Dets to be removed from Trains next month

 
  fullboost Chief Train Controller

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  scott4570 Chief Train Controller

Just came across this article , hadn't heard anything about it before

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/safety-devices-to-be-removed-from-trains/story-fn3dxiwe-1226641313650
fullboost

The Dets contained within the Driver's Cab on Trains, and not the Dets used by Track Maintenance workers, are usually used when a train breaks down and is stopped on a section of track for an extended period and cannot be moved.

To protect the rear of the train, the Crew will walk back some distance and place the Dets down to warn following trains to stop due to some obstruction on the line.
This situation would normally arise on lengthy "Automatic Sections", say the Blue Mountains, or Central Coast, where Signal Control is less frequent.
A following train could pass a Stop Signal after a specified time, and proceed around a sharp curve of track, at low speed, and suddenly be confronted by the rear of the broken down train in front.

These days, there is more communication between Train and Signaller, plus the Train Location System is increasing and nearly every line is covered.
Trains are now warned by a more specialised Train Radio Communication system, and also there are more procedures to be carried out before a train can pass a Signal at Stop.

- Scott.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

The Dets contained within the Driver's Cab on Trains, and not the Dets used by Track Maintenance workers, are usually used when a train breaks down and is stopped on a section of track for an extended period and cannot be moved.

To protect the rear of the train, the Crew will walk back some distance and place the Dets down to warn following trains to stop due to some obstruction on the line.
This situation would normally arise on lengthy "Automatic Sections", say the Blue Mountains, or Central Coast, where Signal Control is less frequent.
A following train could pass a Stop Signal after a specified time, and proceed around a sharp curve of track, at low speed, and suddenly be confronted by the rear of the broken down train in front.

These days, there is more communication between Train and Signaller, plus the Train Location System is increasing and nearly every line is covered.
Trains are now warned by a more specialised Train Radio Communication system, and also there are more procedures to be carried out before a train can pass a Signal at Stop.

- Scott.
scott4570
all very true, but for us old blokes it goes back a bit further than that, remember in staff and ticket where you had time block or permissive working, where a train would enter a section, usually a long one, then after a specified period, depending on what it was (freight following a pass for example) it was permitted to enter the section with the appropriate token and a "Train Ahead Notice" tan.

Needless to say if you were on the first train, the knowledge that there was a following movememt possibly 20 min behind you, and there was no signal protection, no radio, then there was a scurry to have the guard protect.
  bernerd Junior Train Controller

Good. Bar that for a joke if you can't guarantee me the track is clear and you want me to walk back, bend over with my head down and affix the dets.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller


A following train could pass a Stop Signal after a specified time, and proceed around a sharp curve of track, at low speed, and suddenly be confronted by the rear of the broken down train in front.
scott4570

This situation can still arise. Communication between driver/guard and signaller is not guaranteed and the current train radio is far from 100% reliable. Drivers can still pass red automatic signals without speaking to the signaller if for example the signaller cannot be raised on the radio or telephone.

Train crew should not assume that the signaller will always know what is going on in automatic sections because, among other things, the indications for these areas in signal boxes are often non-vital and occasionally freeze or fail.

I don't think this is a good idea, but this sort of "reform" doesn't surprise me. Again, I think we are opening up holes in safety defences just to save a few dollars.

To think that train crew are no longer expected to have an interest in laying protection in case of emergency, even if it's only a "just in case" measure, is ridiculous.
What about track circuit actuating clips - has anyone heard anything about their removal?

Since it is the guard who typically protects in rear, I wonder if this is a sign that guards may not be with us for much longer.
Sorry Wink
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
It's not that uncommon to be unable to raise signal boxes when sitting at autos, especially on State of Origin night.

M
  scott4570 Chief Train Controller

all very true, but for us old blokes it goes back a bit further than that, remember in staff and ticket where you had time block or permissive working, where a train would enter a section, usually a long one, then after a specified period, depending on what it was (freight following a pass for example) it was permitted to enter the section with the appropriate token and a "Train Ahead Notice" tan.

Needless to say if you were on the first train, the knowledge that there was a following movememt possibly 20 min behind you, and there was no signal protection, no radio, then there was a scurry to have the guard protect.
"theanimal"



I agree with the above.

However, the subject was more to do with the CityRail area of the Railway, and not so much with the Country areas with Staff and Ticket, or even Train Order.

- Scott.
  scott4570 Chief Train Controller

This situation can still arise. Communication between driver/guard and signaller is not guaranteed and the current train radio is far from 100% reliable. Drivers can still pass red automatic signals without speaking to the signaller if for example the signaller cannot be raised on the radio or telephone.

Train crew should not assume that the signaller will always know what is going on in automatic sections because, among other things, the indications for these areas in signal boxes are often non-vital and occasionally freeze or fail.

I don't think this is a good idea, but this sort of "reform" doesn't surprise me. Again, I think we are opening up holes in safety defences just to save a few dollars.

To think that train crew are no longer expected to have an interest in laying protection in case of emergency, even if it's only a "just in case" measure, is ridiculous.
What about track circuit actuating clips - has anyone heard anything about their removal?

Since it is the guard who typically protects in rear, I wonder if this is a sign that guards may not be with us for much longer.
Sorry Wink
"HeadShunt"



I agree once again.

I think it's been done to deter vandals, more so, from breaking into trains.
More options, to maintain safety, are being taken away with this sort of action by CityRail Management.

- Scott.
  scott4570 Chief Train Controller

It's not that uncommon to be unable to raise signal boxes when sitting at autos, especially on State of Origin night.

M
"Grantham"



Yes, true.
In that case, especially in the Metro area, I'd be more inclined to sit where I was, unless I thought I could dribble forward, with confidence, and see what was ahead without incident.


- Scott.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Yes, true.
In that case, especially in the Metro area, I'd be more inclined to sit where I was, unless I thought I could dribble forward, with confidence, and see what was ahead without incident.


- Scott.
scott4570
More likely this move is so guards can be moved to the middle of the train on 8 car sets up the Blue Mountains and Illawarra lines to get rid of on board repeaters and station staff on curved platforms that are only manned for a few hours a day. It is a not surprising move to save money.

Rod
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Sometimes, things go seriously wrong, and it's all well and good for us to say that we have radios and track indicator diagrams now, but that won't help after the crash.

I'd hate to think that an accident could occur because communication with the signaller was down and there were no dets to protect a derailed/detained train.

Detonators, fusees, flags and hand lamps are the first principles of train protection.


Another thing: I hope they aren't going to remove detonators from trains that enter non track-circuited areas.

"Disasters don't just happen. They are triggered by a chain of critical events. Unravel the fateful decisions in those final seconds from disaster."

Those fateful decisions start with management. The risk assessments these guys must be using sound about as reliable as those used by investment banks in the lead up to the GFC. Next thing they'll delete the train protection instructions from the rule book.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Sometimes, things go seriously wrong, and it's all well and good for us to say that we have radios and track indicator diagrams now, but that won't help after the crash.

I'd hate to think that an accident could occur because communication with the signaller was down and there were no dets to protect a derailed/detained train.

Detonators, fusees, flags and hand lamps are the first principles of train protection.


Another thing: I hope they aren't going to remove detonators from trains that enter non track-circuited areas.

"Disasters don't just happen. They are triggered by a chain of critical events. Unravel the fateful decisions in those final seconds from disaster."

Those fateful decisions start with management. The risk assessments these guys must be using sound about as reliable as those used by investment banks in the lead up to the GFC. Next thing they'll delete the train protection instructions from the rule book.
HeadShunt
perhaps rather than whipping ourselves into a frenzy on things that we know little about, we wait until we see what the replacement rules are?

"detonators, flags and hand lamps are the first principles of train protection"

well wrong, they are the last, track circuitry, communications are a reflection of changing and evolving technologies that now form a part of the higher levels.

indeed I remember when there were no track circuit shorting clips,

but a reliance on detonators seems to be wedded in 19th century methods.

Even the comment on moving the guard to the middle of an 8 car IU and this is a justification on the removal of the dets indicates a complete lack of operating knowledge.

imagine if you will, a 1500 metre freight train where the person laying the protection has to first walk 1500 metres in the cess, then proceed another 500 metres to lay the primary protection, then proceed another couple of km to lay more protection, how long does this take?

then return to the loco, imagine doing this on the Cowan Bank, where is the safe place for the person to walk,

when was the last time detonators were laid to protect a failed train in the RailCorp network?

an outdated practise that should be consigned to the museum where it belongs
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

perhaps rather than whipping ourselves into a frenzy on things that we know little about, we wait until we see what the replacement rules are?

"detonators, flags and hand lamps are the first principles of train protection"

well wrong, they are the last, track circuitry, communications are a reflection of changing and evolving technologies that now form a part of the higher levels.

indeed I remember when there were no track circuit shorting clips,

but a reliance on detonators seems to be wedded in 19th century methods.
theanimal
You think this is a frenzy? You ain't seen nothing yet...


Yes, detonators are a nineteenth century method, and yes, they are the first principles of train protection, as in the fundamental or basic methods, because most other things came later and tend to rely on electrotechnology that didn't even exist when the first trains ran. Of course, that does not mean they are used first in track circuited areas with radios etc - that's not what I meant, I was not running through the procedure. In case you didn't notice, I did refer to them as a "just in case" measure...

Radios and telephones do the trick most of the time, no-one will deny that. The trouble is that when those more recent systems fail, nineteenth century methods may, just may, be all that is left.

The metronet radio frequently refuses to co-operate and the WB has never been particularly good. Track circuit actuating clips don't always drop track circuits.

Again, I'd hate to think that an accident could occur because communication with the signaller etc was down and there were no dets to protect a derailment.

It may never happen, but the operator is supposed to reduce risks so far as is reasonably practicable. By removing these safety devices from trains I'm not sure the SFAIRP requirement is being met, because holes are potentially being opened up in the defences. Clearly the operator sees it differently, but its credibility here is not the best because it has been known to suffer from myopia in the risk assessment department before.

imagine if you will, a 1500 metre freight train where the person laying the protection has to first walk 1500 metres in the cess, then proceed another 500 metres to lay the primary protection, then proceed another couple of km to lay more protection, how long does this take?
then return to the loco, imagine doing this on the Cowan Bank, where is the safe place for the person to walk,
an outdated practise that should be consigned to the museum where it belongs
theanimal
Laying detonators may not be feasible in every part of the network but that does not render them totally useless.

Aside from that, if we're talking about a train derailed and foul on a typical double line, wouldn't going forward to lay dets on the adjacent line be more important than taking "one long walk back" to protect in rear? That is assuming the whole train was not derailed, meaning that the track circuit should still be occupied. Then you'd have "standing wreckage protection" to proceed on foot or could even detach the loco to run forward if it wasn't destroyed. If I were the only able bodied crew member left, that's probably what I'd be doing if I couldn't get hold of anyone. I certainly would not be sitting in the cab, fat, dumb and happy, assuming that someone knew what had happened and would send help, while traffic on the adjacent line could be approaching at high speed.



In that case, especially in the Metro area, I'd be more inclined to sit where I was, unless I thought I could dribble forward, with confidence, and see what was ahead without incident.
- Scott.
scott4570


I've seen trains sit at failed automatic signals in the middle of nowhere for twenty minutes more than once, for no good reason at all. They just sat there. Radios didn't work so they couldn't call the Signaller and vice versa. Either there was no attempt to use the signal phone or it didn't work, nor were there any mobile phone calls from the Guard, maybe there was no reception. The obvious action under the circumstances should have been for the train to proceed.

Assuming visibility is good etc there comes a time when you have to just pass the signal and go, and that time should be within a few minutes subject to the conditions in the rule, having tried and failed to establish communication with the Signaller. Automatic signals are permissive for a reason, namely that a track circuit or train stop failure should not bring the whole network to a standstill. It's safe if the appropriate degree of caution is exercised, and perfectly within the rules.
  HMC1989 Chief Commissioner

Location: Behind a desk.
I can see why they are removing them. The amount of equipment lockers we repair at HMC due to vandals stealing Dets and Vests is out of control. On the flip side, I hope it doesn't compromise crew and passenger safety.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
I can see why they are removing them. The amount of equipment lockers we repair at HMC due to vandals stealing Dets and Vests is out of control. On the flip side, I hope it doesn't compromise crew and passenger safety.
HMC1989
Kids stealing them isn't a new phenomenon - been going on for decades (although it seems kids aren't too bright these days at avoiding blowing themselves up)
In the scheme of things the difference safety wise would be insignificant. Probably a greater risk to anyone out there trying to position the fire-crackers.
  TheLoadedDog The Ghost of George Stephenson

The Westinghouse brake is also a 19th century invention, but it seems to still do the job OK.  And trains also use this thing called the "wheel", apparently first invented by some guy named Og, living in a cave.  It too, seems to work OK.

This is a very retrograde step.  Sure, there are newer (and possibly even better) methods of protecting a failed or derailed train.  But what is the cost of a handful of detonators?  Buggrall.  Chuck a few dets into the cbinet in the cab, and you've got another layer of protection, should you ever need it.  And when things go wrong, every extra layer of protection helps.  

When I park on a hill, I leave the car in gear.  By the logic applied in this thread, why should I bother doing that if I've got the handbrake on?  Railways have a proud history of added redundancy in safeworking, and of having systems in place that revert to a failsafe mode if they fail.  So seriously, keep a handful of dets on the train, and it won't bust the bank, but will possibly one day prevent the Big One.

Sounds like the railways are letting dickheads with MBAs write the safeworking rules yet again...
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Sounds like the railways are letting dickheads with MBAs write the safeworking rules yet again...
TheLoadedDog™™
Lol the good ol' MBA (Master of Bugger All)... The decision was almost certainly made by a bunch of people who have either never been exposed to the risks (meaning most railway managers), never read many accident reports and seen what has happened in the past (meaning most railway managers), never seen or forgotten how often radios and telephones fail (meaning most railway managers), or who have been desensitised by spending years in an office (meaning most railway managers), and fooled by the wow factor of modern technology that will supposedly always save the day... until it doesn't.

And if they know the risks, they must be assuming that they will "probably" get away with it... until they don't.

Razz
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
...
When I park on a hill, I leave the car in gear.  By the logic applied in this thread, why should I bother doing that if I've got the handbrake on?  ...
TheLoadedDog™™

But do you chock a tyre as well Surprised

Your logic is flawed anyway because we don't all ride horses, use candles, or provide airline passengers with parachutes (just in case).

More likely someone has worked out that in the 21st century DETs make SFA difference in the scheme of things and a safety system based on fire-crackers pose a greater risk to those applying it and anyone who may get their hands on the things.

Same MBA logic as to why that flight attendant doesn't hand you a parachute on boarding Laughing
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
Detonators are certainly effective. Run over three dets? Stop. It's one of the clearest instructions on the railway.

It has saved many lives, and it is still in common enough use today to not want to get rid of. Of course, a new set of rules will be important and overdue, it's not as though we go back to protect just because of delays these days, for several reasons already mentioned. They're for when you lose the air and can't get communication, and trackwork.

Anyone who thinks that modern communications devices work have obviously not attempted to use them everywhere the railway goes, even in Railcorpse territory. Detonators are one item that most certainly DO work everywhere the railway goes!

M
  Goose Chief Train Controller

Train Radio = unreliable
Mobile phone = unreliable
Track Circuit clips = unreliable
Dets = reliable
  C3600 Train Controller

Location: Coniston
This is only involves the electric fleet and the areas they operate so...
Of all the current CityRail train crew commenting here, when was the last time (if ever) you actually laid any type of protection in an emergency situation using railway track signals for your failed/derailed electric train in the greater Sydney track circuited network?
Or when was the last time you heard of a derailed train fouling an adjacent running line get smacked by a train in the opposing direction because no protection was placed? Or get hit up the bum because no protection was laid and the following train passed an auto at stop and resumed normal speed?
On the flip side, how many times have you changed ends only to find out some little darling has broken into and most likely vandalised your cab and cleaned out your emergency locker of its dets?
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
when was the last time you heard of a derailed train fouling an adjacent running line get smacked by a train in the opposing direction because no protection was placed? Or get hit up the bum because no protection was laid and the following train passed an auto at stop
C3600
Both types of incident have occurred in the Sydney Metropolitan Area with EMUs, but not recently. If they have happened before, they could happen again.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Both types of incident have occurred in the Sydney Metropolitan Area with EMUs, but not recently. If they have happened before, they could happen again.
MILW

Risk assessments go deeper than it happened, it could happen again.

It's also what could happen and probably more likely - like someone getting rundown trying to place the fire-crackers.

Sounds more like another sacred cow reaction.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

Risk assessments go deeper than it happened, it could happen again.

It's also what could happen and probably more likely - like someone getting rundown trying to place the fire-crackers.

Sounds more like another sacred cow reaction.
cootanee
Umm yeah, right. Remember what operator you are talking about here!
There is a process to follow but as a rule it is done in reverse to justify business decisions that have already been made. I can see them now, sitting around a table, saying, "yeah, we've got radios, phones and monitors for signallers now. Dets are old fashioned, they just cost us money and get stolen all the time. Bin 'em." Then they type up the pretty arguments to support the decision that had already been made.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
Fairly sure they haven't been used in Victoria for train protection for a number of years. Can't see an issue.

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