Driver - Personal Protection Strategies (PPS)

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Cornish Guilt

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Currently doing my driving hours and just wondering what different protection strategies are used in the cab to aid with concentration and tasks to reduce the risk of mistakes.
 
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ComUtoR

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Your first port of call should be your Instructor/Mentor. They will be able to give you more bespoke strategies for your traction, diagrams, stopping patterns, style, and what your TOC asks in terms or policies and procedures etc.

You can search for more generic techniques on the RSSB website. They tend to lean towards 'Non Technical Skills' and the more well known strategies for dealing with specific scenarios.
 

43066

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Currently doing my driving hours and just wondering what different protection strategies are used in the cab to aid with concentration and tasks to reduce the risk of mistakes.

Various things spring to mind.

- stand up and walk around when you reach a station. Or even get out onto the platform and watch the dispatch process - this is something I do regularly because some of the stock I sign has no interlock or cab door controls and it has been known for drivers to imagine hearing two on the bell and drive off with doors open!

- use a formation reminder, write the length of your train onto your schedule card etc.

- highlight stops on your diagram, confirm stopping pattern with your guard before leaving the station of origin.

- use risk triggered commentary driving when running on cautionary aspects etc. We have long periods of running on greens (and you relax a bit). Then you suddenly find yourself on the slow lines following something. Or on a three aspect section you suddenly encounter a single yellow with a mile or so to the next signal.

This type of situation is when commentary driving comes into its own - it helps to bring your head back into the game when you need to.

- fully agree with @ComUtoR check with your DI for more.
 

KT530

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Your DI should be helping you develop a toolbox of mitigation measures as part of your development.

As stated by others, this varies according to route, traction and the individual’s learning needs.

A good trainee will also cherry pick the best aspects of different instructors - there’s no set way and you’ll find different DIs have different approaches.
 

Andrew Ford

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I only drive on a depot.
But I always set the cab up the same, hat on the dashboard and radio off to one side.
I keep the seat pushed far back until I’m ready to move the train.
When given instructions for a move, I repeat them back and write them down.
Risk Triggered Commentary all the time, sometimes in my head.
Before the move I do things in the same order; Proceed aspect, Safety of line, lights to markers, into forward, check signal, DRA, check signal, hill start in, power, check signal, hill start out and horn.
When passing a signal, I physically stare at it.
Obviously all of this might be irrelevant for mainline!
 

SlimJim1694

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I agree about writing down your train length and using an aide memoir. Stop shorts one of the biggest risks where I am. If you do your own door release as well, never feel rushed to open them until you've made sure you are fully in the platform, DRA is set if necessary, and you are releasing on the correct side. If it's an offside platform then walk to the offside before releasing. If it takes ten seconds let it take ten seconds. Never rush. With 100+ calls a day its very easy to cock up just once. I speak from experience.
 

43066

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If it takes ten seconds let it take ten seconds. Never rush. With 100+ calls a day its very easy to cock up just once. I speak from experience.

Well said.

This is the single best piece of advice out there. Always that extra second, because there’s no “undo button” on the driver’s desk!

To add to that, as a driver, you need to develop a “robust” personality and not allow yourself to be rushed by anyone else (be it resource centre, guard, dispatch staff etc.). Their priority might be getting your train away on time but your priority, first and foremost, should be not having an incident!

Always remember that, if you cock up because you’re allowing yourself to be rushed by someone else, it’s your license that the incident will go onto.
 

Panupreset

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When you cancel the AWS, verbalise out load why you cancelling it, and then react accordingly.
I cover up the door release buttons on the side the platform isn’t with my schedule card.
TICTOC - train in commentary train out commentary. Eg 8 car board doors right dispatch by bats, leaving on a green line speed xx mph next stop is...
I love this next one told to me by the longest serving driver I know (40+ years in the seat) ‘everything up to the red belongs to you, and you can take as long as you like to get to it. Everything after the red belongs to someone else’.
There will be things that will happen that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It’s ok to say that really shook me up and I am not ok to carry on. Go home have a drink/cigarette/pound the exercise bike whatever and come back the next day.
If you screw up being ill at the time won’t get you exonerated, even if the first/last train of the day. If your ill be ill at home. It’s not your problem if there are no spare or cover drivers.
Except your performance will be variable, some days you will drive better than others.
You never ever stop learning.....
 

axlecounter

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Well said.

This is the single best piece of advice out there. Always that extra second, because there’s no “undo button” on the driver’s desk!

To add to that, as a driver, you need to develop a “robust” personality and not allow yourself to be rushed by anyone else (be it resource centre, guard, dispatch staff etc.). Their priority might be getting your train away on time but your priority, first and foremost, should be not having an incident!

Always remember that, if you cock up because you’re allowing yourself to be rushed by someone else, it’s your license that the incident will go onto.

Easy to say to develop a "robust" personality, but then, unless you already have it, how to get there?!
Personally I kind of arrived there after 10 years of experience, various situations where I've learned to cope with this or that. Learned to separate what's essential and what's not.
But how can you "learn" that?
 

Meerkat

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Easy to say to develop a "robust" personality, but then, unless you already have it, how to get there?!
Personally I kind of arrived there after 10 years of experience, various situations where I've learned to cope with this or that. Learned to separate what's essential and what's not.
But how can you "learn" that?
Hard to do on your own, but that’s when you need a respected mentor. someone you trust, and others respect, tells you “you are in charge of that train, it’s your call”
 

Joliver

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Some sounds advice already given in this thread. I'll whack my two pennies worth in. I verbalise which side the platform is (more so on right hand side door release), stand up at a red signal, mark my diagram accordingly (especially highlighting skipping stations).

Also have slightly different ones dependent on traction type I'm driving, for example; leaving it in neutral at red signals and CD/RA stations.

You have to do what's right for you, try lots and quickly disregard the ones that do not work. Also, when you start to get complacent using them, it's time to change that particular one too. It's too easy to have an incident.
 

Stigy

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Some good ideas/advice here being thrown around. I find I use a lot of what’s been said as part of RTC anyway, but all sometimes a few extra wacky ideas can work for people.

I tend to have the seat on swivel (Where possible) and vocalise which side the platform is on before releasing the doors (using the STAR - Stop. Think. Assess. Release model). The seat on swivel helps as I tend to turn in the direction of the platform and the door buttons for that side too.

As with all trainees, RTC is mandated, therefore this is naturally used in general terms to include STAR etc. I plan on producing my own Personal Safety Strategy over the coming weeks so I’m interested also to see what others use.
 

Seehof

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Never get complacent. Don’t just think one day I can easily reach in my bag to get my water bottle. Concentrate totally when you are driving and waiting to set off. Concentrate more so when entering or leaving junctions, large stations etc. It will come naturally but always maintain a high standard. Good luck to all new drivers
 

Astro_Orbiter

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Personally, I find some of the tactics told to us to be rather distracting in use, but everyone is different and you have to find whatever thing works for you. Its amazing how some drivers get into the cab kitted out with bits of paper all over the place, length reminder, station cards, tactics of rubbing your belly and patting your head or whatever for xyz stations, and then some drivers who've been going 30+ years incident free can just bowl into the cab and away they go.
 

theironroad

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Personally, I find some of the tactics told to us to be rather distracting in use, but everyone is different and you have to find whatever thing works for you. Its amazing how some drivers get into the cab kitted out with bits of paper all over the place, length reminder, station cards, tactics of rubbing your belly and patting your head or whatever for xyz stations, and then some drivers who've been going 30+ years incident free can just bowl into the cab and away they go.

And that's the thing.... whatever strategy works for an individual and keeps them out of the office is the right one for them.
 

387star

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With 700s the door release buttons were flat so I placed a small card over the off side buttons which also had the number 12 on it to remind me where to stop. You were supposed to select FLU rather than 12 on the formation card but I found 12 clearer

Now I drive Turbos I put a magnetic clip with me schedule card over the offside buttons as they are raised and not flat. Further more due to button positions I get up to open off side. I also ensure I cover the off side buttons if stopping at stations where the guard opens the doors.

There is one station where the Guard opens and there is often a red signal beyond but out of sight . I therefore set the DRA passing the single yellow rather than at the station as I normally do so I can only focus on not releasing doora. You can always set the dra before you stop but normally I prefer doing it the moment I've stopped as that s what I'm used to. Obviously I therefore have to remember doing it differently before said station so I write dra and no doors on my schedule card.
 

choochoochoo

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You can always set the dra before you stop but normally I prefer doing it the moment I've stopped as that s what I'm used to. Obviously I therefore have to remember doing it differently before said station so I write dra and no doors on my schedule card.

Sadly no longer the case on 700/717. Setting DRA results in air brake application only, therefore you lose regen/rheostatic braking effect. (Why any train design engineer would think that setting a DRA should reduce the amount of braking you get was a good idea is beyond me - especially on a 'drive-by-wire' train)

So DRA on the move is now a no-no on these units (unless you're under 3mph when it's air brake only anyway).
 

donpoku

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And also I wonder what the stats shows on incidents and lack of robust pps..
 

Stigy

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That’s interesting. I presume that‘s company specific or is that a national drive?
It probably is company specific to be honest, but I would imagine most TOCs/FOCs would adopt a similar approach? It certainly makes sense.
 

PudseyBearHST

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It probably is company specific to be honest, but I would imagine most TOCs/FOCs would adopt a similar approach? It certainly makes sense.
Thanks for the response. It’s an interesting discussion and I spoke to an operations manager about this a few years ago and he said he wanted to make it mandatory but couldn’t in part due to the union objecting and in part because of what Astro Orbiter and theIronRoad said. Perhaps it’s changed now though.

It‘s interesting to note that new drivers are still having lots of incidents relatively despite having a ‘superior’ and certainly more structured training program and a bigger focus on Non-technical skills compared to decades ago. I know it’s difficult to compare because there are other factors at play such as inexperience, complacency when not fully aware of the risks, etc.. but still, it is a problem that companies are trying to find solutions to.

Also, I think that new drivers have to be quite careful if their company or driver instructor insist on commentary driving, etc... they continue to do that when they are on their own because you‘re going to be high risk if you’ve been doing commentary driving, highlighting your diagram or whatever else for 3 or so months during your handling period and then decide to scrap it as soon as you’re on your own. This can be a problem if these tasks don’t help or even distract you like Astro Orbiter says because you’re having to do it just because your company or driver instructor says so.

I do agree with the other two about what works for one person may not work for someone else. There are some drivers that will use commentary driving to the extent where they will go past every green signal and says, “Green means good” (or something along those lines) and some that will decorate their diagram with all these wonderful colours and highlighters. Whilst others, I’m not even sure if they own a pen :D
 

Llama

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Don't forget there's a big difference between commentary driving and risk triggered commentary driving. I had a trainee recently who just didn't 'get' the job in general, and their commentary driving was either 'say what you see' or just inappropriate, eg calling out next permissible speed increase ahead as they passed a double yellow.
 

387star

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Sadly no longer the case on 700/717. Setting DRA results in air brake application only, therefore you lose regen/rheostatic braking effect. (Why any train design engineer would think that setting a DRA should reduce the amount of braking you get was a good idea is beyond me - especially on a 'drive-by-wire' train)

So DRA on the move is now a no-no on these units (unless you're under 3mph when it's air brake only anyway).
I forgot that but explains why I was so used to setting the DRA upon stopping although I drove 319s too

To clarify my above post I meant I cover the nearside doors when I open offside as obviously the ones you'd normally press pose the risk.
 
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