Drivers : Red Ahead Reminders

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Downtheline, 22 Jan 2015.

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  1. Downtheline

    Downtheline Member

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    This is a question to drivers.

    When on the move and passing a single yellow - do you use any other physical visual method to provide an extra reminder to oneself that you have a red aspect ahead?
    For example, it may be your single yellow is just after a station stop or you depart from a yellow with a long way to the red (- we are taught no more than notch 5 of 7 power notches to mitigate risk to a degree).
    Or, it may be you stopped at a station after a single yellow (DRA set) and your red is out of sight a long way off - SOYSPAD risk, on departing you reset the DRA to take power, "red ahead" - limited power etc but do you use a visual reminder?

    I'm a trainee and have observed various drivers upon passing the single yellow will use a visual reminder on top of verbal "press and call" etc.
    For example, some drivers at my TOC pick up the red PA handset and place it in front of them. Being red and a fixed feature in all the cabs this has been a very convenient option.
    Alas they are being changed and becoming black in color with too short a cable to properly reach the dash. I suppose it could have been worse, they could have been changing to green !

    Do you use anything? What do you use?
    It is specifically visual aids you might use that I'm interested to hear about rather than professional driving practice with regard to controls etc.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2015
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  3. TomBoyd

    TomBoyd Member

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    As a signaller, this is a very interesting question. I look forward to some answers. It's something we never really think about.
     
  4. LCC106

    LCC106 Member

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    When standing at a red, or if I arrive at a station on a single yellow and the red is not in sight or is some way away, I move the brake handle in to emergency and the directional selector to neutral. Having to move the ds back and the brake handle from emergency reminds me there is a red ahead. On the move? No, I don't have any additional reminders, but I do say out loud "red ahead"
     
  5. Downtheline

    Downtheline Member

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    LCC,

    Thanks, yes I do the same.
    I was thinking about on the move specifically. I'll edit the original post to clarify. Thanks for your reply.
     
  6. LCC106

    LCC106 Member

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    I understood it was on the move, but just thought the answer may help others. Hope we get some useful answers soon.
     
  7. beavercreek

    beavercreek Member

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    I find setting the DRA and putting driver selector switch into neutral is enough.
    When I see a Yellow or double yellow then I instantly think where the Red is and start breaking to get my speed down to 10mph over the magnet.
     
  8. 91104

    91104 Member

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    On class 91s and DVTs we have speed limiters so when I start against a yellow I set the speed limiter to 25mph as a reminder.
     
  9. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

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    Small yellow post-it on the speedo when starting on a yellow or stopping at a station within a TSR/ESR!
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2015
  10. DeparturesBeck

    DeparturesBeck Member

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    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I'll be off to WHSmith tomorrow to get some post-it's, never really got around to finding an effective reminder for TSR/ESR's when stopping in stations. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2015
  11. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    I dont say 'read ahead' its more likely to be 'oh FFS now what!' ;) :lol:

    As for the rest of it yes pretty much the same, sometimes if I am tired, at a station I will stand up on the other side of the cab.
     
  12. MR_P

    MR_P Member

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    Its a shame the sunflower doesn't pulsate/flash when showing black and yellow to draw your attention to it.
    Its easy to forget what its showing especially in the dark.
     
  13. Downtheline

    Downtheline Member

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    Hi all.

    Some great replies there, thank you.

    I don't have a speed limiter but that sounds useful.
    I like the post-it note trick for TSR's/ESR's but think I'd find making sure I had some an issue lol

    So no-one puts something red on the dash then, I'm surprised.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2015
  14. The Snap

    The Snap Established Member

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    I'm not a driver, so this has been an interesting read.

    If you guys all use/need/choose to use some form of additional reminder, would it not make sense for the train manufactures and maintainers to retro-fit something into the cab? If this is such a big thing that a lot of drivers do, and you all use makeshift reminder aids, I'm surprised this hasn’t been communicated by the TOCs and FOCs to manufacturers of new stock so it can be considered in the design phase, and to the maintainers of existing stock to get something retro fitted. A small red light you can turn on and off at your leisure to remind you, something like that.

    Just a thought!
     
  15. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

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    I can't take credit as I only heard that one a few days ago and thought the same! Hard to describe but place it so the sticky line bit is along the TSR/ESR speed so it creates a makeshift 'wall' to higher speeds! :) Sorry if that is stating the obvious :lol:
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    There are dangers to these make shift reminders however..forgetting to do it in the first place is one..should you have a reminder aid for your reminder aid, if you see what I'm saying! It's a balance to be struck.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2015
  16. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    It already exists in the form of the DRA (Drivers reminder appliance) but is really intended for stationary use as it cuts off traction power. It is permitted to use it on the move ie running into a station having passed a yellow but the risk is having to release it again to take power if you lose too much speed to reach the stopping point.

    Personally I don't use a visual reminder of an approaching red apart from the DRA when I need it and most TOCs use risk triggered commentary which uses 'target fixing' of red signals. So as an example you may pass 2 yellows at Anytown and you would say something like "2 yellows Anytown, Red at Holdem Junction". It varies Driver to Driver and it's what you feel comfortable with, but as long as it ends up with the same result of the train stopping safely on the right side of a red then use whatever method suits you.
     
  17. Rich McLean

    Rich McLean Established Member

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    I have a red card, which I put on the desk on these occasions. It's whatever works for you
     
  18. westcoaster

    westcoaster Established Member

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    If starting away from a station (soy spad) no more than notch 2, and stand I stand up. At all other times I say where the red is.
     
  19. RPM

    RPM Established Member

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    I set the DRA on the move, even in situations where technically one isn't meant to. It works for me and that is what is most important. If I have to reset the DRA to power up a bit then I drive standing up which seems to work OK.
     
  20. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    What works for some drivers wont work for others, thats the trouble with trying to make everybody do the same thing the same way, it wont work!
     
  21. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

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    Could the "non-permanant" AWS magnets be rigged to give a distinctly different magnetic field for Red, Yellow and Double Yellow which could be picked up and displayed somewhere in the cab
     
  22. Skoodle

    Skoodle Member

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    After resetting the AWS approaching a single yellow, I place my right index finger on the Safety Systems Isolated button on the desk, which is a red circle. Once coming to a stop at a red, whether it's at a platform or not, I then use the same hand to set the DRA whilst keeping my left hand firmly on the TBC. This also helps to prevent me from releasing the doors at a red when not on a platform. If I enter a platform on a yellow and the next signal can't be seen, the reverse happens, I use my right hand to reset the DRA and the same hand goes straight to placing the finger on the red indicator light.
     
  23. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    No, they are on or off end of!

    Why are you trying to fix something that isnt really a problem?
    Lets dumb the job down even more, I mean a contributing factor in a lot of incidents is driver complacency or boredom so lets make it even more boring! :roll:
     
  24. Latecomer

    Latecomer Member

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    We were taught the "no more than notch .....(whatever is appropriate for the class of traction)". While I accept the " no more than" idea reduces risk it is still possible to keep accelerating to speeds where a spad could be impossible to avoid.. Although I don't take more than a given notch I do have first and foremost in my mind where the red is and what is an appropriate speed.. Clearly this will vary from location to location but I tell myself to shut off at 20 say (or whatever speed is appropriate. I do say out loud "red ahead" or "red at ...." And repeat this periodically until I get there. The shut off speed is always one that if the red itself slips my mind for whatever reason, I will still be able to bring the train to a stand in time when it comes in view.

    I know this doesn't cover every situation and on falling gradients it will me holding the brake in at a set speed.. I also try to pinpoint a stopping point as quite a few spads occur with drivers literally creeping past them in a last second lapse. I don't use any physical reminders other than the DRA, although I do stand up until the signal has cleared at commencement.
     
  25. Pepperami

    Pepperami Member

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    I knew my other halfs Ann Summers RED thong would come in handy :)
     
  26. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    I have found that I do something different from the normal, normal being a green aspect leaving a station. I would only select a notch depending on traction that is less than 50% power and shut off when I get to a certain speed, all I am thinking about is the red signal and it's location, I an not thinking at the time "why is it red" only that it is red and I have to stop before it. If I see a yellow or 2 yellows ahead I will automatically shut off power and start reducing the speed no matter how far away the red is this is doing something different to normal. If I am in AB working and pass a distant at caution and there is a station between the distant and the stop I will use the DRA even if a home signal is off, against what they say but it works for me. With a TSR or an ESR I do nothing as there is always a reminder at a station platform. If I am constantly getting caution or preliminary caution signals due to following another train I will slow down enough to get a green then keep the speed at a constant so when I reach the next signal it will most likely be green, if it is 2 yellows I slow down even more until I get a speed that will prevent me having to approach a red.

    My DI told me many moons ago that if you can avoid stopping at a red by controlling the speed of your train it is one less that you could potentially pass and this is the best advice I was ever given!
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2015
  27. The Snap

    The Snap Established Member

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    I think the suggestion was a solution to drivers using their own ‘makeshift’ reminders. No one is saying there's anything wrong with that, quite the contrary, I think it is just a suggestion that something could be built into the cab to help you guys and remove the need for you to come up with and use your own improvised reminder aids.

    No one is trying the dumb the job down, just suggest innovative solutions to an issue, which to me (not a driver!), seems to have been overlooked by train manufacturers.

    It would seem you’re all quite happy doing your own thing, so maybe this is a non-issue. I'm just looking at it from an outsider's perspective and coming up with a solution.
     
    Last edited: 23 Jan 2015
  28. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    A Signal Repeating AWS was developed in the 70s which would have done this, but needed extra equipment on the track rather than just the existing magnets. It never got taken forward, presumably too expensive for the benefits. Nobody's looking at anything like that today, as TPWS removes most of the risk arising from SPADs and ERTMS will eventually supersede both AWS and TPWS.

    I believe on some units the DRA just isolates the traction package so will also disable any electric braking. This is one reason why using it while on the move is discouraged.
     
  29. W230

    W230 Established Member

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    Spot on. We can't use it on the move in 377s (or 387s presumably, still waiting to drive one) because you lose the resistive braking. Pretty big over sight really but maybe it's just not that easy to correct.

    I tend to still use the "red ahead" and agree with Skoodle that one of the biggest risks is releasing the doors at the red not in platform. I guess that comes from stop-start metro work?

    I also prefer to be coming in at a speed where with step 1 braking the train will stop a nice distance from the signal to mitigate the risks of creeping past it at 2mph or whatever, as mentioned up thread.
     
  30. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

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    Interesting. We were told by our fleet on our electrostars that although knocking the DRA in at the ramp will disable the regen it won't change the rate of retardation but you will feel the regen drop off. Implying that it is fine to do although we were trained to set it when stopped for good measure.
     
    Last edited: 23 Jan 2015
  31. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    That is poor practice
     
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