Network Rail - Crewe/Shrewsbury Modular Resignalling

Dear Colleague


At their meeting of 24th January 2013 the General Grades Committee received a report from our representatives in North Wales regarding their concerns that Network Rail’s resignalling scheme was putting the lives of staff, passengers and the travelling public at risk. The General Grades Committee adopted the following resolution:

That we note the report on file concerning problems on the Crewe to Shrewsbury modular signalling scheme and the control of signalling including “radar detection” level crossings from the Wales Railway Operating Centre (WROC) in Cardiff.

We note that this scheme has been delayed and welcome the fact that the current manual signal boxes have remained open for an extended period keeping our members in employment.

However, we are in no doubt, Network Rail will continue to work to iron out the technological problems.

We are alarmed at the reports received concerning safety and the proposals to operate these level crossings remotely.

Current reported problems are:

1) Barriers on all currently (manned) level crossings, not being fitted with detectors ie: When operated remotely would not detect a car underneath.

2) Signals not reverting to danger for 45 seconds when operated in “shadow mode”

3) Delays of 30 seconds with telephone contact to WROC in “shadow mode”.

4) Issues with scanning equipment located in the “six foot” getting covered in dirt and oil and affecting detection.

5) The system being operated by a 12V system as opposed to 24V or 48V which may lead to increases in barrier failure.

Therefore the General Secretary is instructed to:

1) Write to Network Rail asking for the implementation of modular signalling involving “radar detection” level crossings controlled remotely to be withdrawn as it is unsafe.

2) Write to the Office of Rail Regulation highlighting our concerns and seek a report back.

3) Raise suitable parliamentary questions in both the Welsh Assembly and Westminster Parliaments.

4) Write suitably worded press releases outlining our concerns, these also to be distributed locally and regionally within the Crewe to Shrewsbury Area.

Further we understand Network rail also has proposals to introduce “radar detection” level crossings nationally, which raises further concern.

Any further developments on this matter to be placed back before this General Grades Committee for due consideration.

Regional Councils and Branches to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments with this case.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Bob Crow

General Secretary