Network Rail Crossing the Line Procedure

Our Ref: HSR/2/15
Head Office Circular: NP/138/21
29th April 2021
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


I write in relation to my concern as to Network Rails intention to introduce a new Crossing the Line procedure, which will operate without the need for Signallers to place signals at danger.

Your National Executive Committee (NEC) met on 27th April 2021 when it noted adopted the following report of its Health and Safety Sub Committee on this procedure:

We note the report from the Lead Union Health and Safety Representative and the resolution from Norwich Branch.

The General Secretary is instructed to arrange a meeting to discuss this matter between the Lead Union Health and Safety Representatives and the Health and Safety Sub Committee.

Any updates to be placed before this NEC.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.

The resolution from the Norwich branch referred to in this NEC decision is shown below.
In relation to this resolution the NEC agreed to note and adopt a decision of its Health and Safety Sub-committee, which was that items in this branch resolution are to be covered by the main file.

This branch is concerned to learn that Network Rail are still trying to push through the “Crossing the line procedure” without the need for Signallers to place signals at danger.

This will involve Signaller assurance that the line is clear without a Line Blockage at certain prior risk assessed locations.

In the event of a mistake, our infrastructure maintenance and renewal members face being hit by a train. Norwich Branch has concerns in the event of an accident the Signaller will be the one taking the blame for a flawed process, especially when taking into consideration Signaller workloads.

Our H&S reps have raised this omission consistently with the company's proposal. The company have repeatedly ignored our H&S reps concerns. Network Rail's attitude is that this system of 'Signaller judgment' is used at User Worked Crossings and so is acceptable.

There are many accidents and near misses that have occurred at user worked crossings and by not placing signals to danger when implementing crossing the line, this branch believes this an unacceptable risk to our members.

Norwich Branch asks that should the crossing the line procedure be bought into use, it must include signals being placed at danger, and further, that this position be made clear to Network Rail, RSSB and any RMT Representative or body that has decision making responsibility with regards to 'Crossing the line' procedures.

I am acting in accordance with the NEC instruction and will keep you advised of developments.

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

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary