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Foxfield Railway - Accident Report

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Christopher125, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Stewie Griffin

    Stewie Griffin New Member

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    I'm sorry, but I think I'll carry on keeping the paper trail in place. Makes life much easier answering questions should something (heaven forbid) happen.
     
  2. Edward

    Edward New Member

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    Being able to demonstrate that your staff are qualified to do a job, is a fundamental part of any workplace today. There's no getting away from that, and yes this probably is a warning shot to the heritage sector as a whole. If there is waste here, it's having two separate govt. agencies investigating one incident.

    If the Foxfield had no records of staff competence in place, and hadn't for several years, how come the ORR, etc, hadn't picked up on this before? If they had, then suspending services may not be quite the drastic step that it is being portrayed as above.
     
  3. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    Surely the "paper trail" is there for the railway to check on its own systems, not just the ORR. If the railway isn't monitoring its own training, operations, maintenance etc, then the paperwork is a total waste of time. By having the recording systems in place, the railway should be more aware of its operating and safety requirements and be able to check quickly if everything is in order.

    Does the ORR do regular inspections without much notice like Ofsted? If not, maybe they should! [retreats to bunker]

    Richard
     
  4. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Broadly I agree. But there is one huge problem with this, in that the decision as to who is competent can be itself flawed. The situation at Foxfield clearly needed rectifying, but equally clearly was rectified quite quickly, and could have been so with a bit less posturing.

    On a wider front, my own industry is obsessed with qualifications rather than experience, and I have seen people with extensive paper qualifications who haven't a clue be put in charge, while people who were in the industry years before such qualifications were invented or required are ignored. I have seen multi-million pound Government contracts fail for precisely this reason. I hope this doesn't apply to railways yet, but one can imagine a scenario in the future where it might. This is why some of us are apprehenisive about documentation becoming purely a backside-covering exercise rather than genuinely certifing competance.
     
  5. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    With good reason I suspect. When I worked for the Civil Service in the 1990s it was obsessed with Quality - ISO9001 - the Standard of Quality. This was based on vast quantities of documentation describing each procedure in great detail. When I pointed out that this only summed to consistency - not quality - I was dismissed as a non-believer BUT the case remained that if your goods / services were s**t to start with all the procedures would do was ensure a consistent quality of s**t which may not be of the highest. The worry is that documentation may become an end in itself and not the means to an end that it should / needs to be.
     
  6. mk1hater

    mk1hater New Member

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    While i do not disagree with what has been said, we would not be where we are today if we do not take calculated risks.

    Our Railway does not push High-Vis jackets, its spoils the atmosphere, and also means you will see that photographer with his head on the rail getting his perfect picture, before you hit him!

    We (as a heritage body) would not pull in the amount of volunteers we do if we sat them down and filled in mountains of paperwork before they can even pick up cloth and start cleaning. If this is the case alot of enthusiasm from this 'new starter' will be gone.

    We live in a safety concious society and my hat is taken off to Foxfield for continuing their fantastic operation despite what has been thrown at them, and i think its wrong that other on and off this forum are criticising the lack of paperwork...look at your own railways before criticising others...No one is perfect...

    [Joins Richard in the Bunker]
     
  7. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    This is what I find a little bit worrying. If you want to try and exist outside of modern legislation and practises then be prepared for the authorities to take away the things that you value the most - your heritage railway.

    The preserved railway sector does not deserve, or have any right, to exist outside of what is expected of them. If you want to run a railway then you have to be prepared to put in the paperwork to do it. To expect to be exempt from this purely because it's fun or involves people giving up their free time is naive.
     
  8. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    Hey Neil

    Did the Strathspey carry out a risk assessment for propelling a Shark brakevan, being used as a snowplough, at line speed in the recent snowfalls? You have to practice what you preach!
     
  9. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Is it fair to assume that volunteers at every heritage railway do a Personal Track Safety course. Then the volunteers that work in safety critical situations do a further safety course appertaining to their job on the railway. That should be enough. If a person does something that he has been told not to do and this results in personal injury, well it is that person's fault and not the Railway's. However, if the management see and condone such actions, rather than clamping down on said actions, then it is to be expected that the ORR (HMRI) will come down hard on the railway. Unfortunately, lax or incorrect management leads to a situation where the volunteers have the safety element of their work thrown at them in a needless manner. The vast majority of volunteers are sensible people who adhere to what they learn at safety courses, but are the management good enough to see that these safety practices are maintained?
    This comment is aimed at all Heritage railways.
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It's a fair bet that, if they had, they wouldn't have done it!
     
  11. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    Whether you like it or not, this is the regime you will have to comply with, and ORR inspectors will be coming to your railway to make sure that you do. If you have an accident or open any piece of new line they will come that much quicker, but they will come sooner or later. This is the new ROGS system: you no longer depend on HMRI to advise you what is safe. You find out for yourself what is safe for your individual railway, document that standard, and demonstrate that you comply. To follow an example quoted above, it may very well be acceptably safe for a heritage railway to operate without hi-vis vests in certain defined conditions, but someone will have to define those conditions, and sign for them, and the railway will have to show those conditions are met.

    Potentially this can run very deep. What is your defined standard for track maintenance: which qualified person set it and what was the basis of calculation. Where are your written inspection records, and are those who inspect and work on the track qualified to do so. Was the person who passed them out qualified to do so. Do you have a gauge to measure flange wear. What standard of flange wear do you accept and why, where are the inspection records for your entire fleet of rolling stock. Can you demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of those who come to your railway to work or to enjoy themselves.

    Whether I like all this, or whether it will be quite as much fun as some of the things we used to get up to is irrelevant. This is reality. I am aware of one railway which was recently instructed to create an inspection record for each piece of rail in the main line to demonstrate that it complied it a defined standard of wear, to be set on qualified advice by the company concerned.

    Tim
     
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  12. Ian1210

    Ian1210 New Member

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    Spot on! But whether we like it or not, we DO have to have such wonderfully complex things as SMS. It's the Law and I am pretty sure Tanfield will have some form of SMS as well! Having said that, surely the main point to remember is that an SMS should be tailored to the railway and its operations. That means that for smaller railways such as Tanfield, Foxfield and others, it need not be as complicated as it would need to be if it were for Great Central and, particularly, NYMR who operate on Network Rail. I suspect THEIR SMS would fill several volumes, knowing the requirements of Network Rail!!

    Let's just keep everything into perspective. What happened at Foxfield was, I suspect, one of those "There but for the grace of God" incidents. How many outfits shunt the way Foxfield were doing? "someone" decided to re-start the shunt early and "someone" ran to play catch-up. I've lost count of the number of times I have personally jumped on and off of moving vehicles without thinking - damned dangerous when you read it here, but at the time "It will save a bit of time during this shunt!" How many of us who operate our railways have done exactly the same? LOTS of us!

    We all need to learn from this incident and ensure that we think before we leap AND also make sure our paperwork is all up to date.

    AND just think - if it wasn't Foxfield, you can bet your life it would have been someone else's railway! Just be sure it won't be yours!!

    Ian
     
  13. MartinBall

    MartinBall Guest

    Remind me not to visit Tanfield or any line where Orion volunteers ... :)
     
  14. Orion

    Orion New Member

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    The comments were concerning Foxfield and I should think you will be safer there than in Lafayette or any other part of the USA for that matter.
     
  15. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    Even a monkey can sign a piece of paper.
    It proves only that you signed a piece of paper.
    It doesnt make you safe.

    Maybe railways should consider written exams to prove that the person signing the paper actually read the book / attended the course that came with it ?
    I know if tried to work on Network rail, their SMS will be much more than "heres a little red book sign here please".
     
  16. Edward

    Edward New Member

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    They already do. I've a 20 odd page NYMR bi annual rules paper to fill out! We don't do written papers on the mainline!
     
  17. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    Correct - we use a computer....
     
  18. 504

    504 New Member

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    my last rules were computer and paper !! plus a nice walk around some units at NH.
     
  19. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    Ah you're one of them...on NR we do our signalling comptencies on our beloved Cognisco computer programme.
     
  20. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant Member

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    You obviously didn't see how much snow there was. There was no way any loco was going to traipse through that all day. Yes I have seen some loose practises on the Strathspey but I have more faith in those in charge of the ops department than when I was a regular.

    Of course some these loose practises/ stupidity have led to injury though there is only one I can think of in recent times that was really serious.
     

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