UK Rail Standards and Safety Board (RSSB)

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wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed




Photo: the rail engineer.



Farringdon platform extensions




In the last few years of employment with Network Rail, I spent a large proportion of my time dealing with standards for track engineering. In addition to dealing with the company’s own track standards and working with RSSB and other stakeholders on Railway Group Standards, the work included representation of the company, and on occasion the UK, at relevant European standards meetings.

One of the regular challenges from standards users was the suggestion that standards, whether company, Railway Group or international, restricted innovation and commercial activity to an unacceptable degree. The answer to such views was the same then as it is now. Standards are not there to be an obstruction to anything, their purpose is to offer guidance about how best to achieve the desired outcomes. Applied properly, standards assist people to avoid past mistakes and the traps inherent in conducting complex operations. Standards are intended to help people and organisations benefit from collective wisdom and experience.

Non-compliance

To misquote the old saying, standards are there for the guidance of wise men and the mindless obedience of fools. Both Network Rail and RSSB have established ways for dealing with non-standard situations.

When it is clearly impossible or impracticable to comply with a standard, then the way to deal with a commercially driven standard is usually within the gift of the company or standard owner. The commercial risks of the possible options are assessed, and the most acceptable alternative selected. When the issue is a safety matter, the way to proceed is less obvious but must still be based upon the risks involved. RSSB will agree derogations or temporary non-compliances (TNCs) against standards where it is possible to agree an alternative approach to that specified but which still delivers a safety level equivalent to ordinary compliance. Companies such as Network Rail will employ a similar process.

The Group Standard derogation/TNC process is administered on behalf of the industry by RSSB standards committees. These are cross-industry bodies that reflect the broad interests of all stakeholders. Each committee specialises in a particular area, such as infrastructure or rolling stock.

Because the circumstances that lead to the need for a TNC or derogation are usually driven by unique or unusual factors, they are usually dealt with individually on a case-by-case basis. Whilst this may seem bureaucratic to some, in fact, if the procedures are managed and used correctly, it makes for a very flexible system. It will allow even the most arcane set of circumstances to be dealt with so as to deliver an economic, practical and safe outcome.

Of course, if it becomes clear that a particular set of circumstances is not as unusual as originally thought, resulting in a requirement for an excessive numbers of TNCs or derogations, that does call the standard concerned into question. In such cases the standard owner should doubtless review the document and revise it appropriately.

The essential approach to compiling standards and administering the TNC and derogation processes is a risk-based one. For Group Standards the major consideration is safety risk, of course, but even here there is a requirement to consider economic factors too. For company standards, commercial or financial risks will be considered a bigger factor, whilst safety still remains a top priority. Thus a Group Standard might lay down generic requirements for a track fastening to ensure that they are safe while the company standard might specify specific fastening types. Other types might comply with the Group Standard requirements but be rejected by the company on the basis of commercial considerations such as first cost or whole life cost.

Farringdon for example

Perhaps that still sounds complicated, but in fact it works. RSSB has many examples of projects which have, by agreement, successfully implemented solutions that do not comply with the relevant standard. One such example is the recently completed project to extend the platforms at Farringdon Station in central London.

The object was, as regular readers of the rail engineer will know, to provide for 12 car trains on the Thameslink route as opposed to the original 8 car capability. Farringdon is an old station in a cramped location in a cutting. It is Grade 2 listed, which makes matters more interesting, and finally and completing the list of challenges nicely, it is used by both mainline trains and those of London Underground (LUL).

As Network Rail senior project engineer Paul Mitchison explained, the consequence of all these factors was that it was just not practicable to construct the new station in total compliance with either Railway Group Standards or LUL’s somewhat different standards.

A critical question affected by standards was the choice of location for the platform extensions. At the north end of the station is one of the steepest gradients on a British mainline railway, 1 in 29. To the south there is a curve with a radius down to 200 metres. Normally the Railway Group Standard would require that a station site would be selected to avoid both these features.

This was not practicable in this case and so it was decided to assess the risks of each problem, both to aid the decision about whether to extend to the north or to the south, and to allow a derogation from the standard to be successfully applied for for the chosen solution.

By involving the standards committees from the outset, and communicating closely with them throughout the process, the project was able to obtain the required derogation for the construction of the platform extension on the curved site at the south end of the station. It was demonstrated that the infrastructure standard requirements for platform gauge could be met even on the tightest curvature present.

Unfortunately, the operational standard requirement outlining the stepping distance from train running board to platform edge could not quite be met.However, it was successfully argued that, as the non-compliance was small, this was a much smaller risk than that of having platforms on a 1 in 29 gradient. Additionally, it was shown that the situation would be improved in future.

The new Class 700 rolling stock for Thameslink was to have lower running boards than the Class 319 and 377 units to be replaced, meaning that their stepping distance was going to be much improved and possibly even compliant with the standard. The problem was thus going to reduce in severity significantly as the new units came into service.

Close columns

Another potential non-compliance issue concerned the columns supporting the train shed roof. In certain areas of the platforms it was not feasible to maintain a 4.5 metre clearance between these and the nearest rail. This meant that the Railway Group Standard required hefty collision protection structures around the columns; impractical and excessively costly to provide in the circumstances.

Discussion with the standards committees led to derogations, on the basis that the platform structures themselves gave adequate collision protection to the columns for the prevailing situation. The fact that trains would be passing at relatively low speed made it easier to reach agreement on this.

A third question arose over the matter of minimum headroom in public areas of the station. The Railway Group Standard headroom requirement was impracticable to achieve in certain areas of platforms 3 & 4.

The Grade 2 listing was obviously one constraint, and additionally the Transport and Works Act enabling the works made no provision for the alterations needed to increase the headroom.

The time and cost implications of obtaining the necessary consents and carrying out the works were prohibitive by anybody’s measure. Again, a derogation was granted, this time on the basis of the installation of “flow-by” structures at relevant points, to direct pedestrians around the areas of low headroom. Given that modelling had shown that the pedestrian flow capacity of the areas concerned would remain adequate with these structures in place, the derogation was granted.

Quite a number of other civil and track engineering standards issues were successfully managed in analogous ways by the project, RSSB and LUL, as were others affecting S&T and M&E engineering.

Despite the complexity of the project, the shared use of the station and the Grade 2 listing, all of the standards issues were successfully resolved, and in November 2011 the final “sign-off” was agreed by both RSSB and LUL. The extended station was opened for public use on time in December 2011.


 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


Did you hear about the Christmas Eve train crash near Oxford? It occurred at Shipton-on-Cherwell to be exact. Thirty four people died and sixty nine were injured. You didn’t? Well, you do have an excuse, as it happened in 1874. It was the worst disaster to befall the Great Western Railway and the cause was a broken tyre on the leading carriage. It initiated reforms that were pivotal in the advancement of railway safety, particularly in wheelset design.
This was how Railway Consultant Adrian Shooter commenced his keynote address at a seminar held on 30 May at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. Entitled “Axles, Wheelsets and Bearings – Balancing Safety, Performance and Cost” the IMechE event hosted presentations from eminent engineers, consultants and industry experts.

So are we safe?

It has been 16 years since a defective wheelset caused a major accident in the UK. At Rickerscote near Stafford on 8 March 1996 a freight train was derailed because of a broken axle on a tank wagon. A postal train hauled by a Class 86 locomotive ran into it.

A mail sorter was killed and 22 others were injured, including the driver of the locomotive, which came to rest against the end wall of a house.

Wheelsets are some of the most expensive consumables on rail vehicles. They account for a significant proportion of an operator’s maintenance budget and are critical to vehicle availability. They can also be key components in causing damage to infrastructure. The rail industry is under great pressure to reduce costs and increase its value to customers, but this must be balanced against operational performance and above all, safety.

It is estimated that there are in excess of 144,000 wheelsets in use in the UK and they must all be maintained, inspected and tested to exacting standards. As Adrian Shooter put it, “We must be assiduous in making sure that the right standards are adhered to. Procurement is driven by cost, but only by strict adherence to standards can it be ensured that we can all go about our business safely.”

Safety management

So what is the risk to be managed? Cliff Cork, head of infrastructure and rolling stock at the RSSB, posed this question and went on to discuss the applicable Standards framework and the ways in which European legislation impacts upon it. Risk and harm are measured in terms of fatalities and weighted injuries (FWI).

The short answer to the above question is that the risk attributable to rolling stock is 2.2 FWI/year (out of a total of 140.9 FWI/year). Of this, axle and bearing risk accounts for 0.64 FWI/year and wheels 0.066 FWI/year. In other words, the risk from wheelsets can be calculated to cause 13 deaths in 100 years. This amounts to 6% of rolling stock risk.

Cliff said: “We would all agree that the low level of risk that such a high population of wheelsets impose is due to having an agreed set of rules or standards in place, which we all follow.” The risk may be small, but the consequences of getting things wrong can be disastrous.

Within the UK, wheelset and bearing design is governed by Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) with supporting standards, typically EuroNorms (EN), and Railway Group Standards. The essential requirements are safety, reliability and availability, environmental protection and technical compatibility.

Setting standards

Roger Deuce, senior project engineer, bogies at Bombardier, also began his presentation with a question: “When is a hole not a hole?” To illustrate how EN standards definitions are reached he described how an axle that has a central hole to facilitate ultrasonic testing may be defined as ‘solid’.

The axle is ‘solid’ if the journal diameter is more than three times the bore diameter and the wheel seat diameter is more than four times the bore diameter. EN wheelset standards are far reaching and include both design standards and product and process standards. They govern such things as material grades, permissible stresses, testing and batch testing, vacuum degassing, residual stress surveys, surface finish and fatigue testing.

A typical EN process related wheelset fatigue test will involve resonance testing in a jig. The axle is mounted vertically, clamped at its lower end and fitted with a motor driven mass imbalance at the upper end.

The introduction of EN wheelset standards is seen as a significant step forward. But, as Roger Deuce pointed out, “They are not a substitute for good engineering practice and the experience of a competent design authority. EN standards have helped to improve standardisation across Europe, although there are still operator/network variations.”

Shared system

At the sharp end of railway operation, it is incumbent upon every operator to ensure that its vehicles are maintained adequately. The roles and responsibilities in a shared European system were outlined by Richard Lockett, head of Cross Acceptance Unit, European Railway Agency. Based in France, the ERA has responsibility for enhancing the level of interoperability of railway systems and developing a common approach to safety on the European railway system. Member states must ensure that railway safety is generally maintained and, where reasonably practicable, continuously improved.

The use of vehicles (such as wagons) and wheelsets may be shared between different operators. The safety management systems of all the users must manage this, but as Richard Lockett pointed out: “The management tools previously employed by BR, SNCF, DB, etc to manage their own single actor systems are not fit for purpose for a shared system.

Old and inappropriate roles and responsibilities remain, such as Network Rail ‘approving’ private wagons and safety authorities specifying maintenance schedules and testing procedures.” The use of shared components requires complex contracts agreed by many parties. Maintenance, checking and overhaul specs are also a compromise and again many parties need to agree. Across Europe, conformity with EN standards is voluntary, whereas in the UK we have Railway Group Standards. Richard Lockett asks: “How can a RGS fit in where TSI’s supported by EN’s cover the whole network?”

Perhaps lessons can be learned from the USA where there are many operators, many owners and many repairers. There are however only five designs of wagon wheelset and one safety authority. In Europe there are thousands of wheelset designs and 25 safety authorities.

Roger Lockett summed up: “Wheelsets are a technical challenge. Maybe diversity of design and incomplete implementation of the directives roles and responsibilities makes the logistics and management control an even bigger challenge!”

Research

Dr Alan Lawton is an independent engineering consultant. His research into wheel lathe best practice has revealed large differences in the average depth of cut between lathe operators. He also discovered significant variations between depots, with Slade Green making lighter cuts than other depots in the study. He explained: “Within each depot, if all operators could do what the best operator does, it would give another ‘turn’ for each wheelset, i.e. 25% longer wheel life.” Furthermore, “If each depot were able to exploit the same ‘light cut’ that works for Slade Green, there would be an extra two ‘turns’ on each wheelset!”

That would equate to 45% longer wheel life. Alan suggested this could be achieved through closer management and support for lathe operators by analysing wheel turn records and trials of lower cut depths.

On trial

Wheel tyres of ‘Superlos’ steel, manufactured by Lucchini in Italy, offer significant improvements in wheel life. A trial has been undertaken on Alstom Class 175 DMUs, which normally have their wheels turned at approximately 75,000 miles to eliminate surface cracks caused by Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF). Alstom removes 5mm radius as standard, allowing six cuts per wheel over its lifetime, i.e. 525,000 miles in total. The Superlos wheelsets have run over 200,000 miles before visiting the wheel lathe, giving an expected total mileage of 1,000,000 miles. The only problem is that no one at present understands how Superlos inhibits RCF cracking!

Axle Safety

There were 37 UK in-service axle failures between 1975 and 2002. In the final ten years of this period there were only nine failures, and that trend continues. Fatigue cracks initiated by surface defects are the main cause of cracking, with corrosion being the chief culprit. Alan Lawton explained how axle design standards assume an infinite fatigue life and presume that axles retain a smooth round surface. “They cannot deal with surface damage or variations in maintenance and inspection,” he said.

“Nor can they identify appropriate processes for axle maintenance and inspection. There is no knowledge base from which to identify sound, logical maintenance and inspection processes for axles.” It is recognised that money is wasted looking after axles, although this ensures of course that we stay safe.

Alan Lawton suggests that we need to understand real axle loads, how corrosion assists fatigue cracks to initiate, how effective non-destructive testing (NDT) really is, and how axle surfaces become damaged. This would help us to identify more economic maintenance and inspection rules, without compromising safety.

To this end, the RSSB has been working with DeltaRail to understand real axle loads on Class 319 EMUs and on Mk IV coaches. At the same time, innovative work from Prof. Stefano Beretta, Politecnico di Milano, has provided new understanding of the initiation and growth of corrosion assisted fatigue cracks in axles.

The RSSB has partly funded an EU research project known as WIDEM, which aims to optimise the design and maintenance of wheelsets, reduce whole life costs, reduce un-sprung masses and extend maintenance intervals. This work could in time provide the engineering science to justify elimination of depot NDT, the elimination of axle painting and the introduction of axle skimming.

Smaller wheels, higher loads

UK and UIC standards limit the ratio of wheel load to wheel diameter (Q/d) to around 0.13. Alan Lawton explained that this limit can be linked back to 19th century calculations of “Hertzian contact stress”. RSSB Project “T889 Q/d” attempts to establish the current population of Q/d values and calculate the distribution of Hertzian contact stress on the railway. It also uses Hertzian stress based computer models of rail damage to assess the effects of increased Q/d.

Questions remain however, such as the real nature of stresses in wheels and rails and how damage can accumulate.

Alan Lawson thinks we need to understand better the mechanism for the initiation and growth of damage in different wheel and rail steels, but he admits there is no real business case for the research. But does this mean it shouldn’t be done.

Predictions of how wheel and rail damage might grow could bring benefits such as 30 ton axle-loads, commonplace in the USA.

Corrosion

Funded by RSSB and WOLAXIM (a collaboration between EU SMEs and research organisations to develop novel NDT solutions for the assessment of railway axles), the Politecnico di Milano, under Prof. Stefano Beretta, has attempted to produce a corrosion fatigue model for a railway axle and assess its impact on safety. Results have shown a continuous decrease of fatigue life as corrosion continues.Testing involved dropping artificial rain (pH6) onto test axles rotating under load. Surface cracks were observed to grow from corrosion pits, eventually coalescing and deepening.

The phenomenon is known as Hoddinott cracking, after Dudley S. Hoddinott, an HMRI Inspector who first observed the phenomenon during an investigation into a derailment at Shields Junction. It is characterised by a surface pattern of micro cracks, all lying in roughly one direction. The effect is worst in transition areas, e.g. where the axle meets the wheel seat.

The research concluded that crack growth rate under corrosion-fatigue can be described with a simple mathematical model. This enables a ‘nucleation lifetime’ to be calculated for an axle under given service conditions. An argument follows from this for not painting axles and instead applying a simple surface grinding process in axle transition areas.

Reclamation

A large number of axles are scrapped every year due to corrosion. Pools of spare axles are therefore integral to the smooth running of the industry, but industry fragmentation resulted in multiple part numbers, drawings and numerous pools of axles for different fleets.

David Wilson of Porterbrook described how rationalisation has now allowed a common pool to be established. Permitted corrosion limits are strict, hence the high scrap rates, but there has been little documented guidance on wheelset reclamation. David Wilson would like to see an agreed approach in developing procedures for the removal of corrosion and light damage. Removal of material will have structural implications, but of what significance? Studies on Mk IV wheelsets have shown that reclamation is possible, but there are limitations (on axle loading) and it must be controlled.

Common ROSCO (ROlling Stock Leasing COmpany ) procedures have now been drawn up and packaged into a useable specification, giving guidance on inspections, repairs and branding of axles. Ultimately this should bring significant cost benefits to the industry.

Out on the real railway, pragmatic problem solving is the order of the day. In the second part of this article we will see how manufacturers, maintainers and TOCs have already excelled in the balancing wheelset safety, performance and cost.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

In an occasional series, RailStaff looks at people and organisations within the rail industry.

RSSB stands for the Rail Safety and Standards Board, but what does it do? Nigel Wordsworth met chief executive Len Porter and his deputy Anson Jack to find out.

Strategic undertakings usually have an industry-wide system and process safety organisation. The oil, gas and nuclear industries all have them, and railways are no different. British Rail had a Safety and Standards Directorate, and following privatisation Railtrack adopted a Safety and Standards Directorate independent of line activities.

However, as Anson Jack explained, having the infrastructure operator running the industry-wide safety organisation caused quite a few tensions. These came to a head in the aftermath of the Ladbroke Grove incident. John Prescott, deputy prime minister at the time, announced he was stripping Railtrack of its safety role.

Lord Cullen, in the report of the second part of the public inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove accident, recommended that a new independent safety body be established “to provide safety leadership for the industry and to set and review industry Standards”. The result of this was the creation of the Railway Safety organisation as a temporary measure.

Role and objectives

After more review and consultation, the Rail Safety and Standards Board was established in April 2003. RSSB provides support and facilitation for a wide range of activities usually achieved through cross-industry working groups and committees.

It is a not-for-profit company owned by major industry stakeholders, including train operators, Network Rail, and major infrastructure contractors. The company is limited by guarantee and is governed by its members and a board. It is independent of any single railway company and of their commercial interests.

The company has a range of competencies, tools, models and capabilities that support the industry in different ways. It employs around 230 people, covering several technical disciplines including operations, engineering, human factors, risk assessment, economic evaluation, sustainable development, information technology and communications. It also includes the support functions of finance, administration and HR.

The company’s main roles were originally defined by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), to:

• Manage Railway Group Standards on behalf of the industry;

• Lead the development of long-term safety strategy for the industry, including the publication of annual Railway Strategic Safety Plans;

• Facilitate change by leading a research programme and providing education, awareness materials and events;

• Support cross-industry groups working on national programmes addressing major areas of safety concern; and

• Facilitate the effective representation of the UK rail industry in the development of European legislation and standards that impact on the rail system.

The industry has changed rapidly from the time of the original statement. The RSSB is now undertaking many economically driven activities such as research and the work of the System Interface Committees.

Six spheres

Len Porter explained RSSB’s role in the industry underpinning knowledge-based decision making.

Initial data comes from incident reports and research activity, and is compiled in a Safety Management Information System (SMIS). Various publications concentrate on this information and make it available in a more accessible form such as reports.

This information is used for analysis of potential situations. For example, SMIS data is used in the Safety Risk Model (SRM) and Precursor Indicator Model (PIM), and research results and operational experience are used to populate the Vehicle Track Interaction Strategic Model (VTISM).

These models provide knowledge which helps the industry develop its understanding of key risks on the railway system. With this understanding, industry decisions are taken by recognised bodies such as standards committees.

RSSB provides governance for these industry bodies and owns the outputs (such as standards) on behalf of the industry. Implementation of these decisions brings change to the industry, either through the planning process or through introducing revised standards.

Following these changes to the system, new data is generated and the whole system of analysis and decision making goes around again.

Maintaining standards

The Railway Group Standards, which are controlled and produced by RSSB, only apply to the main heavy-rail network. They do not apply to tram networks, London Underground, or HS1.

However, says Len Porter, ‘We have a very cordial relationship with London Underground as they are members of CIRAS (the Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System for the rail industry). HS1 is also not in our remit, but we do collect data from there and collate it.’

RSSB manages the Railway Group Standards process on behalf of the industry, but they do not enforce them. That is the role of the regulator, the Office of Rail Regulation.

Anson Jack expanded on the concept of safety being allied to efficiency. ‘What we do is all about understanding risk, quantifying risk,’ he said. ‘It helps make sure that people don’t spend money unnecessarily.’

As an example, he described an action taken by the Noise Abatement Society to control the sound of train horns. It had the potential to cost the industry £20 million, but research carried out by RSSB for the industry, and analysis of the problem, showed that alternative action could be taken without the need to spend such sums.

There was also a campaign to force operators to fit trains with seat belts. RSSB proved that trains were actually safer without them, provided that carriages were fitted with laminated glass rather than toughened to contain passengers within the train in the event of an accident. All new trains now have laminated glass.

As Len Porter commented, the role of the RSSB is to help the industry understand what could be a very large, very complex situation. ‘People equate following standards with safety. In fact, they are often more about efficiency measures rather than a safety system. Having a good safety management system is, after all, part of running an efficient organisation and a safe railway.’

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
UK: Equipment which issues spoken messages saying ‘warning, another train is approaching’ is being installed at 63 UK level crossings. Infrastructure manager Network Rail hopes this will reduce the risk of users mistakenly believing that it is safe to cross after the first train. Research by industry safety body RSSB suggests that voice messages are more likely to be understood and obeyed than the two-tone warning currently used. The spoken alarms will be set to a lower volume at night to reduce the impact on anyone living nearby. ‘This was very thorough research which considered many different types of warnings and alerts’, said Michael Woods, Head of Operations & Management Research at RSSB. ‘Providing a spoken warning for the second train has been proven to provide an obvious message to people wanting to cross.'


  • Examining the benefits of 'another train coming' warnings at level crossings is available at http://www.rssb.co.uk




 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
UK: Trials are underway with Virtual Lineside Signalling, which is being developed by Park Signalling with the aim of using off-the-shelf technology including commercial mobile phone networks, industrial standard RFID tags and iPads to provide signalling at a fraction of the cost of conventional or Ertms implementations. Trials on the Foxfield heritage railway and Network Rail’s High Marnham test track have been awarded a £100 000 grant by the UK Department of Transport and Rail Safety & Standards Board. Engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash is providing safety validation, verifying whether the system can offer safety levels at least as good as alternative systems. Richard Jones, business manager at Frazer-Nash, believes the system could ‘revolutionise low-cost signalling’ on lines with low traffic densities or where there is no money for conventional modern signalling systems. Another possibility is as a temporary back-up when technical failure or cable theft render main systems inoperable. VLS utilises off-the-shelf hardware together with commercial GSM networks to transmit encrypted messages between the control centre and the trains. All data processing is undertaken in the control centre, with the cab display simply receiving images or stop or proceed indications. No lineside infrastructure is required, other than RFID tags on the track which are used by the train to verify its position.


 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
INTERNATIONAL: The UK’s Rail Safety & Standards Board and UIC signed a memorandum of understanding last month to develop an online web portal known as Railway Research to foster global co-operation. The web application, which will be hosted by UIC’s International Rail Research Board, is an extension of the Spark platform developed for the UK by RSSB. Intended to allow rail industry researchers to ‘share knowledge more effectively online’, Spark is intended to enable findings to be shared more widely, or for existing results to be traced more rapidly, with the intention that duplication can be minimised. ‘Spark is like an online library and a social network all wrapped into one’, explained RSSB’s Head of Research Guy Woodroffe, adding that UIC members could use Spark ‘off-the-shelf to prevent wheel reinvention and duplication of existing extranets and libraries’. The international portal within Spark will be accessible from January 2013, along with a general-purpose ‘reader level’ function.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BRITAIN's Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and the Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA) have approved proposals from four British universities for studies into reducing the whole-life cost of rolling stock.



A £100,000 RSSB research grant will be shared between three projects including:

• Economic Incentives for Innovation: a comparative study of the rail and aviation industries (University of Leeds, Loughborough University, and Imperial College London)

• Design for Control of Railway Vehicles (University of Salford and Loughborough University)

• Commonality and Standardisation of Processes for Cost-Effective Rolling Stock (Newcastle University, Imperial College London, London Underground, Tata Steel, Scotrail, and Alstom)

In addition, the RSSB and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will co-fund a further proposal by the University of Huddersfield entitled Enabling the development of lightweight railway bogies through the use of novel technologies to control fatigue life.

The research proposals were developed following the RRUKA's Half Cost Train workshop held at City University in London in July. The event was held at the request of Association of Train Operating Companies, which wanted to initiate a "back to basics" look at train specification and design.


 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Transport for London Over a hundred and twenty people were present when i opened this year’s Rail Safety Summit. Writes Colin Wheeler
I then invited Transport for London’s Jill Collis (Director Health Safety and Environment) and Dr. Ian Gaskin (General Manager Health Safety and Environment) to conduct their opening session entitled, “A conversation on safety leadership.”
They suggested that “rules and procedures are vital but not enough” before questioning the role of leaders in creating a safety culture, in what they described as “a conversation about leadership behaviours.”
Jill began by asking a number of questions including; what do good leaders do, their characteristics, actions and personal style, what do they do when things go wrong? They then provided answers using recorded but unedited interviews with managers from across the Transport for London organisation, as part of their initiative to improve safety culture. The speakers reminded us that their initiative covers London’s buses, Docklands Light Railway as well as the Underground.
CIRAS
Paul Russell from CIRAS (Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System) commented that it is 18 years since they were founded. They were set up as a result of Lord Cullen’s recommendations following his Inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove Accident. Lord Cullen said back then that he “hoped that in the longer term the culture of the industry would be such as to make confidential reporting unnecessary.” He went on to comment that it might take a long time in coming!
Paul emphasised that potential interference can get in the way of internal reporting. Mutual trust is needed between management and workforce, and employee ownership of safety is essential.

He said that heavy use of confidential reporting indicates a deficient safety culture and to stress the importance of workers being given credit for reporting rather than being criticised or even threatened for so doing. He suggested that “fixing the problem rather than fixing the people” must be the aim.
ISLG
Richard Sharp chairs the Infrastructure Safety Liaison Group (ISLG). Founded in 1996 as a safety leadership forum it reviewed its remit in 2010.
Apart from rail company members, stakeholders include London Underground, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and trades unions with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) who act as secretariat and provide facilitation for the 30 members.

Safety Strategy- “seizing the agenda”
Allan Spence was seconded from the ORR last year and has been developing Network Rail’s long term safety strategy. The objective is to “eliminate fatalities and serious injuries, reduce minor injuries and also eliminate repeat cause incidents.”
He criticised the fact that the industry in 2013 still relies on the use of lookouts equipped with horns, whistles and flags to warn of approaching trains. He emphasised the importance of just treatment, risk awareness, feeling able to report incidents, being included in decision making and feeling free to innovate. He focussed the Conference by referring to the track-workers hit by an RRV the previous week.
Safety and wellbeing 2012-2024
Emma Head is Network Rail’s Head of Workforce Safety. This strategy aims to, “Improve competence arrangements, reduce bureaucratic barriers and focus on creating a more broadly skilled workforce with the competence and skills to work safely.”
My first reaction was that the timescale is too long but she went on to say that the initial aim is for “a 50% reduction in repeat accidents in the next 12-months.” This is all part of their Workforce Safety 10 Point Plan, each point sponsored by an Executive Board Member.
The commitment of Board Directors is to spend 25% of their time on safety. Together with the trades unions there is to be training for the top 400 leaders on roles and responsibilities, and a move away from prescription to doing things locally.
The central team aim to involve 320 contractors and the current free-for-all multi-sponsorship arrangements are to be replaced by “contracts of sponsorship” involving a single primary sponsor for each individual.

Maybe we will at last progress beyond payment via umbrella companies and multi-sponsored individuals with little knowledge of next week’s work, to reasonably paid individuals who gain a sense of involvement belonging to an organisation and contributing to its safety record?
Life Saving Rules
Iain Boardman landed the last session before lunch and spoke of the changing safety culture within Network Rail resulting from the introduction of their Life Saving Rules.
These rules include contact with trains, taking responsibility and working with electricity, at height, with moving equipment and driving. The concerns over road accident injuries as people travel to and from work is clearly on Network Rail’s radar and perhaps with good reason.
RAIB
After the standard of lunch which regular Summit attendees at Loughborough have come to expect, Simon French, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) had the unenviable task of beginning the afternoon session.
The RAIB went live in 2005 having been proposed by Lord Cullen in his Ladbroke Grove Public Inquiry Report of 1999. Having written so often about their reports in RailStaff I had some concerns but he assured me that they read RailStaff and often discussed the views expressed. In response I commented that the feedback I receive to my “rants” continues to motivate me to write again each month!
Investigate the accident before it occurs
He answered three questions; why investigate, what does a good investigation look like, and what recurrent factors have been identified? In the last 7 years RAIB has deployed investigators on more than 350 occasions to incidents on mainlines, metros, trams and heritage railways. His presentation included many dramatic pictures.
He suggested that “accident investigations shine a searchlight into the corners of the railway industry and provide valuable intelligence to those with responsibility for safety.” That means all of us then.

Good investigations should be “independent, accurate, proportional, timely, consistent and use traceable evidence.” His closing thought is one of the quotations of the day; “why not investigate an accident before it occurs – asking the question ‘what if’ – before the event?”
Driving fatigue and classifying incidents
Colin Dennis, RSSB began by highlighting growing concerns about road driving risks. He said that between 25% and 40% of fatal and serious road accidents happen during work related journeys, and fatigue is the major risk.
He then told delegates about the “Incident Factor Classification System” which they are introducing. Classification factors will include types of human errors, and underlying factors such as procedures, competence and safety management.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Network Rail Consulting and RSSB forge new strategic partnershipDownloads
Monday 3 Jun 2013
Categories:National  
International rail consultancy Network Rail Consulting and rail industry body RSSB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to secure overseas business.

The new partnership means that Network Rail Consulting can complement the full spectrum of expertise from Network Rail with the knowledge, products and services provided by RSSB.

For the consultancy, the benefit is being able to tap into the independent rail industry body with an international reputation to provide an even broader package of services around the world.

For RSSB, and the UK rail industry as a whole, the benefit is in generating new revenues to support the capabilities and knowledge it provides for the industry, as well as development opportunities for RSSB staff.

Welcoming the new partnership, Nigel Ash, managing director of Network Rail Consulting, said: "Being able to draw on the body of work and expertise in RSSB is a great addition to our portfolio, which is yielding a lot of interest across the globe. There is tremendous appetite to call on our experience as rail specialists, and it’s fitting to be able to weave in RSSB’s knowledge of cross-industry issues and make that available on an international stage too.’

Anson Jack, deputy chief executive of RSSB said: "All of our members – including Network Rail – invest time and money into research, development, innovation and solutions, designed specifically to benefit the British national rail system and support business performance improvements in each company. These solutions also have the potential to support development overseas, and Network Rail Consulting is an ideal partner to help promote these around the world."
Notes to editorsAbout Network Rail ConsultingNetwork Rail Consulting Ltd is a subsidiary of Network Rail

Network Rail Consulting aims to harness the vast range of skills and experience available within Network Rail to demonstrate British expertise overseas and be an international ambassador for Britain’s rail industry. It will also help channel innovation back into our core business, helping deliver a better value railway for Britain

The board of directors of Network Rail Consulting comprises Simon Kirby (chairman), Nigel Ash (managing director), Patrick Butcher (director) and Keith Ludeman (non-executive director)

Network Rail Consulting is selling the full range of rail expertise within Network Rail including:

  • Advisory: Re-structuring, privatisation, institutional, policy development and reviews, audits, procurement, bid support, rail operations including retail optimisation.
  • Strategic Planning: Transport master plans, market assessments, demand forecasting, project appraisal and route utilisation strategies.
  • Asset Management: Developing conceptual asset management frameworks, route asset management plans.
  • Operations & Maintenance: Practical operating advice, timetabling and simulation modelling, maintenance regimes and outsourced operate and maintain contracts.
  • Infrastructure Projects: Outputs definition, pre-feasibility, feasibility, project and programme management.

About RSSBRSSB builds industry-wide consensus and facilitates the resolution of difficult cross-industry issues. It provides knowledge, analysis, and a substantial level of technical expertise, powerful information and risk management tools. This delivers a unique mix to the rail industry across a whole range of subject areas. To find out more about the company see A Guide To RSSB.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Network Rail Consulting and RSSB forge new strategic partnershipPublication date: 3 June 2013
Author: Network Rail
Tagged with: Anson Jack, Network Rail Consulting, Nigel Ash, Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)

International rail consultancy Network Rail Consulting and rail industry body RSSB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to secure overseas business.

The new partnership means that Network Rail Consulting can complement the full spectrum of expertise from Network Rail with the knowledge, products and services provided by RSSB.
For the consultancy, the benefit is being able to tap into the independent rail industry body with an international reputation to provide an even broader package of services around the world.
For RSSB, and the UK rail industry as a whole, the benefit is in generating new revenues to support the capabilities and knowledge it provides for the industry, as well as development opportunities for RSSB staff.
Welcoming the new partnership, Nigel Ash, managing director of Network Rail Consulting, said: “Being able to draw on the body of work and expertise in RSSB is a great addition to our portfolio, which is yielding a lot of interest across the globe. There is tremendous appetite to call on our experience as rail specialists, and it’s fitting to be able to weave in RSSB’s knowledge of cross-industry issues and make that available on an international stage too.’
Anson Jack, deputy chief executive of RSSB said: “All of our members – including Network Rail – invest time and money into research, development, innovation and solutions, designed specifically to benefit the British national rail system and support business performance improvements in each company. These solutions also have the potential to support development overseas, and Network Rail Consulting is an ideal partner to help promote these around the world.”
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
International rail consultancy Network Rail Consulting and rail industry body RSSB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to secure overseas business.
The new partnership means that Network Rail Consulting can complement the full spectrum of expertise from Network Rail with the knowledge, products and services provided by RSSB.
For the consultancy, the benefit is being able to tap into the independent rail industry body with an international reputation to provide an even broader package of services around the world.
For RSSB, and the UK rail industry as a whole, the benefit is in generating new revenues to support the capabilities and knowledge it provides for the industry, as well as development opportunities for RSSB staff.
Welcoming the new partnership, Nigel Ash, managing director of Network Rail Consulting, said: “Being able to draw on the body of work and expertise in RSSB is a great addition to our portfolio, which is yielding a lot of interest across the globe. There is tremendous appetite to call on our experience as rail specialists, and it’s fitting to be able to weave in RSSB’s knowledge of cross-industry issues and make that available on an international stage too.”
Anson Jack, deputy chief executive of RSSB said: “All of our members – including Network Rail – invest time and money into research, development, innovation and solutions, designed specifically to benefit the British national rail system and support business performance improvements in each company. These solutions also have the potential to support development overseas, and Network Rail Consulting is an ideal partner to help promote these around the world.”
Source Network Rail press office
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Every year, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) publishes its Annual Safety Performance Report.
This reviews the rail industry’s safety performance over the latest financial year. The latest report, covering 2012/13, was released at the end of June.
Once again, overall use of the railways has increased although freight dropped off slightly. Compared to 2011/12 there were 1.5 billion passenger journeys (3% increase), 58.4 billion passenger kilometres (2% increase) but 47.8 million freight train kilometres (2% decrease).
It is pleasing to note that there were no passenger or workforce fatalities in train accidents in 2012/13. This is the sixth year in succession with no such fatalities. At 0.3 per year, the ten-year moving average for these train accidents is at its lowest ever level.
Comparing figures
To look at the statistics in detail, it is necessary to understand how fatalities and injuries are measured. This is done using an index known as Fatalities and Weighted Injuries (FWI). In effect, it takes all the non-fatal injuries and adds them up using a weighting factor to come up with a total number of ‘fatality equivalents’.
So 10 major injuries, or 200 class 1 minor injuries or shock/trauma, or 1000 class 2 minor injuries or shock/trauma, are taken as being ‘statistically equivalent’ to one fatality. Add these up, and that gives the total FWI number for the year.
This FWI figure is used to compare one year with another. The actual fatalities are also listed as it is possible for the FWI to go down even if the actual number of fatalities has gone up, due to a reduction in the number of less- severe accidents (as happened last year).
The numbers
So in 2012/13, four passengers died in separate incidents, all at stations. When non-fatal injuries are also taken into account, the total level of passenger harm was 45.8 FWI which is 7% higher than the 42.7 FWI (five fatalities) recorded for 2011/12.
So although actual fatalities were down by one, the overall score was up – due mainly to an increase in the number of major injuries. When normalised by passenger journeys, the rate of harm shows a 4% increase compared with 2011/12.
There were two workforce fatalities, both infrastructure workers. Including non-fatal injuries, the total level of workforce harm was 22.6 FWI, which is a reduction of 8% compared with 24.5 FWI (one fatality) occurring in 2011/12. The rate of harm normalised by workforce hours fell by 11%, even though there was one more fatality.

The types of train accident most likely to result in harm, such as collisions and derailments, are known as potentially higher-risk train accidents (PHRTAs). Last year there were 35 of them. This is an increase of one on the previous year’s total of 34. In fact, the number of PHRTAs for the past three years has remained lower than levels seen prior to this period.
Included in those PHRTA figures were seven passenger train derailments, four of which were due to landslips affecting the line. There were no major injuries to train occupants resulting from derailment, or any other type of train accident.
PIM and SPADs
As serious train accidents are rare, the industry monitors trends in train accident precursors using the Precursor Indicator Model (PIM). This provides a measure of trends in the underlying risk from PHRTAs.
At March 2013, the overall indicator stood at 90.6, compared with 74.9 at the end of 2011/12. The passenger proportion of the PIM stood at 39.4, compared with 27.4 at the end of the previous year.
While this rise is significant, the increases in the PIM are due mainly to a rise in the number of landslides that affected the running line which occurred following periods of heavy rain during the year.
At 250, the number of SPADs (signals passed at danger) occurring during 2012/13 was a 9% reduction on the 276 occurring during 2011/12.
The accident in 1999 at Ladbroke Grove, in which 31 people died, occurred following a SPAD. Since then, the industry has focussed on reducing the risk from SPADs through initiatives such as the fitment of the TPWS (Train Protection & Warning System) which was completed in 2003. TPWS can automatically stop a train that passes a signal at danger.
At the end of 2012/13, the estimated level of risk from SPADs was 60% of the September 2006 baseline, compared with 32% at the end of 2011/12. Although the increase in SPAD risk was substantial, the level for 2012/13 is the second lowest financial year- end level on record and SPADs remain a low contributor to overall train accident risk.
Level crossings
These are always problematic, being where trains, road vehicles and pedestrians interface most closely. Excluding suicides, four pedestrians and five road vehicle occupants died in accidents at level crossings in 2012/13.
There were seven major injuries, 53 reported minor injuries and 17 cases of shock or trauma. This equated to a total FWI of 9.9, which is higher than the 2011/12 figure but below the average over the past ten years.
There were ten collisions between trains and road vehicles at level crossings during the year, which is one more than last year’s figure of nine. There has been an average of 13 accidents per year since 2003/04. There is evidence that the underlying rate of collisions at level crossings has reduced over this period.

An overall improvement
Including the nine level crossing users, but excluding those due to suicide or suspected suicide, there were 49 fatalities to members of the public last year. 39 were trespassers and the remaining one has been categorised as an assault. Including non-fatal injuries, the total level of public harm was 53.9 FWI, which is lower than the 63.5 FWI recorded for 2011/12.
At 238, the number of suicides was the same as for 2011/12, and remains above average for the last decade as a whole.
So in total, and excluding suicides, there were 55 fatalities, 457 major injuries, 11,297 minor injuries and 1,179 cases of shock/trauma. The total level of harm was 122.3 FWI, down from 130.7 in 2011/12. The main cause of the decrease was a fall in the number of fatalities to members of the public.

Colin Dennis, Director Policy, Research and Risk at RSSB commented: ‘Although 2012/13 recorded a historically low number of passenger fatalities, overall there was an increase in the level of passenger harm due to a rise in major injuries, mostly as a result of slips, trips and falls in stations. This area continues to be an area for industry focus, and a number of co-operative activities and initiatives are in progress.
‘The number of Potentially Higher Risk Train Accidents was again low and although rises were seen in the measures of SPAD risk and train accident risk, both remained below the baseline used for comparison.
‘Taken over the longer-term, the industry continues to meet the safety targets set for it by the Department for Transport and the European Railway Agency.
‘Rail continues to be the safest form of land transport in Britain and the industry’s performance continues to meet the requirement of ensuring that safety is generally maintained and, where reasonably practicable, continuously improved’.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
HS2 joins up to UK rail safety body
09.04.2014 13:12
Section: High-speed railways
HS2 has announced that it is to partner with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) to instill safety into the design and construction of Britain’s £45 billion high-speed rail project.
Last week, HS2 confirmed that Japan’s high-speed rail operator East Japan Railway Company (JR-East) was to take up an advisory role on the new north-south railway.
Becoming a member of RSSB will now also give HS2 access to the safety body’s wealth of experience and research in areas such as risk analysis, standards and innovation.
HS2 Ltd’s technical director, Andrew McNaughton, said: “This is another important step in the development of a world-class 21st century railway system that will bring huge benefits for the country.
“HS2 will free up much-needed space on our current network, shorten journey times between our biggest cities and deliver jobs and regeneration opportunities.
“It is one of our Strategic Requirements to design HS2 so that it will operate at a level of safety regarded as world-leading not just when it opens but throughout the century to come. The know-how of our colleagues, through RSSB, will be invaluable in securing this.”
RSSB’s chief executive, Chris Fenton, said: “2026 may seem like a long way off, but the manner in which HS2’s infrastructure operates tomorrow needs to be considered today.
“Through RSSB, we can support HS2 in designing in safety and efficiency into its interfaces by providing access to industry’s shared knowledge base, data, analysis, standards, research, development and innovation as well as involving HS2 Ltd in tackling cross-industry challenges.
“I’m delighted to welcome HS2 Ltd into our membership.”
www.globalrailnews.com/
 

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