Can a train be moved immediately after a SPAD?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 181, 25 May 2015.

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  1. 181

    181 Member

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    Seeing the picture in the 'Railway Magazine' of Tangmere standing on the junction at Wootton Basset after the infamous SPAD of 7th March made me wonder what the crew are expected to do in a situation like that. Obviously they inform the signalman immediately, but do they then rely on the signalling system to stop all trains in the vicinity, or are there circumstances in which they would be permitted or expected to move the train to a less dangerous position? And would the answer have been different in the days when the signalbox could only be contacted from a telephone at a signal?

    Certainly if I'd been in the cab my instinct would have been to reverse off the junction as soon as possible; and presumably there might be situations where moving forwards would be safer than staying put.

    (Another question: are detonators still ever used to protect trains that have stopped somewhere unexpected?)
     
  2. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    Do not move until instructed and detonators are only used to protect lines in the event of an emergency when the Signaller can't be contacted.
     
  3. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

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    Don't forget assistance protection.
     
  4. Dieseldriver

    Dieseldriver Member

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    It would really depend on the situation. An example would be if I was sliding towards a red protecting a junction in poor railhead conditions I would be thinking towards making an emergency/urgent call to the signaller. However when you think about making that decision, the last thing you'd want to do is cause a train to come to a stand across the junction you're approaching.
     
  5. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    As has been said, you would wait. It also depends on what the signal is protecting.
    Moving a train over points when the signal protecting them is on could cause the risk of a derailment, and/or damage to the points.
     
  6. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    One thing you would certainly never, ever do is reverse! If the SPAD isn't bad enough then reversing would be an absolute sure way to find yourself never going near the footplate again!

    If you end up fouling the points then the signalling system should revert signals to danger however if a train has already passed the signal then it wouldn't help.

    In theory what you suggest shouldn't happen as TPWS and trap points should prevent conflicting movements at junctions, especially high speed ones, which is why this incident was so serious considering those systems were tampered with.

    If after contacting he signaller they asked you to move the train back where possible you would never reverse it. You would change ends and drive it back facing the direction of travel. I doubt with single headed trains they would allow reversing but have a loco pull it back from the rear-if they really did need to reverse it then measures would be put in place first but throwing it into reverse to clear the points would be an absolute no no.

    Of course if you saw a train hurtling towards you and so decided to reverse your train resulting in a collision averted then it may be agreed you did the right thing but in those circumstances you would already have lost your job and have a date set to appear in court most probably with your bags packed for a fairly lengthy stay at her majesties pleasure...

    The only time you ever move a train before contacting the box with TPWS activations is approaching buffer stops in platforms. You can then reset and draw up to the stops to open the doors before contacting the box to report it.
     
  7. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Although against the rules, I suppose it would be hard to criticise a driver for reversing off a junction, if that action did avert a major collision.

    In reality however it's unlikely a driver would find themselves in this position and have the time to successfully do it. In the case of both Watford and Colwich the resulting collisions were almost immediate. So I suspect you would either not have the time to react, or else the signalling would stop a collision for example by maintaining or reverting signals at danger. Reversing over a set of points you have just run through could also risk derailment if the points have been damaged during the run through, as well as being a risk to any staff behind the train, or if there are points behind, etc etc. There's also the risk that another train could already have been signalled up behind.

    So perhaps the risk if you can see a train bearing down on you at high speed and you know a collision is inevitable and imminent, otherwise not really a viable nor sensible course of action.
     
    Last edited: 26 May 2015
  8. 55z

    55z Member

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    It really depends on what sort of SPAD it is. The signaller might instruct a driver to pass a signal at danger so is really a SPAD but under instruction The Tangmere one was A very serious SPAD.
     
  9. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    No, that's not a SPAD, as authority has been given to pass the signal at danger.
     
  10. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    Except that it's not really a SPAD. You can't have a SPAD if you are given authority from the signaller.
     
  11. TheNewNo2

    TheNewNo2 Member

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    On the Underground, if a driver reports a SPAD then they generally continue to the next relief point at which a replacement driver will take over the train and the SPADder will be taken for an interview.
     
  12. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    If the train is over a junction and you reverse you will derail the train if there are swing nose cross overs making up the junction. They won't thank you for that.

    Once you SPAD you do as you are instructed, the other trains will be stopped by the signals going back on them as you occupy the Track circuit, the signaller making an emergency call on the radio, a GSMR general call, a stop message or some other ways I can't think of.

    You do not take unilateral action under such circumstances because you will get a P45 for your troubles.
     
  13. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    Er.... How is a Signal Passed At Danger not a Signal Passed At Danger?

    Just because there was 'permission' doesn't mean the signal was not at danger - danger being a noun (one of the Signal Aspects) in this case as opposed to a descriptive...It's still a SPAD, just one that requires an awful lot less admin post it's occurrence.
     
  14. RichardN

    RichardN Member

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    What happens when somebody presses a red button and signals reset when you're just about to pass them? Apart from obvious brown trouser issues? Do you get tea and biscuits with a manager, even though it isn't your fault as a driver?
     
  15. HarleyDavidson

    HarleyDavidson Established Member

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    That would be classed as a Cat "B" or Tech SPAR. (It's the new trendy way of saying SPaD.)

    The signalbox datalogger would (SHOULD) have all of the necessary data regarding that particular incident. Also FFCCTV would verify that the signal reverted, along with the OTMR showing the AWS trace.
     
  16. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    A SPAD only refers to a signal passed at danger WITHOUT AUTHORITY. If it's authorised it's not a spad. May not make sense outside the industry but it's how it is. Just the terminology used.

    If there is permission given then it simply isn't a SPAD or an operating incident.
     
  17. DBE

    DBE Member

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    The way I always look at it, danger (SPaD) means that the signal is showing a red aspect to protect from the undesired entry of a train into the next section, whereas red (SPaR) is the term for when the signal has not been set to red before a correct sequence of restrictive aspects have been indicated to the driver.

    Hope it makes some sense!
     
  18. Jamesb1974

    Jamesb1974 Member

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    The railway doesn't operate on nouns. It operates on whether you have authority to do certain things. If you pass a signal at danger, without authority it is classed as a SPAD. If you reach a signal at danger, stop and contact the signaller and he/she then gives you authority to pass that signal at danger, it isn't a SPAD. It is passing a signal at danger with the signaller's authority.

    Feel free to argue the OED definition of 'danger' for the rest of your life if you want, but passing a signal at danger with the authority of the controlling signaller is NOT a SPAD.
     
  19. richieb1971

    richieb1971 Member

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    A SPAD obviously has a real danger issue, where as a authorized "pass on danger" has no danger issue because you are being told to over rule the signal and safely pass.
     
  20. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    More to the point you have already stopped at the signal which is the important part as it means there is no human error.
     
  21. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Even when you are authorized to pass a red you may still be at risk. There is a reason why you always "proceed at caution" The line may still be occupied.
     
  22. 181

    181 Member

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    Thankyou for the replies.
     
  23. Juniper Driver

    Juniper Driver Established Member

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    I was Cover driver about so many years ago and I was sent to Surbiton (with a DSM) to relieve a 442 10 car which had had a fatality there.I had to relieve the driver and take the train to Waterloo.Ok not quite a SPAD but a rare time I had to take a driver off under such a sad circumstance.The same happened to me when I had my fatality.

    Im not actually sure what happens about SPAD's though.

    You can under a misunderstanding of which we have been shown on Company Days.
     
    Last edited: 26 May 2015
  24. causton

    causton Established Member

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    All SPADs are categorised in one of four sections:

    Which one of these would you put a signal passed with authority in?

    The ORR website defines a SPAD, stating "A signal passed at danger (SPAD) occurs when a train passes a stop signal without authority to do so."

    So a SPAD with authority is not a SPAD by definition.
     
  25. Dieseldriver

    Dieseldriver Member

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    I've had a cat C SPAD at 90mph approaching a curve (signaller put it back in an emergency). Passed it by about half a mile wih the brake in full emergency. Brown trouser moment just about describes it ;)
     
    Last edited: 27 May 2015
  26. redbutton

    redbutton Member

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    The one time I've been aboard a train involved in a SPAD, I was a passenger. It was primarily due to low adhesion. The driver put the brake in Emergency near the single yellow, but still passed the red and came to rest with the first coach across a major junction in South London. The driver used the red button before the train came to a stand, because he knew he would end up across the points.

    After arranging it with the signaller, the train proceeded into the station just beyond the junction, passengers were detrained, and then the same driver took the train ECS to the terminus station presumably to be relieved there.

    But to answer the OP's question: The rulebook says that as soon as a driver becomes aware that a train has passed a signal at danger, whether or not TPWS operates, he or she must stop immediately, contact the signaller, and carry out any instructions given. The signaller will complete a RT3189 form with the driver on the phone. A SPAD is quite a stressful experience, and a driver is free to refuse to move the train if s/he doesn't want to, but under no circumstances must s/he move the train without verbal authority.

    This is covered in rulebook module S5, section 9.
    http://www.rgsonline.co.uk/Rule_Book/Rule Book Modules/S - Signals/GERT8000-S5 Iss 5.pdf
     
  27. OpsWeb

    OpsWeb Member

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    Realistically, a Driver is not going to continue with the journey after suffering a SPAD. The TOC will make efforts to either find a replacement driver or take the train out of service asap (and to arrange a download of the train OTMR).
     
    Last edited: 27 May 2015
  28. swills

    swills Member

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    Not strictly true, indeed a Cat A, odds on the Driver will be taken off, but Cat B and Cat C, then 9 out of 10 Drivers will be happy to carry on once the circumstances have been explained to them, although a B or a C at a signal protecting a level crossing may result in the Driver asking to be relieved of duty (understandably !)
     
  29. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    The last thing you are asked is "Are you ok to continue ?" The train will need to be moved and in my experience it is very rare that a Driver doesn't move the train. They may only move to the next station or finish the trip but most move the train. Even our worst SPAD (and it was bad) The driver till changed ends and went wrong road back into the previous station (trains could run round it)

    The only incidents where I absolutely know the Driver will not continue and the train will not move is a fatality or derailment. No doubt there will be someone who could post experience where a fatality knowingly has occurred and the Driver continued.
     
  30. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    It depends entirely on the specific circumstances and drivers history. Certainly not as black and white as you suggest.
     
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