On 8 March, RSSB’s team of experts and supporting key industry representatives discussed the new and revised standards published in March 2021 – view webinar here.

A summary of this quarter’s Standards Catalogue changes is also available in the Standards Briefing Presentation.

Freight operation and transport of dangerous goods

A new Rail Industry Standard has been published to capture the relevant requirements and guidance for freight operation. This partly replaces the White Pages (GORT3056) and Pink Pages (GORT3053) which have been withdrawn.

RIS-3781-TOM Issue 1 - Requirements for the operation of freight trains and the conveyance of dangerous goods by any train

This new RIS incorporates the company-level requirements that were contained in GORT3056 and GORT3053 as well as relevant guidance from GOGN3653 and GOGN3676. There is also new guidance on securing and loading. 

Freight operation - changes to the Rule Book

A new Rule Book module and Information Handbook, and revisions to other existing modules, have been published to capture the relevant front-line instructions for freight operation. These partly replace the White Pages (GORT3056) and Pink Pages (GORT3053) which have been withdrawn.

The new and updated modules are:

Damage to earthworks and structures - changes to the Rule Book

Changes to the Rule Book were made following the Carmont accident in August 2020, and were published initially via the Weekly Operating Notice (WON) in September 2020. These changes have been refined further and are now published in the following modules:

New requirements have been added to what the driver must report to the signaller concerning damage to structures or earthworks and how the signaller must respond. This includes the option to use GSM-R broadcasts as a new method of implementing precautionary blanket speed restrictions in targeted areas where adverse conditions are expected.

As a result, corresponding references needed to be amended in the following modules:

Brake continuity tests - change to the Rule Book

On 1 August 2019 there was a loss of brake control on a sleeper train approaching Edinburgh. RAIB recommended Rule Book changes to make it clear that the brake continuity test should be undertaken after all coupling-related activities have been completed. The intent of this recommendation is to ensure the integrity of the mandated brake continuity test when coupling a locomotive to a train.

GERT8000-TW1 Issue 16 - Preparation and movement of trains

Section 4.2 has been amended to state that a brake continuity test on loco-hauled trains should not be carried out until all coupling operations have been completed. 

Compatibility between rail vehicles and underline bridges

Changes have been made to the Standards concerning rail vehicle compatibility with underline bridges to enable organisations to improve compatibility assessment and incorporate recent RSSB research findings.

The Route Availability (RA) system provides a simple method for undertaking an assessment of compatibility of the weight of rail vehicles with the load carrying capacity of underline bridges so that a bridge is not overloaded. A vehicle's weight is expressed as an RA number and similarly, the load carrying capacity of an underline bridge is also expressed as an RA number. If the vehicle RA numbers do not exceed the bridge RA number then compatibility is achieved.  

GERT8006 issue 3 - Route Availability Number for Assessment of Compatibility between Rail Vehicles and Underline Bridges

This Railway Group Standard (RGS) sets out requirements for determining Route Availability (RA) numbers for bridges and vehicles. 

RIS-8706-INS issue one Route Level Assessment of Technical Compatibility between Rail Vehicles and Underline Bridges

This new standard sets out requirements for, and guidance on the assessment of technical compatibility. It describes three stages of assessment: 

  • Stage 1 when the limits of validity of the RA system are met
  • Stage 2 when compatibility is not demonstrated at Stage 1 or if the bridge is outside the limits of validity
  • Stage 3 when the vehicle is outside the limits of validity and to establish whether an underline bridge is vulnerable to excessive dynamic effects.

A Guidance Note is available and worth a look if you are working in the wider topic of bridge loading, GCGN5612 issue two Rail Traffic Loading Requirements for the Design of Railway Structures. This summarises bridge loading requirements and helps navigate the complicated standards framework. 

AWS and TPWS interface and application

Changes have been made to the Standards concerning AWS and TPWS requirements.

GERT8075 Issue 4 - AWS and TPWS Interface Requirements

Requirements for trackside and onboard subsystem requirements have been reviewed and updated, and the standard now meets the criteria for a National Technical Rule, bringing it right up-to-date.

RIS-0775-CCS Issue 3 - AWS and TPWS Application Requirements

Requirements that were no longer applicable in GERT8075 have been retained and built on in issue 3 of this RIS.  It now also includes a more comprehensive set of requirements that can be used when taking decisions about integration of changes to AWS and TPWS subsystems with train operations on the GB mainline railway. This includes reference to legal requirements in the Railway (Safety) Regulations 1999 and several relevant Network Rail standards. 

Improving the Driver-Machine Interface for ERTMS and ETCS

Updates have been made to the Railway Group Standard to enable organisations to adopt new functionality in these systems.

GERT8402 Issue 3 - ERTMS/ETCS DMI National Requirements

Applying human factors to your safety management system

A fresh Guidance Note has been published which supports organisations in their application of human factors principles, and how to integrate them into their safety management processes. This will help organisations meet elements of the RM3 maturity model criteria.

GEGN8613 Issue 1 - Application of human factors within safety management systems

The Guidance document is divided into six sections:

  • Understanding what Human Factors is and how to apply it
  • Investigating incidents and learning from staff experiences
  • Applying human factors in design and change management
  • Applying human factors in risk assessment and management
  • Optimising operations and maintenance with human factors
  • Optimising organisational and safety culture.

Introduction and use of axle counters - managing the risk

The Rail Industry Standard RIS-8217-TOM issue one – Introduction and use of axle counters – managing the risk, has been withdrawn. This is because its three topics are either already covered by safety legislation, refer to obsolete communication systems or are covered by other standards.

On 07 June 2021, join RSSB’s team of experts and supporting key industry representatives to learn about the new and revised standards published in June 2021 – sign up for the webinar here.