, I’ve never seen any higher.

Ive done 47 at the start of rainford platform in the up direction and stopped comfortably at the end in a 319.
 

43066

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10mph into our London terminal (local instruction due to a steep downslope towards the stops), 15mph out until the rear of the train is clear of the platform. Generally 15mph in and out of bay platforms. Otherwise it varies. As a rule of thumb I tend to hit through stations at 30-35mph, but a lot slower for stations with short platforms and/or in known low adhesion areas.

If there’s a red at the end of the platform then that takes priority and it’s max 20mph at the magnet, as per the driving policy.
 

coppercapped

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The Sectional Appendix for the Western shows that Platforms 1 to 9 at Paddington have 40mph limits both in and out. The higher number platforms are limited to 25mph as are all platforms for Class 4, 6, 7 and 8 trains.

The question arises - why are others so slow? :smile:
 

sw1ller

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15 into bays for us too, 8mph over the TPWS grids. Although I’m aware they’re not set for 8mph, you just don’t risk it.

As for through stations with bays, Crewe is 60mph on P6 and 80mph on the up/down fast.
 

Llama

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Kirkby, seeing as it is in its 15 minutes of fame at the moment, coming from the Wigan direction is 70mph.
 

Efini92

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Kirkby, seeing as it is in its 15 minutes of fame at the moment, coming from the Wigan direction is 70mph.
I imagine the health and safety brigade might change that now Kirkby is in the spotlight.
 

Llama

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That depends on your definition of 'approach'!

Maybe they will even go so far as to invest in another traffic cone to put by the block end at Kirkby so we can see it better.
 

L401CJF

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I imagine the health and safety brigade might change that now Kirkby is in the spotlight.
This is the 3rd major incident I believe at this location involving a 507/8 unit on the Merseyrail side of the blocks over the last 30 years or so, which has the lower speed limit. Have their been any incidents from Northern units on the other side?
 

Llama

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Not since Northern (in any guise) has been a TOC.

Give it time.
 

Efini92

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You generally don’t approach stations at line speed if you’re stopping at them...
Before the point of braking you will most likely be approaching a station at line speed. The issue being approaching from rainford Jn it’s 70 with the only OSS loops being in the bay. The approach from Liverpool at least has a 15 psr before the platform with OSS for the 15.
 

hexagon789

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25 according to the SA
I've just looked at the SA and a whole bundle of limits have changed on the approach to and edit from Lowestoft, presumably resulting from the re-signalling. I'm fairly certain though you could exit Platform 3 at 60mph previously though.
 

43096

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That depends on your definition of 'approach'!

Maybe they will even go so far as to invest in another traffic cone to put by the block end at Kirkby so we can see it better.
Thought that was what route knowledge was for? Shouldn’t need to be calling the cones hotline to know where to stop.
 

43066

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Before the point of braking you will most likely be approaching a station at line speed. The issue being approaching from rainford Jn it’s 70 with the only OSS loops being in the bay. The approach from Liverpool at least has a 15 psr before the platform with OSS for the 15.

Fair enough - I’m unfamiliar with the location. Although, if entering a bay platform, you would have to have been checked down by signals, and there would likely be OSS grids associated with these (in addition to AWS magnets)?

Wouldn’t have helped much here, where the driver braked down to 30mph on approach, but should at least prevent a train entering the bay at 70mph, in the event of driver incapacitation etc.

That depends on your definition of 'approach'!

Maybe they will even go so far as to invest in another traffic cone to put by the block end at Kirkby so we can see it better.

Thought that was what route knowledge was for? Shouldn’t need to be calling the cones hotline to know where to stop.

Buffer stops are approached and stopped at visually. They can can be surprisingly hard to see in poor light, and in certain locations, so it’s not uncommon for them to be highlighted by other methods.
 
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Llama

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Thought that was what route knowledge was for? Shouldn’t need to be calling the cones hotline to know where to stop.
If you knew some of the drivers I know you'd probably agree it was worth spending the money!
 

Efini92

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Fair enough - I’m unfamiliar with the location. Although, if entering a bay platform, you would have to have been checked down by signals, and there would likely be OSS grids associated with these (in addition to AWS magnets)?

Wouldn’t have helped much here, where the driver braked down to 30mph on approach, but should at least prevent a train entering the bay at 70mph, in the event of driver incapacitation etc.





Buffer stops are approached and stopped at visually. They can can be surprisingly hard to see in poor light, and in certain locations, so it’s not uncommon for them to be highlighted by other methods.
The only warning is a fixed distant. The onus is all on the driver there.
 
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