RSSB has published new advice which gives signallers the option of alerting train drivers who are approaching poor rail conditions through an automated message, allowing drivers to adapt their technique in response.
These poor conditions could be brought about by the weather or contamination of the rails, most notoriously by “leaves on the line”, which can lead to a loss of adhesion between the train and rail.
By acknowledging the advance warning, drivers can show the signaller they’ve heard and understood the message, without the need to be signalled down to a stop to be given the message.
All trains operating on the mainline network already have the necessary technology installed. Since 2014, Britain’s railways have used a digital communication system known as GSM-R, which allows signallers to pre-record messages that play aloud to train drivers at a designated location.
RSSB director of standards Tom Lee said: “This is a great opportunity for the railway to take advantage of existing technology to unlock benefits for both safety and reliability of train services to passengers and freight customers.
“GSM-R is a modern and robust cab-to-shore communication technology which is now well-established and so allows us to now explore its full potential for improving the way rail services are run.”