Railway terminology

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dbrb2

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Hi

I'm working with a lot of railway people at the moment, and was hoping someone could clear up a bit of terminology for me!

I know that some works on track require closures, whilst others can be conducted whilst trains are running.

In the latter category it seems that sometimes "line blockages" are required, which seems to invoice phoning through to the signaller to request signals be set to red for the section?

Sometimes though this is apparently not required, with staff able to walk up the side of the line for minor works with trains passing.

Is this down to the work being carried out? The qualifications of the staff present? Or some combination of the two.....or something else again?

Thanks!
 
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SignallerJohn

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You have red zone and green zone working.

Red zone is while trains are running and you have a lookout present such as someone stood there to warn the staff of an oncoming train, or a system that makes an audible alarm to move clear. As signallers we won’t know when this is happening unless you’re outside the signalling centre and you might inform us (and leave your number in case of a failure that may or may not be your fault).

Green zone is where a line blockage or possession is in place, LBs are to be given up for the passage of trains whereas a possession is generally on until work is complete and can’t be given up (although this has now changed in recent years and can be given up for passage of a special train if published or agreed upon). In regards to signals being at danger, this isn’t always the case, signal protection can be points maintained in the opposite position so the route is blocked.

You also have work that can be done from the cess or relay rooms where they will ask the signaller while they affect the signalling system but aren’t on track.

There is a movement to ban all red zone working and to have all line blockages done with additional protection.
 

dbrb2

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Ok cool. So for green zone workung you might phone the signaller and ask for permission to use the area between X and Y o'clock, and either get permission or not.

If you get it, you can work without a lookout but have to stop if your time expires or the signaller requests it?

Red zone is working without notifying the signaller but with a lookout, but is frowned upon, if not explicitly banned?

Does the type of work being carried out influence the choice of red Vs green?

Cheers!
 

37201xoIM

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Also note that the red zone is for immediate loading and unloading only. There is no stopping in the white zone.
 

GB

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There is a movement to ban all red zone working and to have all line blockages done with additional protection.
that will do wonders for Signaller’s workloads and I imagine would eventually end up having the opposite affect of what they are trying to achieve.
 

Annetts key

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Hi

I'm working with a lot of railway people at the moment, and was hoping someone could clear up a bit of terminology for me!

I know that some works on track require closures, whilst others can be conducted whilst trains are running.

In the latter category it seems that sometimes "line blockages" are required, which seems to invoice phoning through to the signaller to request signals be set to red for the section?

Sometimes though this is apparently not required, with staff able to walk up the side of the line for minor works with trains passing.

Is this down to the work being carried out? The qualifications of the staff present? Or some combination of the two.....or something else again?

Thanks!

You have red zone and green zone working.

Red zone is while trains are running...

Green zone is where a line blockage or possession is in place...

Note that the railway officially dropped the terms ‘red zone working’ and ‘green zone working’ many years ago, but the new terms have not really caught on...

This is the railway, life on the railway is very complex...

ALL work where staff (employees or contractors) are required to work on or near the line (as defined in the rule book) must have a safe system of work pack, which includes details of the safe method of work including the protection from being hit by a train. Further, the first choice in which system to use must be the safest (close all lines at the site of work to all trains), and only if this system is not practical can you select the next safest, working down until the less desirable unassisted lookout system. For all work except emergencies, this has to be properly planned by the planner and the person in charge (preferably the person in charge on the day(s) of the work).

Note that for clarity, I’m ignoring the Safe Work Leader system. As most Network Rail staff don’t use this system.

At all work sites, there must be a person in charge (PIC) or equivalent. The PIC has overall control and is the person responsible for every team members safety. The PIC may carry out the duties of the controller of site safety (COSS) or may appoint a suitably competent team member to do these duties. The COSS is only responsible for ensuring the staff are safe from being hit by a train, not the safety of the staff from the hazards of the work.

At night or over weekends, often T3 possessions of the line(s) are taken, in which the control of a predetermined/predefined area is transferred from the signaller to a PICOP (person in charge of possession). Then a person responsible for a worksite called an Engineering Supervisor (ES) will request permission from the PICOP to set-up their worksite. Each PIC/COSS will then sign in and be briefed by the ES before starting work.

T3 possessions are always planned many weeks and months in advance unless emergency engineering works are needed. A T3 is normally planned to either take place during a time when there is no booked services, or services are diverted or cancelled.

Where a T3 has not been planned, or the work is to take place in between trains, then the preferred method is a line block (LB).

Line blocks can be all lines at a worksite or just some or one line blocked. There are a number of methods used to provide protection when taking a line block. It depends on the signalling system in use and the actual practically. Common in my area, is for the signaller to put on EPRs on the axle counter sections (these controls prevent them accidentally clearing a signal towards a worksite). Signal disconnection, removal of a token (for single lines), or detonator protection are some others.

If any lines remain open, the COSS will appoint a site warden, unless there is sufficient distance from the nearest open line, or a fence or barrier is present between the work site and any open lines.

A site warden is responsible for warning any member of staff who wanders towards any open line.

To take a line block, the COSS must agree the arrangements with the signaller. No work can start until both the COSS and the signaller have agreed everything, and the signaller has given an authority number to the COSS. The details include the location, the lines affected, and between which signals or points, the duration of time required, the telephone number, employer and name of the COSS. The number of all the protecting signals. All this is recorded by both the signaller and the COSS, each on their forms.

In some regions, unassisted lookout is no longer permitted for work on an open line. It can only be used to walking to a work site,

Where lookout protection is permitted, then the COSS must set up a safe system, taking into account the nature of the work, how long it takes for the staff to walk to the position of safety (a safe place in the cess away from a open line), the line speed and direction of trains, the sighting distance that a lookout can see a train from. If a distant lookout or a touch lookout is/are required. All these must be carefully worked out and recorded on the form. Also the method of warning (shout, whistle, horn, flag, touch). Then the lookout(s) must be appointed by the COSS and instructed on where they are to go and what their duties are.

Only once the lookout(s) are in position can the work then start.

When a lookout spots a train, they will give a warning. The site lookout will normally shout, blow a whistle, or a horn. All staff must then walk to the position of safety immediately and stay there until the COSS tells them it is safe to resume working.

There are various systems to aid lookout systems, but this post is already way too long.

All COSS qualified staff are trained to set up both line block and lookout systems. Lookouts are trained to carry out both lookout duties and site warden duties.

Not all staff are trained on the various equipment for assisted lookout systems.

If the work affects the safety of the line, then it has to be done in a T3 or certain work can be done in a line block. But you cannot use a lookout system.

If it’s not practical to use a lookout system (not enough sighting distance) then it must be done in a T3 or line block.

that will do wonders for Signaller’s workloads and I imagine would eventually end up having the opposite affect of what they are trying to achieve.

Most signal boxes/panels/workstations now have limits on how many line blocks can be taken simultaneously. Some also have limits on how many times the same line block can be taken.

And yes, there have been some mistakes resulting in trains entering line blocks. Although staff misunderstanding what lines are closed to traffic and what lines are open to traffic, or the actual limits of the line block also occur.
 
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Annetts key

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I’m sure this may have seen the light of day before, but anyway, for those that have not seen it before, here goes...
The railway has a vocabulary all of its own and huge numbers of abbreviations. These
can be confusing to anyone who speaks English and those few managers not certified
as jibberish-competent. So here is the DBHS guide to some of the more common
acronyms used every day by the railway's safety professionals.
If you know of others we have left out, please email us.

Track Safety Competencies
PTS - Pointless Trivia Surplus
COSS - Create Obligatory Safety Scapegoat
IWA - Inevitable Walking Accident (or Idiot Wandering About)

Equipment
PLB - Persistently Left Behind
TCOD - Try Carrying Ordinary Detonators (or Two Chances Of a Disaster)
TPWS - Trains Pass With Stealth

Organisations/Committees
ATOC - Authorised Theft Of Commuters
DfT - Disastrous for Travellers
HMRI - Hardly Merits Regulatory Influence
HSE - Hysteria & Stupidity Extolled
RAIB - Read About It Belatedly
RSSB - Resistance Stifles Safety Benefits
TOMSC - Total Opposition to Meaningful and Straightforward Communications

Resources
SMIS - Secure Manslaughter Indemnity Scheme

General Terminology
ALARP - Agree Limits Averting Real Progress
SPAD - Signal Placement Acutely Deficient
SPIN - Statistics Promote Inaccurate Notions

Rule Book Module Titles
G1 - Things to forget when appointed to a management post
G2 - Personal safety when stumbling through the undergrowth
T6 - Theoretical placement of one foot in front of the other
T12 - Protecting personnel with a chocolate fireguard
T2 - Protecting work or a hand trolley in 374 easy steps
T7 - Safe systems of work on Utopian Railways
T3 - Possession of the line for longer than expected
 
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