Runaway Protection

Our Ref: HSR/2/1
Head Office Circular: NP/277/14
24th December 2014

The Secretary

Dear Colleague

Runaway Protection

Further to Head Office Circular NP/234/14, 14th November 2014, regarding the above matter I am pleased to report that in a response to our letter to Network Rail the company have acknowledged that the deployment of runaway protection in the form of the Vortok “Rearguard” device is important to them for the protection of track workers.

As a consequence of us raising our concerns with the company over the pace of the Rearguard programme a meeting took place at the Preston OHL Depot on 17th December 2014 where the company gave RMT details of the roll-out plan.

Network Rail has placed a firm order, funded centrally, with Vortok for Rearguard units for immediate dispersal to the Routes with manufacturer commencing immediately. The units will be deployed as follows:

•    LNE – 10
•    LNW(N) – 6
•    LNW(S) – 6
•    LNW (Works Delivery) – 2
•    Scotland – 6
•    Wales – 8

Network Rail is also seeking further, central funding for 10 units to be held as spares. Routes will also be able to purchase additional units directly from Vortok from the Route budget.

Network Rail have set up two training days in January 2015 at Preston on 22.01.14 and Rugby on 27.01.14. RMT will ensure that RMT Reps are included in these courses.
It was agreed that there is a need for extra consideration to be given for a meeting to discuss third rail area issues with third rail experts present.

Risk assessments will have to be carried out to explicitly state why Rearguard equipment will not be used. If no risk assessment is carried out and no mitigation provided then the equipment’s use will be mandatory.

A report of this meeting will be considered by the General Grades Committee in January 2015 and I will keep you informed of developments with this case.

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

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary