We are always working collaboratively with industry to ensure that the standards we create and maintain are fit for purpose, up to date and practical to implement. In 2016, it became apparent that one of our Standards – GIRT7016 – had a number of issues. Rail suppliers were finding it difficult to construct platforms within the tolerances set by the standard. Construction tolerances meant that some platform edges were just a few millimetres out, with the problem that the Certification Body could not authorise them. At the same time, the standard which sets out the requirements for the platform overrun risk zone behind the buffer stop (GCRT5033) was being questioned by an RSSB Member, Chiltern Railways, at Marylebone Station. Coincidentally, proposed works at Hull Paragon station had flagged up some inconsistencies in a risk assessment model contained within the standard. 

Having analysed the issue, we embarked on a project to consolidate the two standards into one. This was achieved through a number of industry stakeholder workshops which included train operators and Network Rail.

As a result of the consultation and development work, specific improvements were made to the standard, including:

  • Adjusting the construction tolerance for the height of the platform coper (it is amazing the difference 10mm can make).
  • Providing additional guidance, ensuring users understand the requirements of the PRM TSI in relation to the width of platforms in the UK context.
  • Consolidating and improving the requirements for platform lighting, ensuring the advice on this was simple, consistent, user friendly and achievable. Guidance was provided to clarify the context of other lighting requirements which are included within EN standards and DfT documents.
  • Describing the rationale for the standard more fully – to enhance the user’s understanding of the context of the requirements and where to seek additional information.

The industry workshops for the buffer stop overrun risk zone resulted in the removal of anomalies in the risk assessment and allowed users to consider the design of the overrun area in conjunction with the design of the buffer stops and associated track and equipment. This means there is now an option to place some buildings into the risk zone area, provided certain criteria are met. 

These changes came together in the publication of the standard as a RIS which is in line with Industry Standards Strategy, in June 2018. As a result of these changes, we have:

  • Reduced the risk of a platform being built and found to be non-authorisable as this would normally result in extensive costs to agree and enact actions to remedy the situation
  • Provided an improved requirement which reflects the constraints of constructing platforms and will, in turn, reduce the number of deviations needed
  • Provided a series of presentations which have improved users’ understanding of the context for the standard, thus reducing the risk of any incorrect applications of the standard
  • Given greater flexibility to station owners and managers in how they use the space within the buffer risk zone, allowing opportunity for the effective use of station concourse areas
  • Helped to progress the industry awareness and understanding of how RIS documents need to be adopted and implemented.