In-cab radio communication

Our Ref: HSR/4/5
Head Office Circular: NP/242/14
17th November 2014
The Secretary
Dear Colleague


ORR have prosecuted a train driver following a SPAD and a TPWS re-set and go incident. Please find attached a briefing to RMT train driver members. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary

In-cab radio communication.

A member of ASLEF has recently been prosecuted by ORR following a SPAD and a re-set and continue event. As a result of the prosecution the driver has received a three month suspended prison sentence.

One of the charges levelled against the train driver was that he had not set up his Cab Secure Radio (CSR).

The case summary states that his actions meant that he was “in control of a runaway train, placing railway passengers and staff at risk of serious harm from a collision”.

It also states that by failing to set up his CSR, he prevented “direct contact” from the signaller. This is simply inaccurate.

Setting up the CSR has two stages: First, logging on by entering the appropriate area code. This puts the radio on the network. It means that the driver is contactable by the signaller. The second stage is putting in a signal number that identifies the train and produces a unique Train Reporting Number (displayed on the radio). The signaller can then communicate with
the driver on a one-to-one basis.

The individual involved in this case had completed the first stage. His radio was therefore live on the network. He was contactable through a General Call or Train Stop message. A General Call or Train Stop goes directly to all the drivers on a specified area within the network. When he received the General Call on his radio, the driver stopped his train.

Attempts to acquire the train reporting number (through entering the appropriate signal number) do occasionally fail through no fault of the driver. So long as drivers are able to enter the area code they can continue in service, as the driver can still receive calls or train stops from the signaller and a train can be stopped, as happened in this case.

It is a frequent occurrence for the CSR equipment to display “Radio Lost”. This effectively means there is no longer radio communication with the signaller – as long as the driver could reacquire the area code by manually re-entering the area code the train could continue in service.

The court found that by not acquiring the train reporting number on the radio and relying only on the area code the driver had broken the law.

RMT are concerned that in the course of their normal duties other train drivers could find themselves being prosecuted for a similar offence. Alongside ASLEF we are therefore advising RMT train driver members that as from 1st December 2014:
If you are unable to register the train reporting number on either the GSMR or CSR radio system then the train should not enter service and if in service the train should run at a maximum of 20mph.

RMT will advise Network Rail and all TOCs and FOCs that where there is no cab radio working, RMT members will run at a maximum of 20 mph in the affected area.