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'Applying the Rule'

'Applying the Rule' - or The Process to Pass a Signal Remaining at Danger

On the previous page, Phil Wimbush's description of Signal Operation, he goes into a little detail of the steps involved in a driver passing a failed signal - you can read his words here.  I also make reference to it in my page 'Passing Signals at Danger'.

However, a couple of readers have asked if I could go through the whole process, and as this is an Operational Procedures matter, I've decided to take you through the process step by step.

Overview

The descriptions that follow are in accordance with London Underground's current working practices.

Depending on where you are (at a station or on a 'running line) and the kind of signal (automatic or semi automatic), this dictates the procedure which must be followed, and I will 'work through' the various options and combinations.

Signals Remaining at Danger

Any Train Operator approaching a signal at danger should stop and secure their train.  They should then 'identify' the signal by looking at the signal's Identification Plate - more on this can be read on the London Underground Signals page.

The first thing that a Train Operator MUST remember is that when passing signals at danger, they must assume that there is a train in the section ahead.

Automatic Signals Remaining at Danger (Non-Station Starting Signals)

When a red signal is first sighted, the Train Operator must begin to apply the train's brakes in good time so that on arriving at the signal the train will be under complete control and can be stopped smoothly. The Train Operator will then:

  1. Identify the signal
  2. If it remains at Danger, wait for two minutes
  3. The Train Operator will record the details in his or her notebook
  4. Use the train radio to obtain information from the Line Controller about why he is being detained at the signal and act on any information received.
  5. If there is a trackside phone nearby, secure the train and, if necessary, arrange for traction current to be discharged.
  6. Use the telephone to obtain further information and/or instructions
  7. Return to the cab
  8. If the signal is still remaining at Danger, make a P.A. announcement to your passengers that you are about to carry out a routine procedure.  You should request that they take a seat if possible, or hold on to the grab rail as the train will move off, and then come to a halt again with a jolt. You do not tell them that you are going to pass a signal at Danger!
  9. Recheck the identity of the signal
  10. Give one long blast on the train's whistle
  11. Release the brakes
  12. Move forward until the tripcock is operated - ensure that you pass the trainstop just quickly enough to ensure that the tripcock arm is completely clear of the trainstop
  13. Secure the train
  14. Reset the tripcock and operate the 'slow speed' or Speed Control After Tripping (SCAT) switch, dependant on stock. These ensure that a train's speed is restricted for three minutes after being tripped (see below for images of different examples of this equipment)
  15. Give one long blast on the train's whistle and repeat this every 60 seconds until normal line speed is resumed
  16. Release the brakes
  17. Continue at a speed which will enable you to stop short of any obstruction (another train, a broken rail etc.) - in practice this means at no more than about 5 mph
  18. Continue until you have passed two consecutive stop signals (signals with trainstops associated to them) showing clear or caution aspects and then resume normal line speed. N.B. - even if the three minute time delay as described in 14 above has expired, speed MUST still be kept to the limits shown in 17 above
  19. Notify the Line Controller or Station Supervisor at the next station ahead that you passed the signal at Danger.

Note - Should the next signal you encounter be showing a red aspect, you must repeat the process as described.

C Stock Tripcock reset button and Time Delay Indicator. 

On a C Stock, the tripcock is reset electrically from the button in the top left of the picture. This automatically engages the SCAT, preventing the train exceeding caution speed following the tripcock having been operated. The time delay is indicated by the lamp second from the right.

SCAT Cut out Switch

Should, for some reason, the Speed Control malfunction, it is possible for the Train Operator to cut out (disconnect) the SCAT Circuit by operating the Speed Control Cut Out Switch.  If this done the train is capable of running at normal speed and great care must be exercised in the use of this device.

D Stock Tripcock Reset Rope

The tripcock on a D Stock is reset is reset by means of pulling a rope, which can just be seen left of centre at the bottom of the image above.  This is located in the cabinet behind the TMS unit.

This is the arrangement as used to apply to the D Stock. The reset was located on the front of the train, and to operate it, the Train Operator had to open the 'M' door, lean out and pull the rope.  Health and Safety consideration have led to the relocation of the rope into the cabinet as shown above.

Unlike the C Stock, the Slow Speed Control does not automatically engage when the tripcock is reset. To select Slow Speed, the Train Operator operates the Safety Brake Feed switch on the TMS which can be seen bottom left of this image. Again, there is a switch that allows the speed limit circuit to be cut out - the third rotary switch from the left on the top row of the TMS.

The Tripcock Delay Indicator is located on the panel just to the left of the Train Operator's windscreen.

Automatic Signals Remaining at Danger (Station Starting Signals only)

When entering a platform all Train Operators must ensure they maintain an awareness of any potentially dangerous conditions.

Having stopped and secured the train, the Train Operator will be waiting for the station starting signal to clear before closing the doors. You will see that the process that follows has many similarities to that described above, but with additional steps that must be followed.

  1. Identify the signal
  2. If it remains at Danger, wait for two minutes
  3. The Train Operator will record the details in his or her notebook
  4. Use the train radio to obtain information from the Line Controller about why he is being detained at the signal and act on any information received.
  5. If there is a trackside phone nearby, secure the train and, if necessary, arrange for traction current to be discharged.
  6. Use the telephone to obtain further information and/or instructions
  7. Return to the cab
  8. If he is not already in attendance, give one long blast on the train whistle to attract the attention of the Station Supervisor - act on any information received.
  9. Use the P.A. to inform passengers of the delay.
  10. If the Train Operator is unable to make contact with the Station Supervisor he or she should use whatever other means of communication that may be available to obtain further information - this could include train radios in other cabs of the train (if that in the 'front cab' was not working), telephone on the platform, mobile phone etc. - and act on any information received.
  11. If it is still impossible to contact anyone, try to stop a train in an adjacent platform and use the radio on that train, again acting on any information received.
  12. The Train Operator then returns to his own train
  13. Make a P.A. announcement as described in 8 above.  At this point there MUST be a member of uniformed staff available to give the Train Operator the 'Right' after the train has passed the signal
  14. Carry out platform duties in the normal way
  15. Close the train doors, ensuring that the 'Doors Closed' visual in the cab illuminates in the usual way.
  16. Give one long blast on the train whistle until the tripcock is operated, being aware of the proximity of the platform
  17. Secure the train
  18. Reset the tripcock
  19. Ensure the 'Doors Closed' visual is still illuminated
  20. Obtain the 'Right' to proceed from a uniformed member of station staff
  21. Give another long blast on the whistle, release the brakes and whistle every 60 seconds until line speed can be resumed
  22. Continue at a speed where the train can be stopped short of any obstruction, as described at 17 above
  23. Continue at this speed until two consecutive stop signals showing clear or caution and then resume normal line speed

That completes the procedures related to automatic signals.  Although not stated previously, it is worth pointing out that in both these circumstances the signals have been passed at Danger on the Train Operator's own authority.  This is in order, though it is vital that all the steps outlined have been adhered to.

Semi Automatic Signals Remaining at Danger

Where semi automatic signals remain at Danger - because they are controlled and in some cases may be followed by a set of points - it is important that permission is obtained before they are passed. In addition to semi automatic signals, permission must also be obtained before passing 'X' signals remaining at Danger; for this purpose they are 'semi automatic' signals.

Where a semi automatic signal is followed immediately by a set of points, the signal may not be passed until the points have been secured, either by the use of scotch and clip or by the use of a remote securing facility.

However, these procedures do not apply where a semi automatic signal is working automatically. This would by indicated by an illuminated 'A' sign at the signal.  If this is the case the procedures relating to automatic signals remaining at Danger would be used.

Semi Automatic Signals Remaining at Danger (Non-Station Staring Signals)

  1. Having secured the train, identify the signal as described above
  2. Wait at the signal for two minutes, if it remains at Danger
  3. The Train operator must record the details in his or her notebook
  4. Use the train radio to obtain information and act on any instructions received                 Note:  The Line Controller CANNOT authorise a Train Operator to pass a semi automatic signal which is remaining at Danger. This MUST be done by a Signal Operator, Station Supervisor or an 'Operating Official' (usually a Duty Manager) by direct telephone, yellow handlamp or flag or in person.
  5. If the Train Operator is unable to contact the Line Controller, he or she must secure the train
  6. Use a trackside telephone if available to obtain information, establish why the signal is remaining at Danger and act on any information received
  7. The Train Operator returns to the cab
  8. A P.A. announcement must be made, informing passengers about the delay
  9. If the Train Operator is still unable to obtain information alternative means of communication should be used, as outlined in 10 above
  10. If appropriate, return to the front cab                                                                                      If there are points ahead of the signal it must not be passed until they are properly                                                                secured                                                                             When the Train Operator is authorised to pass the signal, he or she must:
  11. Use the P.A. to inform passengers that the Train Operator is about to carry out a routine procedure
  12. Recheck the identity of the signal
  13. Give one long blast on the whistle
  14. Release the brakes
  15. Move the train forward until the tripcock is operated
  16. Secure the train
  17. Reset the tripcock
  18. Give another long blast on the whistle, repeating this every 60 seconds until the train resumes normal line speed
  19. Release the brakes
  20. Continue at a speed where the Train Operator is able to stop short of any obstruction, as described previously
  21. The Train Operator must visibly check any points; that they are set and secured properly with scotch and clip before passing over them, if no 'route secured' visual is illuminated
  22. Continue at the same reduced speed until the train has passed two consecutive stop signals showing clear or caution aspects, and then resume normal line speed.

Semi Automatic Signals Remaining at Danger (Station Staring Signals Only)

When entering a platform all Train Operators must ensure they maintain an awareness of any potentially dangerous conditions.

Having stopped and secured the train, the Train Operator will be waiting for the station starting signal to clear before closing the doors. You will see that the process that follows has many similarities to that described above, but with additional steps that must be followed.

  1. Identify the signal
  2. If it remains at Danger, wait for two minutes
  3. The Train Operator will record the details in his or her notebook
  4. Use the train radio to obtain information from the Line Controller about why he is being detained at the signal and act on any information received.                                                Note:  The Line Controller CANNOT authorise a Train Operator to pass a semi automatic signal which is remaining at Danger. This MUST be done by a Signal Operator, Station Supervisor or an 'Operating Official' (usually a Duty Manager)
  5. If there is a trackside telephone nearby, the Train operator must secure his or her train
  6. Use the trackside telephone to obtain further information
  7. The Train Operator must then return to his or her cab
  8. If he is not already in attendance, give one long blast on the train whistle to attract the attention of the Station Supervisor - act on any information received.
  9. Use the P.A. to inform passengers of the delay.
  10. If the Train Operator is unable to make contact with the Station Supervisor he or she should use whatever other means of communication that may be available to obtain further information - this could include train radios in other cabs of the train (if that in the 'front cab' was not working), telephone on the platform, mobile phone etc. - and act on any information received.
  11. If it is still impossible to contact anyone, try to stop a train in an adjacent platform and use the radio on that train, again acting on any information received.
  12. The Train Operator then returns to his own train.  If the Train Operator still cannot obtain authority to pass the signal, he or she must not move the train until assistance arrives                                                                                                                                        Note:  If there are points ahead of the signal, the signal must not be passed until they are properly secured.  In addition, a uniformed member of staff must be available to       give the Train Operator the 'Right' after passing the signal.                                              When the Train Operator is authorised to pass the signal, he or she must:
  13. Make a P.A. announcement as described in 8 above. At this point there MUST be a member of uniformed staff available to give the Train Operator the 'Right' after the train has passed the signal
  14. Recheck the identity of the signal
  15. Carry out platform duties in the normal way and obtain the 'Right' from the station staff
  16. Close the train doors, ensuring that the 'Doors Closed' visual in the cab illuminates in the usual way.
  17. Give one long blast on the train whistle
  18. Release the brakes
  19. Move the train forward until the tripcock is operated, having checked the platform before moving off
  20. Secure the train
  21. Reset the tripcock
  22. Ensure the 'Doors Closed' visual is still illuminated
  23. Obtain the 'Right' to proceed from a uniformed member of station staff
  24. Give another long blast on the whistle, and whistle every 60 seconds until line speed can be resumed
  25. Release the brakes
  26. Continue at a speed where the train can be stopped short of any obstruction, as described at 17 above
  27. Where points are immediately ahead of the signal ensure they are properly secured before passing over them
  28. Resume normal line speed after passing two consecutive stop signals showing clear or caution aspects

In Conclusion:

As I am sure you have come to realise as you have read this item, it is vitally important that a Train Operator is fully conversant with these procedures, and, should it be necessary to pass a signal remaining at Danger that the signal has been identified correctly and that the correct procedure is applied for it, and for it's location.

During a Train Operator's training this procedure has to be described absolutely correctly during the computer based assessment for Operational Procedures. Every step must be followed, and in the correct sequence. Further more, as this is obviously a Safety Critical aspect the marks it carries are 'weighted' and only two small errors will result in failing the assessment - that is just how important this procedure is.

In closing, this procedure is that appropriate to London Underground.  As you will know, the District line also operates under National Rail rules in some areas, and we too need to know the correct procedure should we need to pass signals at Danger whilst on their metals. Many aspects are similar, but there are differences, so that's another whole set of rules that we need to know, and be able to follow to the letter!

 

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