Better Adhesion Information for Drivers

Low adhesion between the wheels and the railhead is a threat to both safety and service punctuality, and drivers play an important role in managing the risks.

Recent research (T1159) into driving technique confirmed that there is greater variability during low adhesion than at other times. Providing drivers with the information required to drive safely and confidently plays a vital part in mitigating seasonal problems. 

Toolkit for train operator to improve driver information 

The rail industry invests time, effort and money to provide drivers with information on adhesion. Following extensive consultation with drivers, RSSB has put together a toolkit to help trainers and managers make sure this information is accurate, usable and supports confident driving. This involves providing the right information, delivered in the right way and at the right time. 

The toolkit is packed with useful tips and techniques, built around four key opportunities to provide drivers with information: 

  • Seasonal preparation – driver briefings and publications 
  • Booking-on for work and before driving
  • Information and feedback during driving
  • Driver-to-driver information sharing.

Flagging low adhesion risk in real time

The Adhesion Digital Solution (ADS) is a new application that identifies low adhesion along routes and communicates this information to drivers. ADS has been launched by 3Squared and the Met Office and its development was funded through RSSB’s Enabling innovation for train operators (TOC 17) competition for innovative projects.

ADS collates ‘crowd sourced’ driver-reported data and combines it with data from the Met Office Low Adhesion model. Together these data sets give drivers detailed, up-to-the-minute adhesion forecasts in the cab and through an operator’s portal. The system has been trialed in Scotland during Colas Rail’s normal operations. 

To find out more, email

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