BACKGROUND – AN OVERVIEW OF THE CURRENT SITUATION
Rail Safety Solutions (RSS) Limited, a subsidiary of Auctus Management Group Limited, were tasked by Network Rail (NWR) and Alstom, one of the world’s leading providers of integrated railway systems, to increase workforce safety for those operatives working on the £197 million Bristol Area Signalling Renewal and Enhancement (BASRE) project.
The BASRE project is part of a planned 61 month initiative to provide an immunised and re-gauged signalling system. The requirement for the renewal stems from the need to provide an Alternating Current (AC)-immune and electrification gauge-compliant Signalling system, ahead of the pioneering development that will see the first electric passenger train running to Bristol.
SOLUTION – HOW WE IMPROVED SAFE TRACK ACCESS
At the time, access was hindered by the location of the Signalling renewals that hampered the ability for the deployment of traditional warning systems such as Lookout or Line Blocks, thus increasing the risk of an accident/incident as well as reducing efficiency / productivity. The RSS TWS planning team were tasked with producing a resolution to the problem facing NWR personnel and ultimately provide a solution that creates a safe working zone from which to operate.
RSS’s in-house planning team began by conducting a preliminary radio graphic examination of the area which covered 97 miles (1672 yards) to 96 miles (1430 yards) up and down the Badminton Line. By taking the time and resources to conduct this initial inspection, RSS were able to offer a more bespoke solution to NWR and Alstom. Working in conjunction with the client, the most effective method of workforce protection was determined to be the Automatic Track Warning System (ATWS).
The ATWS provides advanced audible/visual warning when a train passes over the ‘Strike-In’ treadle. The warning remains on until automatically deactivated by the same train passing over the ‘Strike Out’ Treadle and cancels the warning. This innovative design made it ideal for a static work-site where Patrolling Maintenance personnel required unfettered access to the Alderton Tunnel during the renewal of the Train Operated Warning System (TOWS).
CONCLUSIONS / RESULTS – WHAT BENEFIT WAS THIS FOR THE CLIENT
Traditionally, SSOWS planners have opted for Line Blocks/Unassisted Lookouts as they appear, on the face of it, to provide a cost-effective solution to safety. By focusing on these methods of protection, companies are experiencing an increase in incidents relating to fatigue, lapses in concentration and human error, which in turn has led to a high proportion of productivity being lost and resulted in an increased level of cost, whilst impacting heavily on track worker safety. By deploying the ATWS system Alstom and NWR were able to increase workforce efficiency/productivity by reducing the level of disruption for Patrolling Maintenance Personnel whilst delivering enhanced protection methods for their workforce. The system is set to be deployed for an initial 6 month period starting in February 2017.