Rails lying between rails?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Inversnecky

Member
Joined
1 Jan 2021
Messages
457
Location
Scotland
In a fair number of cab ride videos I've watched, I've been intrigued by sights of seemingly randomly left unused/spare lengths of rail just lying between the running lines (I don't mean guard rails).

Occasionally these are just random lengths, and at other times, it almost looks like cast offs abandoned.

I woud have thought that perhaps these could consitute a safety hazard, especially small pieces, as they could potentially get caught up underneath a train if disturbed

What is all this about?

(I'll edit in some pictures when I get a chance.)
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

221129

Established Member
Joined
21 Mar 2011
Messages
6,495
Location
Sunny Scotland
In a fair number of cab ride videos I've watched, I've been intrigued by sights of seemingly randomly left unused/spare lengths of rail just lying between the running lines (I don't mean guard rails).

Occasionally these are just random lengths, and at other times, it almost looks like cast offs abandoned.

I woud have thought that perhaps these could consitute a safety hazard, especially small pieces, as they could potentially get caught up underneath a train if disturbed

What is all this about?

(I'll edit in some pictures when I get a chance.)
Various reasons. Normally spares in case of failure or dropped prior to works.
 

Inversnecky

Member
Joined
1 Jan 2021
Messages
457
Location
Scotland
Various reasons. Normally spares in case of failure or dropped prior to works.

It occurred to be the could be spares, but many look left to rust. Perhaps left over from repairs and awating collection? But why wouldn't they just have bee collected at the time?
 

221129

Established Member
Joined
21 Mar 2011
Messages
6,495
Location
Sunny Scotland
It occurred to be the could be spares, but many look left to rust. Perhaps left over from repairs and awating collection? But why wouldn't they just have bee collected at the time?
Because there isn't always time. Depending where they are left they will more likely be strategically left incase of failure.
 

GB

Established Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
6,098
Location
Somewhere
This comes up from time to time. Rails are often dropped off many many months prior to work starting. Old rail is not always removed straight away due to time or resource constraints .
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,682
Wasn't there an incident featured on a recentish episode of "Paddington Station 24/7" when there was a low speed derailment at Paddington possibly caused by a section of spare rail having crept ever so slightly too close to one of the running lines adjacent to a platform?
 
Joined
9 Dec 2012
Messages
375
I understand the logic of spares dotted around the network in case of failure, but there is an awful lot of railway debris around too that's been lying about for years, not just rails.
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
12,002
Location
Glasgow
Wasn't there an incident featured on a recentish episode of "Paddington Station 24/7" when there was a low speed derailment at Paddington possibly caused by a section of spare rail having crept ever so slightly too close to one of the running lines adjacent to a platform?
Wasn't there a loose lying rail which derailed/damaged an HST a couple of years ago out on the mainline?
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
6,661
It's a unique feature of the UK system to leave all this laying about. You don't get this after works overseas. Yes, there are some spare point ends left at site (which should surely be padlocked down), but anyone with a bit of civils understanding can see the difference between spares for a reason, and stuff left behind because it's the easiest thing to leave out if you want to foreshorten the works.

It's not just rail. Tree-felling residue left on cutting sides for months is another.
 
Last edited:

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,682
Wasn't there an incident featured on a recentish episode of "Paddington Station 24/7" when there was a low speed derailment at Paddington possibly caused by a section of spare rail having crept ever so slightly too close to one of the running lines adjacent to a platform?
Found it. Series 4 Episode 8. First few minutes of programme. Low speed impact alongside platform approaching buffer stop rather than actual derailment?

Link below is to footage...

 

221129

Established Member
Joined
21 Mar 2011
Messages
6,495
Location
Sunny Scotland
Wasn't there an incident featured on a recentish episode of "Paddington Station 24/7" when there was a low speed derailment at Paddington possibly caused by a section of spare rail having crept ever so slightly too close to one of the running lines adjacent to a platform?
No, that was due to track spread and damp wooden sleepers.
 

chorleyjeff

Member
Joined
3 May 2013
Messages
568
I understand the logic of spares dotted around the network in case of failure, but there is an awful lot of railway debris around too that's been lying about for years, not just rails.
Knew a DMU driver who got out of cab on a dark night between Wigan and St Helens to phone signalman and tripped on rubbish. Damaged knee and that was the end of his driving career.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,682
There was also a train on Paddington 24/7 which caught a section of rail which was on the ballast and caused the driver to stop short.
Think that was the incident shown in Series 4 Episode 8.

@221129 is correct in saying that there was a separate incident in an earlier series/episode of the programme, occasioned by rotten sleepers / track spread.
 

Turtle

Member
Joined
18 Mar 2013
Messages
66
In a fair number of cab ride videos I've watched, I've been intrigued by sights of seemingly randomly left unused/spare lengths of rail just lying between the running lines (I don't mean guard rails).

Occasionally these are just random lengths, and at other times, it almost looks like cast offs abandoned.

I woud have thought that perhaps these could consitute a safety hazard, especially small pieces, as they could potentially get caught up underneath a train if disturbed

What is all this about?

(I'll edit in some pictures when I get a chance.)
I've noticed this too. Nationally there must be thousands of tons of steel lying around. What does strike me though is that German and Swiss railway videos in particular don't seem to show this sort of thing. Any reason?
 

ainsworth74

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
23,877
Location
Redcar
I think so. I think it was on the Highland line????

Yeah the Highland Chieftain collided with a rail which had been left across the running lines a couple of years back. To be clear this wasn't a rail which had moved just enough to contact the flange or anything similar it had be left foul by the maintenance crew who had been working on the site. So a bit different to what the OPs concerns regarding them being a hazard.
 

Amlag

Member
Joined
8 Jul 2018
Messages
130
Much is to do with the way things are done these days; as few materials as possible are taken to and from NR sites by Engineers trains ( so much for encouraging rail freight!) and more and more materials, including increasing use of single use 'dumpy' bags of ballast, are reliant on the use of the now large fleet of Road Rail Vehicles with trailers moving materials between the nearest road rail track access point and site of work.
This includes transport away by heavy lorries of scrap rail, cropped into short (often 15') lengths.
These scrap or reuseable rails (in 60' but also up to 180' lengths) were previously loaded onto bolstered 'Salmon' bogie wagons fitted with small hoist type cranes that enabled rails to be side loaded from the cess.

Nevertheless lengths of surplus rail left lying in the 4' or on the sleeper ends, can give an untidy and poor impression of management of the total job.

I can recount at least one occasion on the former WR when a low hanging wagon coupling ( on a slow moving freight train ) hooked around the end of a 60' rail left lying in the 4' , causing the rail to be pushed along until it met an obstruction, causing it to slew and then cause a derailment.
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
12,002
Location
Glasgow
I think so. I think it was on the Highland line????
I think it was the 'Chieftain', iirc a track gang had left a section of rail foul of the running lines and it was struck by the HST, but I can't recall of it was just damaged or if there was a partial derailment - I think the RAIB did produce a report on the incident
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,682
Yeah the Highland Chieftain collided with a rail which had been left across the running lines a couple of years back. To be clear this wasn't a rail which had moved just enough to contact the flange or anything similar it had be left foul by the maintenance crew who had been working on the site.

February 2018 apparently, so just over three years ago now. Train struck the piece of rail at c. 50 mph.

The photo from the train's forward facing camera (see link below) is alarmingly illustrative. o_O

 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
12,002
Location
Glasgow

NoRoute

Member
Joined
25 Nov 2020
Messages
233
Location
Midlands
I woud have thought that perhaps these could consitute a safety hazard, especially small pieces, as they could potentially get caught up underneath a train if disturbed

What is all this about?

I think you're right, unsecured, unnecessary objects left lying around are generally seen as a potential safety hazard in a lot of industries and good house keeping standards aim to keep them to a minimum. Be interesting to see the risk assessment for storing materials, unsecured, immediately next to the tracks of an operational railway.

Re. The links to that incident at Cradlehall, the RAIB report is online

 

Inversnecky

Member
Joined
1 Jan 2021
Messages
457
Location
Scotland
I think you're right, unsecured, unnecessary objects left lying around are generally seen as a potential safety hazard in a lot of industries and good house keeping standards aim to keep them to a minimum. Be interesting to see the risk assessment for storing materials, unsecured, immediately next to the tracks of an operational railway.

Re. The links to that incident at Cradlehall, the RAIB report is online



You'd think if rail segments and leftovers have to be left lying about, the six foot would be the "safest" place, as less likely to get caught up underneath a train.
 

GB

Established Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
6,098
Location
Somewhere
You'd think if rail segments and leftovers have to be left lying about, the six foot would be the "safest" place, as less likely to get caught up underneath a train.

As can be seen in the photo, ballast shoulders and the 6 foot are normally higher than the 4 foot.
 

Annetts key

Member
Joined
13 Feb 2021
Messages
668
Location
West is best
Unfortunately the way that the railways are maintained today results in both new rail being left for long periods out on the track, and used / old rail, sleepers and other removed equipment/items being left for sometimes many, many years.

It’s not normally a risk to trains. But it does make the railway an even bigger tripping hazard for staff, including maintenance staff.

It can (depending on what it is and the size/length) also be ready supply of ammunition for vandalism.

Rail left in the four foot can also travel in the direction that trains move, and then damage signalling cables, OHL return bonding wiring, AWS equipment, TPWS equipment or ATP equipment.

The reasons for new rail being left in the four foot are normally due to a rerailing programme having been postponed or cancelled.

The reasons for everything else (scrap) is that either it was not planned to be part of the renewal project. It is planned to deal with the scrap at a later date. The occupation time was too short. The 360 / road-rail machines broke down. Or resources were diverted to attend a defect or more urgent work.

There used to be a scrap rail recovery department with its own specialist train. But this was closed some years ago after an accident. The cost of the retraining made it uneconomic to continue given that the local maintenance departments were using this service less and less. Preferring to do things their own way... (or not as the case may be).

With a lot of projects, it can take years for all the redundant or scrap materials to be removed.

The poor state of the line side and the cess, is something that the union representatives and the staff have been complaining about for more than fifteen years. The answer we often get back is either, that it was not in the contract (when a contractor has done the renewal work), or that there is no money currently available to fund a tidy up or improvements. Although mainly this is referring to the cess path having been destroyed or covered with loose ballast or spoil and the company being unable to, or unwilling to put a cess path back in.

Occasionally, the company will actually have T3 occupations purely for scrap recovery.
 

Dstock7080

Established Member
Joined
17 Feb 2010
Messages
2,037
Location
West London
Rail left in the four foot can also travel in the direction that trains move, and then damage signalling cables, OHL return bonding wiring, AWS equipment, TPWS equipment or ATP equipment.

The reasons for new rail being left in the four foot are normally due to a rerailing programme having been postponed or cancelled.
LU now secure new long welded rail sections on special bearers for these reasons:
 

Attachments

  • EEE86410-8E33-4B59-81E2-7619F9706A59.jpeg
    EEE86410-8E33-4B59-81E2-7619F9706A59.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 81
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top