Stourbridge Shuttle Suspended 08/05/2022

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dk1

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Does WMR operate any DOO services? The more trains that have guards the better in my opinion regardless of how small they are.
 

Efini92

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Does WMR operate any DOO services? The more trains that have guards the better in my opinion regardless of how small they are.
I don’t think WMR operate it, it’s just branded as WMR. I believe it’s bus drivers that drive it.
 
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I'm sure several single track branches in this country are One engine in steam, including St Ives and Ormskirk and they haven't yet been "crunched" Can drivers of failed trains on such lines not simply be banned from fixing them or moving once 1Z99 has started moving towards it and 1Z99 be banned from exceeding 5mph under emergency permissive working?

Both St Ives and Ormskirk are operated with a token system not dissimilar to the Stourbridge system, as are Newquay, Looe, Marlow, Barnstaple, Kirkby, Whitby and several others

Ormskirk at the Merseyrail end is continuously track circuited and fully signalled. Single terminus lines that are either partially or continuously track circuited and signalled (and I include axle counters in this) include Henley, Windsor, Southminster, Braintree and a number of others. I’ve deliberately chosen those four because they are currently (and have been for a number of years) operated DOO, which is permitted, as there is a continuous system of train detection.

Those are essentially your two options for a single terminus line signalling wise. The first is significantly cheaper to design, install and maintain, which is why it’s still in use at the number of locations that it is

Any system that revolves purely around verbal safeguards and written orders cannot be used as a normal method of signalling in this country, it’s illegal, it’s unsafe, and it’s not going anywhere. The system you describe would be the basis of what is employed if the system should fail for any reason, but it’s too open to catastrophic human failure to use as a normal method. The guiding principle of signalling in this country is under normal signalling it should be physically impossible for a signaller to crash two trains together, which under both these systems, it is

Does the guard undertake revenue duties, to offset the expense of a second person?
Yes
 

Dai Corner

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The guiding principle of signalling in this country is under normal signalling it should be physically impossible for a signaller to crash two trains together, which under both these systems, it is
There are many locations where two trains are 'crashed together' in a controlled manner in order to couple up and continue as one train,
 
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I am sorry but that is a typical railway answer, this is how we do it so it cannot change.

Train 1 breaks down, train 2 passes red signal to rescue it, train 1 fixes itself and gets going crunch, please explain why a system using one engine in steam and signals would have different results in these circumstances.

In both scenarios the driver of train 1 would be instructed not to move without permission, and if that instruction was ignored the consequences would be the same.
First of all one engine in steam is not signalled so who would instruct the drivers? And if it is signalled it needs signals, and the cheapest form of signalling is the one currently in place

If it’s a typical railway answer to not wish to crash trains into each other, and to take every practical safeguard to avoid doing that, then quite frankly I’m willing to take that

If there was some actual, real, compelling reason to change the current method of signalling I’m sure it’d be done, but people being annoyed at seeing two staff members on a train they deem to be too small for them is not that reason
 

Railsigns

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Token (or more accurately train staff) working is already present, and has been since the early 1990s. To install another signalling system, as I’ve said, would be a lot of expenditure for very minimal return (which is probably why the train staff system was left as it was when the line was resignalled seven or eight years ago)

“One engine in steam” hasn’t been permitted on the national network for a number of years on a very simple basis

The Stourbridge Town branch, like many others in the UK, is worked by the One Train Working (with train staff) method. One Train Working is just a new name for One Engine in Steam. It's still permitted as a method of working.

Train 1 breaks down
Train 2 comes to rescue it
Train 1 fixes itself and gets moving
Train 2 is still coming towards it
Crunch

All the safeguards that would prevent such a situation happening in a “one engine in steam” scenario are essentially verbal or written orders. These are not deemed sufficient protection for an operational railway and the passengers and staff using it in this country (see the Andria-Corato collision as to why), hence the presence of some sort of signalling system on the entire national network.

An alternative method of working with continuous train detection wouldn't reduce the risk in that scenario. The risk is managed by following the rules, specifically by not moving the failed train until the assisting train arrives, unless alternative arrangements have been agreed.
 
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There are many locations where two trains are 'crashed together' in a controlled manner in order to couple up and continue as one train,
Indeed, but equally the signalling for that to take place is in a controlled manner and gives specific instructions to the driver as to the way they should proceed.

Granted, this relies on the driver carrying out these instructions and not continuing at an excessive speed, but no more so than obeying any other signal
 

craigybagel

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That *thing* is not “the railway”. Does an oversized dogem car really need signals?

Anyone on here willing to admit to actually crewing it? It must be an amusing day out. :D
It's qualified people doing a job, providing a service transporting the public. I'm not sure what exactly they need to "admit to".
I am sorry but that is a typical railway answer, this is how we do it so it cannot change.

Train 1 breaks down, train 2 passes red signal to rescue it, train 1 fixes itself and gets going crunch, please explain why a system using one engine in steam and signals would have different results in these circumstances.

In both scenarios the driver of train 1 would be instructed not to move without permission, and if that instruction was ignored the consequences would be the same.
And this is the typical answer from someone not employed by the railway, who thinks he's best to tear up the safety rules just because it makes life easier.

As long as it's a part of the national network, then all the rules need to apply. If they want tramway rules, then they need to turn it into a tramway. It may seem like overkill in this particular case, but you can't have compromises where safety is concerned.

In any case, it's not like there's any issues with manning it with two crews. It means revenue duties are carried out onboard (far more frequently than seems to be the case on other services in that area) and given the staff are cross trained to act both as guards and drivers, I've never known of them struggling for staff.

It works well - so why change it?
 
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The Stourbridge Town branch, like many others in the UK, is worked by the One Train Working (with train staff) method. One Train Working is just a new name for One Engine in Steam. It's still permitted as a method of working.
I’m afraid this isn’t the case, one engine in steam is (or was) completely unsignalled with no safeguards for its operation whatsoever.

OTW with train staff relies on the train staff being unlocked from a machine under the signaller’s authority, and no other trains can enter the single line until the train staff is returned, except in very limited and specific circumstances.

(OTW without train staff, incidentally, essentially uses the occupation of a track circuit or axle counter section as the train staff. It is exclusively used where there are track circuits at one end of the section. There are no track circuits at all on the Stourbridge branch, not even in the platform at Junction)

OTW being the same as OEIS is sadly a misconception, albeit common

An alternative method of working with continuous train detection wouldn't reduce the risk in that scenario. The risk is managed by following the rules, specifically by not moving the failed train until the assisting train arrives, unless alternative arrangements have been agreed.
Not enough, I’m afraid
 

craigybagel

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The Stourbridge Town branch, like many others in the UK, is worked by the One Train Working (with train staff) method. One Train Working is just a new name for One Engine in Steam. It's still permitted as a method of working.
True, but is it not the case that access to the branch requires possession of the staff, in that the staff is required to operate the points to access the branch from the mainline?
 

Railsigns

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I’m afraid this isn’t the case, one engine in steam is (or was) completely unsignalled with no safeguards for its operation whatsoever.

...

OTW being the same as OEIS is sadly a misconception, albeit common
I'm afraid it is the case that OTW is just a new name for OEIS, adopted after the demise of steam. An excerpt from the 1960 General Appendix is attached; notice the reference to the train staff. The term One Engine in Steam was replaced by One Train Working in the 1972 edition.
 

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I'm afraid it is the case that OTW is just a new name for OEIS, adopted after the demise of steam. An excerpt from the 1960 General Appendix is attached; notice the reference to the train staff. The term One Engine in Steam was replaced by One Train Working in the 1972 edition.
That may be the case, but OEIS did not always have a train staff. That was, at best, a post Abermule development. The name should probably have been changed then when the train staff was introduced. Anyway, semantics.
 

InOban

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As long as it's a part of the national network, then all the rules need to apply. If they want tramway rules, then they need to turn it into a tramway. It may seem like overkill in this particular case, but you can't have compromises where safety is concerned.
Safety is always a compromise. ALARP - as low as reasonably possible /practical. And that includes cost - there is a price used by risk analysts for death or injury.
 

philthetube

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It's qualified people doing a job, providing a service transporting the public. I'm not sure what exactly they need to "admit to".

And this is the typical answer from someone not employed by the railway, who thinks he's best to tear up the safety rules just because it makes life easier.

As long as it's a part of the national network, then all the rules need to apply. If they want tramway rules, then they need to turn it into a tramway. It may seem like overkill in this particular case, but you can't have compromises where safety is concerned.

In any case, it's not like there's any issues with manning it with two crews. It means revenue duties are carried out onboard (far more frequently than seems to be the case on other services in that area) and given the staff are cross trained to act both as guards and drivers, I've never known of them struggling for staff.

It works well - so why change it?
Correct but only because I retired last year, admittedly I was on the underground, but that does not mean that I do not understand the principles and necessity of 100% safe signalling.

Whatever failure occours, be it stock or track rules have to be written to allow alternative working, this will always have some risk of humans either ignoring or not following the rules correctly.

The rules for one person operation would need to be rewritten and only if the replacements were up to the job should the originals be ripped up.

All rules don't apply on the national network do not apply to any line, the rules appropriate for that route, equipment etc. apply

I Have no idea what revenue take is on the line and if there would be another way to deal with this, however double crewing will be costing in excess of £200,000 annually so should be looked at
 

pdeaves

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An additional reason for having the specific two crew setup on the Stourbridge Shuttle whereby the driver and guard swap roles at each end is that it minimises turnaround times, something important on a single train shuttle that runs on a high frequency
Regularly swapping who drives minimises boredom/complacency, which is where mistakes creep in. Many lines around the country have a maximum number of times a driver can drive the route without a break (that is, drive somewhere else; I don't mean PNB type break).
 

Efini92

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Regularly swapping who drives minimises boredom/complacency, which is where mistakes creep in. Many lines around the country have a maximum number of times a driver can drive the route without a break (that is, drive somewhere else; I don't mean PNB type break).
Have you got any examples of that?
 

philthetube

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Gatwick express crews used to multi task, in that sometimes they would drive and sometimes other duties, I remember this being commented on when they regularly had zero spads.
 
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So they are only allowed to drive that route so many times before they have to drive a different route?
Correct

Incidentally Stourbridge (Sheerness and Lymington are other examples) never had this requirement, even when it was a 153 it was oftentimes the same crew all day, excluding breaks

Correct but only because I retired last year, admittedly I was on the underground, but that does not mean that I do not understand the principles and necessity of 100% safe signalling.

Whatever failure occours, be it stock or track rules have to be written to allow alternative working, this will always have some risk of humans either ignoring or not following the rules correctly.

The rules for one person operation would need to be rewritten and only if the replacements were up to the job should the originals be ripped up.

All rules don't apply on the national network do not apply to any line, the rules appropriate for that route, equipment etc. apply

I Have no idea what revenue take is on the line and if there would be another way to deal with this, however double crewing will be costing in excess of £200,000 annually so should be looked at

Even assuming double crewing does not offset any of this expenditure by the income from revenue, and the rostering flexibility and consequent avoidance of cancellations it allows (if someone operating the PPM goes sick there’s twice the number of people to fill the gap in the roster), making the line fully signalled would more than likely cost a seven figure sum as a direct cost alone.

There will be substantial line closures associated with this
process, which will likely take several years, so that pushes the revenue down, and the indirect costs up. Not to mention lost revenue from the lack of checks.

As for the never eliminate risk point, the as low as reasonably practical point someone made above applies. Eliminating the requirement for a second person on passenger trains on non continuously track circuited passenger lines (of which there are none on London Underground, nor have there been since before OPO started) will raise risk above that which is reasonably practical, which is why it has not happened.

The Stourbridge area was resignalled 8 or so years ago. If there was a real operational or financial need for a different mode of signalling, one would have been installed then. There isn’t, so there wasn’t
 
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peteb

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The Stourbridge town "car" is actually a vital link (albeit only 3/4 mile long) to the junction. A bus can take 10 minutes to negotiate the very congested roads at peak hours, the "car" takes 3 minutes, even at its sluggish 20mph top speed (rarely experienced that except when the dmu went through the buffers in the 1970s)! Not sure why jointed track was replaced, surely much easier to fix a defect on an isolated rail than on a cwr length? Yes it's bouncy but it's only a 3 minute ride!!
 

P Binnersley

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As for the never eliminate risk point, the as low as reasonably practical point someone made above applies. Eliminating the requirement for a second person on passenger trains on non continuously track circuited passenger lines (of which there are none on London Underground, nor have there been since before OPO started) will raise risk above that which is reasonably practical, which is why it has not happened.
Generally I would agree, but the Stourbridge branch is a special case. At 3/4 mile long it is shorter than some track circuits, and the railcar has the single line staff which contains the key to the ground frame which is the only access to the line (and probably the depot gated). The easiest way to examine the line if there was a problem would be on foot (15 minutes).

The line is operated by PreMetro Operations Limited under a contract with West Midlands Railway and has its own dedicated staff.
 

D6130

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Gatwick express crews used to multi task, in that sometimes they would drive and sometimes other duties, I remember this being commented on when they regularly had zero spads.
Are you sure you don't mean Heathrow Express crews? They used to multi-task when the 332s were operating under the original franchise.
 
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Sounds as if your constructing an argument in favour of more dedicated or guided busways then.
The cost of that would be similar, as would be converting it to a tramway

As craigybagel has so rightly said, it works well as it is, why change it? As far as I can see the most compelling fact based argument for changing the method of operation is “because it annoys a few forum members to see two members of staff on it”

I’m afraid I haven’t heard a convincing argument so far that the expenditure and inconvenience of changing the method of operation would be worthwhile or would result in a better service being delivered to society
 
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