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GCR TPO set

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by Sidmouth, May 12, 2014.

  1. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    I think there is an issue in heritage railways of reporting and disciplining people.

    On the one hand people are volunteers and the railway don't want people not to volunteer either
    The GCR is set up for SPADs due to its unique double track signalling. Lots of movements, but also only 1 single line token. However, due to the double track, general simplicity of the track layout (compared to say Paddington), general good visibility and low speeds, SPADs present a low risk of serious collision. Clearly however, the management mustn't be complacent and efforts must be made to minimise SPADs. Safety leadership is therefore required. I also I think that leadership in a volunteer environment is different from that in a fully professional environment, and presents its own unique challenges.
     
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  2. Slash

    Slash New Member

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    This will be the hint again that it was vandals / intruders that released the handbrake of the 37.

    I know RoyalScot and i know his concerns were based on the attitudes of individuals and their competence to hold certain positions. He wasn't trying to remove someone so that he or another could then step into the role.
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    How does being double track mean SPADs are more likely?

    Tom
     
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  5. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not hinting anything but simply pointing out that it is entirely possible for an incident not to be the fault of a railway but you seem intent on putting 2 and 2 together and making 5.
     
  6. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's puzzling me too.
     
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  7. NickPreston

    NickPreston New Member

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  8. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    I think many are wondering about that, especially those who use tokenless track circuit block. A SPAD on a steam railway may mean 3 people have erred. Foremost the driver, secondly the firemam/second man and if hauling a train thr guard. Mind it is embarasing when having dropped the handle you see the flagman who had been hiding brhind s bush
     
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  9. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    As already stated in this thread, I know nothing about GCR or the recent incident - but on the general point about vandals/intruders releasing the handbrake on a vehicle not being the affected railway's fault. ...I think a railway would struggle to convince authorities that's the case.

    Depending where the incident occurred there would be questions about what efforts the railway had taken to ensure intruders were prevented from accessing the vehicles, either through fencing or staffing, in the first place. Great swathes of network rail property are now encased in high steel paling fence panels where there is ready public access, where in the past it was simply a post and wire fence. Even once an intruder reaches a vehicle, what precautions did the railway take to ensure they couldn't release any brakes? - are doors to locomotives locked when left unattended, are locks/chains fitted to brake mechanisms to prevent release? If such precautions aren't practical then have chocks been used - so even if brakes are released vehicles won't move.

    Whilst a railway located in a totally rural environment with no background or history of 'unwelcome troublesome guests' might get away with an initial incident, after that I suspect it would be expected for them to guard against the possibility again. I might guess a railway in a more urban location, especially which has known issues with 'visitors' would be expected to undertake such precautions before an incident occurs.

    I hear tell that the NRM at Shildon has had problems in the past with the local yoof accessing the site after closing hours and tending to release brakes on rolling stock stored outside, as a result they have a religious policy of chocking everything parked outside to ensure nothing does go for walk thanks to the actions of vandals. Of course in such situations it is also important to ensure the vehicle is already sitting with weight on the chock before being left, otherwise the savvy intruder would simply remove the chock before removing the brake!

    As already hinted at in the thread, there are precious little occasions in this life where there isn't someone responsible for every incident that might occur.
     
  10. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    You don't subscribe then to the view that users of social media are mainly hysterical, ignorant idiots? ;)
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I'm fairly certain that the loco was unmanned at the time of the crash. I have no idea why the loco ran away, though. People have posted earlier that, if you take out the master key, the compressors stop, even though the engine is still running. You do this to change ends and you would do it for other reasons if you left the loco, such as to have a cuppa, In such cases you should apply the handbrake(s). However, cl 37 handbrakes are notoriously poor, acting on just one axle of each bogie and, if you are only applying one, it's almost a waste of time. They also take a lot of winding too. On the NYMR, the cl 37 is always chocked when it is stabled where it is on a gradient.
     
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  12. Flipper

    Flipper New Member

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    It's probably worth stating here that Tony is not a member of staff on the GCR, and his pronouncements should not be taken to come from any position of authority or, it seems, knowledge !

    Flip (GCR S&T)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
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  13. NBDR Lock

    NBDR Lock New Member

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    A general point chaps. Comparison of incidents on any of today's heritage railways with that at Ladbroke Grove in 1999 (or any other recent main line mishap) cannot really be said to be comparing like with like. Heritage railways largely operate with infrastructure that is of an older standard, typically 1950's. No AWS for example. By that definition alone it can be argued that they are therefore less safe than the modern main line railway. In preserving an older type of railway are we not also preserving a higher level of safety risk?

    (NBDR)L
     
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  14. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    They may or may not be! No way I can comment upon the present incident in particular but in general the existence of Youtube, flickr and the like ought to make people think a bit more about their actions and their consequences. This can only be a good thing if it reduces "happenings".

    PH
     
  15. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    I would argue not inherently. You correctly use the word "risk". If you look at many regulations, standards and indeed statue, the speed of the railway operation is seen as crucial in establishing the measures needed to counter risk. This is not, of course, to say "bad things" can't happen at lower speeds, nor injuries or even death be caused, but the risks of incidents even occurring and also of the severity of their outcome can be heavily affected by the speed concerned. This is a principle reason why AWS or TPWS is not mandatory, as well as the relative complexity and sheer volume of operations.

    You are correct that you cannot compare the central hubs and mainlines of the national network in any era with the lines that (generally, with obvious exceptions) form the heritage railway sector. Hence, you cannot say whether one or the other is safer. The potential risks must be identified and suitable measures take to mitigate them and manage subsidiary risk.

    That is why "modern safety measures" are not considered, after due consideration of the risks concerned and the measures that are required, essential. In essence, the situation is not that Railways without these measures are therefore inherently less safe but that these measures are not needed to reach the required level of risk reduction in the circumstances prevailing. The target level of safety is the same, but the steps necessary to achieve are considered to be fewer (at present).

    Steven
     
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  16. Royalscot

    Royalscot New Member

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    Quick point about that as you mentioned Ladbroke Grove, I wasn't going to add any more: I think I'd agree the two things are not the same, there is simply not the intensity of traffic nor, in general, the speeds involved. Typically heritage railways max out at 25mph. However on a double track line this represents a closing speed of 50mph, which to a mark one or older coach could cause a significant amount of damage and almost certainly death to some of the occupants in those vehicles.

    It is all about relative levels of risk, as always and what is acceptable, what is the culture of the railway and is there clear leadership with a 'safety first' attitude. After all we're talking about 100s of tons of metal and equipment, mixed with staff and members of the public. It is an environment, like it or not, you can kill someone, or end up being placed on a manslaughter charge. The railway can lose significant amounts of money if equipment is damaged, and loss of reputation if accidents happen. My experience is this isn't explained on some railways, nor are clear lines of reporting, nor is safety discussed in team building exercises (should these even exist). It's very often 'turn up and have a go'.

    As someone pointed out any rule book is a sort of historical document of accidents and experience in the history of railways, how to do things (or not). It is absolutely central to everything on the main line network, as well as clear communication. I see no reason it shouldn't be central to a heritage railway, especially as potentially older equipment is used and most people are hobbyists. They often lack significant experience and can easily be led into traps. Additionally with older equipment additional safety guards (such as AWS, central door locking etc) are not there. Again, railways are about teams, accidents generally are not caused by one person, they are caused by underlying issues and a chain of events.

    A lot of this stuff costs very little to implement, accidents and damage to equipment doesn't make any sense financially or morally. Leaning lessons and open dialogue about inquiry findings is essentially in preventing further mishaps. And who wants to volunteer at a place that's a death trap?

    The fact of the matter is I saw very little of this going on. The GCR was most definitely run as a 'mates' railway were people turned up, no welcome pack, and many people were given little training in some cases. Safety wasn't drilled into them at every opportunity. In fact some managers were held in open contempt by pretty much everyone based on their ability to promote and discipline, and to uphold standards.

    This isn't the sort of place I want to spend time, given that mistakes (remember not just mine it's a team operation) can have huge implications for me personally, up to and including my freedom. Like the police and emergency services, the forces, the mainline network, you have to trust the people you work with and if they are not up to the job through slack practices it is not a good place to be, especially when there was no clear guidelines and rules. Slack practices are ultimately the responsibility of management.

    Now to be fair, since they have introduced their own rule book and things have changed. Whether it's like the dieter who buys the book but doesn't go on the diet I do not know. But these recent accidents and subsequent tales make me wonder if they really have 'got it' or insist on blaming others for their failings, time will tell.

    As an end note, the message is in this modern media world where social networking is the norm, it's a fantastic thing preserving all this heritage equipment for future generations to enjoy, We all want heritage railways to prosper and go forward. But I think the most dangerous thing is we preserve the old attitudes that go with it, cutting corners and failing to attract people onto these lines because they find them not a good place to be through poor management. It will most defiantly enure they don't survive in the years ahead.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
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  17. Christoph

    Christoph New Member

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    I have been following this quite closely. Now, after six pages, I feel that one issue has not been properly taken into account.

    Having no rules, inadequate rules, badly communicated rules or a culture of ignoring rules* is one thing where an organisation could be at fault but is also in a position to improve matters.

    However, there are two options which will make accidents and incidents likely, irrespective of rules and indeed experience.

    One is the possibility of sudden and unexpected failure of equipment. No matter how closely you monitor things, there is always the chance that something will happen you never thought about. I have been active in tramway preservation in my native Germany for 23 years and I have seen strange things. Probably the most unexpected incident was a broken handbrake column. We are talking about a massive rod about 2'' to 3 '' in diameter on a recently restored tramcar which simply snapped in two!

    The other is human error. No matter how experienced and careful you are, it is always possible that for some reason you don't know yourself you all of a sudden and only once you act differently to normal routine. Distraction is a major danger here. Something unexpected happens, your attention if briefly drawn to that with catastrophic consequences to what you were doing originally. How many of you had phone calls while cooking and burned your food? Someone being incapacitated all of a sudden can be a problem as well.

    As far as this unfortunate incident is concerned we might have one of the reasons above. There always is a risk and total safety on a railway, in fact in most situations of life, can not be achieved in my view. Unfortunately, and I think the UK is far more prone to that than Germany, this simple fact is not accepted leading to what from the other side of the channel looks like a sometimes rather ambigous Health & Safety culture.

    Christoph


    * On the matter of rules, I have experienced some rules in the UK which to me and quite a few others were just unexplicable and not explained. I would not rule out that some rules are made so that someone can excercise greater control over something. To me these over-zealous rules are just as dangerous as no rules, as they carry the seed of ignoring rules in them. A case "of, ignore it, just another of Bill's/Tom's/Harry's petty rules"?
     
  18. Flipper

    Flipper New Member

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    Speaking purely from my own experience on the GCR, I can utterly refute the above !

    I turned up out of the blue, knowing nobody on the railway. My training consisted of an initial assessment and then extensive one-on-one basic safety and role training tailored to my experience level, more detailed professional instruction and mentoring over a period of years, a training plan, ongoing professional development and assessment, peer review, rule book briefings and assessments . . . .

    The safety of the railway was most definitely drilled into me at every opportunity, and still is, and in turn I help inculcate it into others.

    I agree that I didn't get a "welcome pack" though, although that is of little concern to me - it's a bloody railway, not weightwatchers !

    Finally, I'm happy to say that I have the utmost respect for my Line Manager, both professionally and personally.

    Flip
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  19. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    All true, but need to bear in mind that the GCR is cleared for 75mph running, isn't it…?

    [EDIT]I'm not sure I'd use 'lack of red tape' as a sales pitch… http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/special-services/testing/

    Simon
     
  20. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    There are people reading this who (a) are experts and (b) do work on these railways. They don't necessarily identify themselves readily, as it isn't always appropriate to do so.

    If being paid is a measure of professionalism then God help us. I know many rail industry full-time employees in a number of different organisations and many of them are superbly competent individuals, others less so, and one or two I wouldn't trust further than I could throw. At least two (maybe three) that I have worked with have done or are serving time in prison, and I can't say that about any heritage railway volunteers I've come across. Indeed I have come across volunteers who are the very epitome of professionalism (although, again, there are also some I wouldn't trust!). Competency management may be something we can talk about, but please don't equate it with remuneration, the two are completely unrelated.

    On the basis of what I've heard third-hand and putting two and two together... I'm not even personally sure if the people involved know precisely what happened. Which is why we need to wait for the inquiry to do its job (and we need to hope that it can do so objectively, thoroughly, and free from interference).
     

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