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Publication Date: February 20 2013
Serious problems have been uncovered on the Crewe-Shrewsbury scheme, forcing the manual signal boxes to be retained but RMT is concerned that this may only be a short-term measure.
The current reported problems are:
1) Barriers on the currently manned level crossings, not being fitted with the correct detectors which means that if they were to be operated remotely they would not detect a car underneath.
2) Signals are not reverting to danger for 45 seconds when operated in the trial mode, a potentially lethal delay in the dangerous environment of a level crossing.
3) Similar delays of 30 seconds with telephone contact to the remote operating centre in trial mod with the same potentially lethal consequences.
4) Issues with the remote scanning equipment getting covered in dirt and oil and affecting detection.
5) The system being operated by a 12V system as opposed to 24V or 48V leading to potential increases in barrier failure due to a lack of power.
As a result of these serious issues being raised through the union’s structure RMT has agreed to the following programme:
1) Write to Network Rail asking for the implementation of modular signalling involving “radar detection” level crossings controlled remotely to be withdrawn on the grounds of serious safety issues.
2) Write to the Office of Rail Regulation highlighting our concerns and seek a report back.
3) Take the campaign for the withdrawal of the programme to both the Welsh Assembly and Westminster Parliaments.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“RMT is deeply worried at the reports we have received from the ground concerning safety issues arising from the proposal to operate level crossings remotely.
“With all the media coverage of deaths on level crossings, and the ever present dangers in the level crossing environment, there can be no excuse for pressing on with a remotely operated system that is so clearly flawed.
“RMT wants the implementation of this system withdrawn on the grounds of safety as a matter of urgency.”