The most dangerous station approach ??

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Lddex, 26 Apr 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Lddex

    Lddex Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    13 Jan 2015
    Location:
    UK
    The other week I heard two old guys talking on the train as we came into piccadilly where one of them stated that Manchester Picc had the potential to be the most dangerous station in the UK as trains need to cross from the east lines to platform 13/14 and vice versa while there are a large number of commuter trains entering and leaving.

    I was wondering if there is any truth in this and if anyone knew if not MCR PICC then which station. I know MAN is by no means the busiest. I know there is heavy safety in the railway now, and cabs are fitted with automatic brakes if they go through a red, and if the signals are working then trains will be fine, which I think is why they said potential.
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  2. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    Trains can quite safely cross each others' routes - the signals won't allow any to depart on a path conflicting with any other. There aren't any dangerous station approaches.
     
  3. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

    Messages:
    5,301
    Joined:
    24 Feb 2007
    Location:
    Redcar
    Sounds like two old guys trying to make eachother think they know more than they actually do.
     
  4. Michael.Y

    Michael.Y Established Member

    Messages:
    1,377
    Joined:
    14 Oct 2011
    The most dangerous surely has to be Paddington, as that's the only one in recent memory to have suffered an accident, the causes of which are well known and have since been remedied.
     
  5. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

    Messages:
    1,356
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2012
    Location:
    Within earshot of trains passing the one and half
    Hmmm, they have a faint point. At a junction, risk increases with increasing numbers of trains encountering signals at Stop and with increasing train speed (assuming nothing else is altered). The second doesn't apply much at Picc because it is already running under a permanent reduction in speed from its design speed anyway.

    The first one is a valid point, as Ardwick is a bit of a nightmare with crossing services, but it is so close to Picc. that southbound trains will just get held and northbound drivers will be crawling to try and work out which MLRI is which ... :lol:
     
  6. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

    Messages:
    2,829
    Joined:
    17 Jun 2007
    Location:
    Southampton
    A way of measuring danger could be the number of SPADs that a signal has had. I recall a BBC article a while back with a cab ride from Bournemouth to Southampton on a Voyager. On approach to Soton Central, it was mentioned that the signal on the up slow before the station had additional white and blue surrounds to make it more obvious to drivers. It was apparently the most SPADed signal in the country at the time.
     
  7. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

    Messages:
    6,648
    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Location:
    Another planet...
    Did the people cited in the OP perhaps mean "most complex" perhaps? In that case, the throat of Piccadilly would certainly qualify with all the conflicting movements, though most of these will be removed under the Hub proposals.

    Talk of "danger" really comes with the caveat of "...If something goes wrong.".
     
  8. scott118

    scott118 Member

    Messages:
    866
    Joined:
    24 Feb 2015
    Location:
    East Anglia
    define danger? The station with the most platforms, or the one with a single platform, rarely stopped at, on a falling gradient, in a known low adhesion area, where the starter signal is a multi spad signal, because of this. Personally, i know which would get my full attention.
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  9. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

    Messages:
    1,356
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2012
    Location:
    Within earshot of trains passing the one and half
    Surely?
     
  10. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,024
    Joined:
    21 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I'd wager that the most dangerous approach to most stations is from the road outside, not from the railway.
     
  11. scott118

    scott118 Member

    Messages:
    866
    Joined:
    24 Feb 2015
    Location:
    East Anglia
    home, starter, protecting? 'surely' they do the same job, unless you are now going to advise me that a distant, does the very same? Potato, potahto...
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  12. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    2,985
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    Depending on the definition of dangerous there are two categories which I can see which as Complex and High Speed.

    Piccadilly for example is used by many trains and there are many conflicting movements which as you say makes it complex. The trains going in and out of Piccadilly though aren't travelling very fast so in the very unlikely event of an accident the low speed of the trains should prevent a major incident. This is a complex station approach.

    Norton Bridge on the other hand isn't used by anywhere near as many trains however it is a major junction with trains travelling at very high speeds so if there was a collision there the result would catastrophic much more so than Piccadilly although the Automatic Train Protection should prevent this happening. This is an example of a high speed approach.

    I should mention both these situations are purely hypothetical.
     
  13. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    There's no Automatic Train Protection at Norton Bridge or Piccadilly...
     
  14. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,394
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    Is there ATP on the WCML? I honestly thought it was a GWML thing only.

    Edit: Cross-posted with PermitToTravel.
     
  15. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

    Messages:
    2,732
    Joined:
    29 Nov 2012
    Location:
    Norwich
    Someone has already mentioned Paddington. Was Ladbroke Grove not mostly blamed on a complex station throat given a mix of high approach speeds and lots of close signals and opportunities to cross read?
     
  16. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,757
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    I have no idea what you are going on about, sorry. Trains have to cross the approach to the station but they are controlled, like the rest of the network, by signals.
     
  17. Railsigns

    Railsigns Established Member

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    15 Feb 2010
    There is ATP on the GWML, the Chiltern Line and the Cambrian Line.
     
  18. Joseph_Locke

    Joseph_Locke Established Member

    Messages:
    1,356
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2012
    Location:
    Within earshot of trains passing the one and half
    In context, I took "starter" to be the signal beyond the station (which would be for you) and thus "protecting" would be signal on the approach to the station (so would be for the driver about to hit you).

    I was a bit more generic that saying "home", which would only apply in AB areas ("starter" is deprecated anyway, though commonly used).
     
  19. Welshman

    Welshman Established Member

    Messages:
    2,487
    Joined:
    11 Mar 2010
    The commentary, written by Peter Middleton, on Video 125's "Transpenninexpress [sic] - Driver's eye View" states that:-

    "a blanket speed restriction of 20mph has been imposed on all lines in and out of Manchester Piccadilly, following the Ladbroke Grove Collision". It goes on to state that "signal MP324 on the up fast line has been identified as the second-most-likely signal to be passed at danger, after the signals at Ladbroke Grove."

    Perhaps it was this video the OP's elderly gentlemen had viewed, and were keen to share their "knowledge"
     
  20. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,394
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ah, yes - completely forgot it was installed on the Chiltern line. :oops: Cambrian is ETCS though, isn't it?
     
  21. Railsigns

    Railsigns Established Member

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    15 Feb 2010
    Yes; ETCS incorporates ATP.
     
  22. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

    Messages:
    10,182
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    Both true, but the WCML has TPWS and TASS.
    Norton Bridge is currently 90mph and probably TASS does not apply (only over 110mph), but it will apply when the junction is removed and speeds are raised.

    BR ATP is fitted to the GWML (4 tracks to Airport Jn, main lines beyond as far as Bristol TM/Parkway and Newbury), also to Heathrow.
    SEL ATP is fitted on the Chiltern lines (Marylebone to Aynho and Aylesbury - except the LU section).
    ERTMS (provides ATP) is fitted on the Cambrian lines and is due to go in on the GWML (replacing the BR system) and ECML routes by 2020.
     
  23. colchesterken

    colchesterken Member

    Messages:
    512
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Wendover on the run to Aylesbury was fun in the old days I suspect the brakes on the old DMU s were not as good as now, it is a steep downhill into the station and on a couple of occasions we overshot, could have been leaves on the line as well
     
  24. Railsigns

    Railsigns Established Member

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    15 Feb 2010
    Not sure what you mean by this. TASS operates in areas where the line speed is much lower than 110 mph.
     
  25. D6975

    D6975 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,962
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Bristol
    When I read the topic title, that's what I thought it was about. You're much more likely to have an accident on the road outside a station than on the train.
     
  26. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,024
    Joined:
    21 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    In part yes, although a bit far out to be described as a station throat. Other reasons included poor driver training and the lack of a train protection system on the Thames Trains unit. TPWS had been developed at the time but was awaiting government funding for installation, and because of it most station throats are a lot safer now than they were a couple of decades back.
     
  27. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

    Messages:
    1,848
    Joined:
    20 May 2013
    Another issue was a lack of flank protection, such that the "runaway" DMU was routed into the path of the HST instead of away from it.
     
  28. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,332
    Joined:
    10 May 2010
    Thats because there should have been a sand trap after the signal but with the intended introduction of ATP it was decided (on financial grounds) not to bother installing it.

    This decision took place after the track layout (with sand trap) had been approved and signed off.
     
    Last edited: 27 Apr 2015
  29. Pigeon

    Pigeon Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    8 Apr 2015
    This is illogical, Captain.

    See attached sketch: there were three routes (red) available after passing SN109: first, to the down (points 1, the route the train was intended to take); second, to the up (points 2, the route it did take); and third, to the down again but some distance further on (the route it would have taken had the flank protection been intelligently implemented). The only place in such a layout that a sand trap could have been installed, both from the viewpoint of physical possibility and that of making sense, would have been as a straight-on continuation (via trap points, points 3) of the third route before it joined the down (mucky yellow colour "Sand?"). For it to work, points 2 would have had to default to the normal position - which is the same as required for flank protection without the sand trap. So for the omission of the sand trap to result in the loss of flank protection there would have had to be a deliberate decision to change the default state of points 2 at the same time.

    I remember this being extensively discussed in RAIL at the time - which memory is the source of my sketch - but I don't remember anything being concluded as to why it was the way it was; I was just left with the impression that nobody had thought of it.

    I don't remember anything in the report about why it was the way it was, either. In fact I thought the report was severely deficient in the way it skated over the matter. As I remember it there was no more than a page or so, maybe less, in the whole vast tome discussing it, and a one-sentence mention in the recommendations for action which was expressed in very weedy terms.

    Given that sorting it would have been a single-bit change, and would have prevented the accident (though for sure at risk of a less serious one), the lack of attention paid to it was badly negligent.

    The report also gave the strong impression that a large though unstated part of its purpose was to minimise political embarrassment by deflecting criticism of the deficiencies introduced by privatisation. Bluntly, the Thames Trains driver was not a railwayman. He was a chap who had come in off the street, been crammed through inadequate training at high speed - inadequate particularly in its coverage of the routes out of Paddington, and also inadequate in its assumption that a period of high speed cramming is a valid substitute for the sense of responsibility and overall understanding of how railways work that comes from years of actual experience - and then effectively chucked in at the deep end and expected to work trains over a complex route which he didn't know properly and which was confusing even for long-served drivers. He then proceeded to make several mistakes in succession, each compounding the effects of the last:

    - missed the signal
    - cancelled and ignored the AWS
    - continued over a wrong route
    - accelerated when he was already in a situation that he should have known to be out of order

    (It appears to my mind that he was likely thinking in terms of driving cars, where "put the hammer down and hope", while not to be recommended, nevertheless does often work as a means of retrieving an embarrassing situation after you've cocked up, and failing to appreciate that on the railway it is by contrast a guarantee of disaster. Trying to put myself in the same situation I can certainly appreciate that there is a temptation to do it.)

    All this was in the report, but very much de-emphasised. There was far more coverage of the sighting difficulties with SN109 than of Thames Trains's recruitment and training procedures. Of course the sighting matter was important, but the reason it had such a disastrous effect was that several incorrect actions were taken after missing the signal, and the responsibility for these actions is down to the driver himself and to the inadequate training and lack of experience he had been given by Thames Trains. But the way the report presents it is to focus an inordinate amount of attention on SN109 and to pretty much shrug off the matter of inadequate training and inexperience as "that's just how it is these days, we can use TPWS to sweep it under the carpet".

    Of course, if the report had put an appropriate amount of emphasis on training and experience, pointing out that the changes of privatisation had resulted in Thames Trains - and others - deploying inadequately-trained drivers on a large scale and being emphatic about the need for improved training of drivers and their recruitment only from among those who had already worked on the railway for long enough to get into the habit of "thinking like railwaymen", there would have been a massive outcry from politicians, TOCs and passengers alike. But the purpose of such reports is to identify causes and recommend measures to prevent their recurrence, and to de-emphasise those aspects of the causes which might embarrass someone is to negate their own purpose.

    (I'm not denying that experienced drivers sometimes also do stupid things - the recent Tangmere SPAD is a case in point - but there are a whole slew of incidents which we never get to hear about because the driver has reacted correctly after realising the initial mistake and so avoided any deleterious consequences. I think it should go without saying that an experienced, long-served driver is considerably more likely to "fail safe" than an inadequately-trained raw recruit.)
     

    Attached Files:

    • lg.png
      lg.png
      File size:
      3.9 KB
      Views:
      52
  30. Senex

    Senex Established Member

    Messages:
    1,298
    Joined:
    1 Apr 2014
    Location:
    York
    So what is the design speed for the current Piccadilly layout?

    I've always been surprised by the very low speeds here, despite the good straight approach, in comparison with other sites. Euston was done for 20 on all routes in the 60s, whilst Piccadilly was still for 15 on many connections. Just a few years later the Western Region got 25 on all routes on the difficult curved Bristol TM layout and then 25 for all the main-line routes at Paddington. And in the 90s rebuild Paddington went to 40 on all main-line routes. OK so you have to be cautious coming in to a terminal, but the difference between 15 and 40 for departures is very considerable (just look at some of the big German stations). And at Piccadilly times leaving the station to passing Ardwick and then Slade Lane are actually significantly slower nowadays than they were forty years ago.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page