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Standard minimum number of footplate turns - Could it improve safety

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by burnettsj, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. burnettsj

    burnettsj New Member

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    The railway I volunteer on has a minimum number of footplate turns of 8 per annum - should there be a national standard?

    Stephen
     
  2. sycamore

    sycamore New Member

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    Re: 71000 Incident: ELR 26th February

    What happens if you only run weekends, say 104 running days with one train? That’s only 13 drivers if a day is classed as a turn!!! There are such a wide range of preserved railway operations that I'm not sure a 'standard' could exist...

    Will
     
  3. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Re: 71000 Incident: ELR 26th February

    You know, simular things were said about the Railway Clearing house in the early days, about how with so many different companies with a wide range of working practices and challenges that there could be no standard, so I would say on face value, yes, a standard could exist. Standardising working practices. rules, and minimum standards across the preservation movement can only be a good thing.
     
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  4. conireland

    conireland New Member

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    Re: 71000 Incident: ELR 26th February

    Maybe a proportional system could be used? Set a standard for a railway which operates 100 days per year, then alter up and down as required keeping within the proportions which are set. For example, if a driver needs to work 10 turns a year on a 100 operating day line, they would have to work 9 on one with 90, 11 on one with 110 days and so on
     
  5. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    Re: 71000 Incident: ELR 26th February

    Casey Jones, he mounted to the cab.....with his orders in his hand.....and took his farewell trip to the promised land!
     
  6. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Re: 71000 Incident: ELR 26th February

    Would it not make sense to base this on the complexity of the route, the shunt moves involved, the loads hauled and the variety of locomotive types worked? A 20 mile railway with 12 substantially different locos working passenger and freight would require more than a 5 mile line with 2 locos in use pulling the same four carriages. The idea is to keep up 'familiarity' (sorry, bad grammar) so that will depend on the number of variables you need to be 'familiar' with...
     
  7. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not involved in the operational side, so feel free to discount what I say, but perhaps (1) a minimum nimber of terms is necessary to retain knowledge and demonstrate competence and (2) the days rostered on the footplate should bear some relation to the time spent volunteering on other tasks?

    Tin hat firmly on!

    Patrick
     
  8. twr12

    twr12 Member

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  9. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    2) above is particularly a useful concept as it is highly likely that footplate staff understanding of locos will be enhanced by wider involvement in their maintenance and overhaul.

    Re 1) a national minimum number of turns is probably not appropriate as situations where a variety of loco types are in use across a range of conditions will be considerably more demanding than say the use of a couple of small locos on summer weekends during daylight only over a short line.
     
  10. oldmrheath

    oldmrheath Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Beat me to it!

    As for number of turns, what has that got to do with it? Does one 108 mile turn on the NYMR equal five 22 mile turns on the Middleton Railway? Competence doesn't come with driving from A to B. People on footex days do that. Being competent requires you to deal with the unexpected because that's when the problems arise and when accidents generally happen.
     
  12. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Re: 71000 Incident: ELR 26th February

    The loco side of it is not such an issue with steam traction, the biggest diference being the type of brakes, but in general, the operation is sufficiantly suimular that it wouldn't matter if you had three or four simular locos or va large fleet of vastly different machines, but yes, the complexity of the route is an issue and you need to prove you still have the route knowlege. This is not always linked to length of line, the Worth Valley, for example, with its closely packed stations with there associated lines is a very complex, short line, and its gradient would be a major consideration, especially with unfitted trains.
     
  13. Pesmo

    Pesmo New Member

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    Does the big railway have minima for a driver to retain his or her ticket ? Lots of non-railway jobs now have this sort of thing so its probably only a matter of time before this comes into play for key safety related roles. I have to report to management on Competency and Currency for key employees in my industry so its not unheard of by any means. You don't have to turn it into paperwork nightmare either.
     
  14. ZBmer

    ZBmer New Member

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    Less a matter of minima regarding numbers of turns per year, than one of regular (re)appraisal. A poor operator will tend to keep the same bad habits; indeed they get reinforced each turn (s)he does. And worse: they get passed on to other footplate crew, in direct proportion to the number of turns the poor practitioner does. It's all about proper governance by our heritage railways.

    Roger
     
  15. twr12

    twr12 Member

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    Of course, railways that run a lot of days per year, and have footplate volunteer shortages, could have a high number of minimum turns per year - as a means of filling the roster? Trouble is, you cannot force people to "volunteer"!
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    As this has surfaced again, an observation by HMRi from the recent ORR Safety Management Seminar. The number of turns needs to be proportionate to the railway and its operation. One heritage line operated on about 26 Sundays per year with one steam loco. Their rules required a person to do a minimum of 135 turns to progress from cleaner to driver. No driver had been passed out since the rule was introduced several years ago.
     
  17. detheridge02

    detheridge02 New Member

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    Of the railways I've been involved with the average seemed to be :

    Passed cleaner after 30 turns plus written and practical assessment
    Passed fireman after a further 50 turns plus written, practical and medical assessment
    Passed driver to senior driver after a further 50 turns

    The names are in 'old money' when a passed cleaner was only acting fireman until becoming a 'passed fireman'. These days progression would simply be cleaner -> 30 turns -> fireman -> 50 turns -> driver.

    It all depends on the line although I know several lines that made trained and passed BR loco crew start from scratch :-/ One thing that always seems to be missed is a psychological assessment. Any idiot given enough shovel time can fire a steam engine, it's whether than person understands the responsibilities to the passengers, fellow crew, themselves and the loco that's important. Demote the 'regulator-jocks' who think every loco should be in second valve for even the shortest of distances and encourage those that ask questions, take care of the train and act in a responsible manner.


    I totally agree. Pilots must complete a certain number of hours and complete a certain number of actions per year to remain 'competent' so why should engine crew be any different? It would have to be simplified as the larger lines have a wide variety of home and visiting locos each year so any idea of 'x' turns on 'y' loco would be out of the question.

    I don't think other volunteer work should be considered (unless its footplate experience on another line). I worked in C&W and as a signalman none of which bore any relation to footplate duties apart from the rule book.

    Dave
     
  18. Seagull

    Seagull New Member

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    What matters is competence and experience. The rate of gaining competence varies greatly from driver to driver as does maintaining it. The important thing is that the railway's management systems monitor and assess the drivers performance to ensure it's up to the standard needed for the particular railway. Steam loco drivers in particular need a lot of experience, gaining that is again variable. On our line divers will need to drive after dark for example. A trainees availability may mean that he can't work at night very often so he will take a lot longer to gain the experience. The same applies to other criteria such as railhead conditions, poor quality coal, priming etc.
     
  19. martin butler

    martin butler Member

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    What Pete sayes is very true, on the footplate you can have a driver or fireman who has done it for years, but in that time has probally picked up a lot of bad habbits from when monitoring was not done so often ,or was just a paper exercise, they then pass these on to the ones they train, Idont think time served means that you are a good fireman or driver, ive known some that are just dreadful, and others who have not been on the plate for so long to be very good its down to this, Are you safe on the footplate, do you fire or drive correctly to the load and railhead if the answer is no, then that team should be re assessed , I learnt to fire on the MHR, under an ex Br driver Bob Deeth , whilst you can read a book, you cant read experience that he passed on
     
  20. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    I feel some concern that footplate crews should be expected to volunteer time on other tasks within the railway. Whilst I appreciate that this might give the volunteer a wider view of the railway and its activities whilst providing support for these "other tasks", plus deter those who see ralway preservation as being confined to locomotives, it actually makes life difficult for the committed volunteer whose time is restricted and opts to undertake the dirty progression from cleaner to driver.

    I am aware of at least one line that has lost a dedicated footplate volunteer through pursuing such a policy without taking note that the volunteer has to work shifts (hence his restricted availability) and has to travel by car at an approximate cost of £20:00 in fuel per round trip paid out of a low income. Whilst I accept that rules are a good guide, they need to be tempered with some acknowledgement that "rules are meant for the guidance of wise men - and the blind obedience by fools". I wonder how many other volunteers throughout the heritage movement have been lost through the rigid application of rules by such "fools" ?
     

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