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Authorizing train to pass red signal

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 18/09/2021 at 15:03 #141604
jean_gagne_555
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Hello,

I was wondering what would be the more prototypical approach to authorizing a train to pass a red signal.

Currently, I wait for the driver to call and then give the authorization to pass the signal. The reason I do this is that I assume that the signaler has no knowledge of when the train stops.

Is this the correct approach ? Or should I give the authorization as soon as I get the message that the train is stopped ?

Thanks

Jean Gagné
Warwick, Canada

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 18/09/2021 at 15:46 #141605
TUT
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Traditionally you would indeed have had to wait for the driver to ring using the signal post telephone and you wouldn't have known when the train had actually stopped unless you could see it out of the window.

These days with GSM-R radio (Global System for Mobile communications - Railway) the driver can send a waiting at signal message (kind of like the one you get in SimSig) at the push of a button and the signaller can send a contact signaller message at any time, including in response to a waiting at signal message, but also while the train is moving. If you know the train has stopped you can also ring the train yourself. Modelling something like this in SimSig comes up from time to time.

With this in mind if you're running a modern timetable and simulating a modern era you can give authority straight away through F2.

If you're playing a game set in an older era you might choose to wait, although the current rule book does require drivers to call immediately on being detained at a signal, unless they can see an obvious reason why they have been detained, in which case they should wait two minutes, or another time as shown on signal post signage or in the sectional appendix (which time may be 0 minutes). Not sure what the rules have been traditionally but that could also be taken as an excuse to dive right in.

It's a pretty open question and it's your choice really. Authorising a real train to pass a real signal at danger takes quite a bit longer than it does on SimSig because of all the safety critical comms so, as I've said before, unless you're gonna sit there and do the comms with yourself at your computer, I actually find the 2 minute delay is quite a nice compromise simulation of the time it takes to do a real 'S5'.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 18/09/2021 at 17:42 #141606
chrisdmadd
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TUT in post 141605 said:
Traditionally you would indeed have had to wait for the driver to ring using the signal post telephone and you wouldn't have known when the train had actually stopped unless you could see it out of the window.

These days with GSM-R radio (Global System for Mobile communications - Railway) the driver can send a waiting at signal message (kind of like the one you get in SimSig) at the push of a button and the signaller can send a contact signaller message at any time, including in response to a waiting at signal message, but also while the train is moving. If you know the train has stopped you can also ring the train yourself. Modelling something like this in SimSig comes up from time to time.

With this in mind if you're running a modern timetable and simulating a modern era you can give authority straight away through F2.

If you're playing a game set in an older era you might choose to wait, although the current rule book does require drivers to call immediately on being detained at a signal, unless they can see an obvious reason why they have been detained, in which case they should wait two minutes, or another time as shown on signal post signage or in the sectional appendix (which time may be 0 minutes). Not sure what the rules have been traditionally but that could also be taken as an excuse to dive right in.

It's a pretty open question and it's your choice really. Authorising a real train to pass a real signal at danger takes quite a bit longer than it does on SimSig because of all the safety critical comms so, as I've said before, unless you're gonna sit there and do the comms with yourself at your computer, I actually find the 2 minute delay is quite a nice compromise simulation of the time it takes to do a real 'S5'.
Very well said, incidents on the railway take an absolute age to deal with and get things moving again. In Simsig its generally done much much quicker. So best approach i find is to wait for the train to call and deal with it then... however frustrating this may be at times, its probably still quicker than in the real world.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 18/09/2021 at 18:50 #141607
jean_gagne_555
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In reality, how long would it usually take to authorize the driver to pass the red signal after receiving the initial call ? Maybe we could "simulate" that by asking him the call again in , say 5 minutes, before giving the authorization ?
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 18/09/2021 at 19:03 #141608
jc92
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Dealing with the issue is separate to the authorisation (I've had a train waiting 20 minutes for someone to handcrank points for instance) but as a typical example I had to do recently the call would be something like:

Loughborough signalbox signaller speaking.

Hello signaller, driver of two bravo zero one standing at red signal Lima four eight.

Hello driver two bravo zero one at red signal Lima four eight, at present I have a technical fault preventing me from clearing the signal. Im authorising you to pass signal Lima four eight at danger and proceed cautiously obeying all other fixed signals. The route is set and locked for the safety of your train into platform one, however I need to remind you to check the points are set safely before proceeding over them.

Understood. Im authorised to pass Lima four eight at danger and proceed into platform one cautiously and obeying all other signals. Ill check the points before I pass over them.

Thats correct. Signaller out

Thanks. Driver out

"We don't stop camborne wednesdays"
Last edited: 18/09/2021 at 19:04 by jc92
Reason: None given

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 07:08 #141610
flabberdacks
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jean_gagne_555 in post 141607 said:
In reality, how long would it usually take to authorize the driver to pass the red signal after receiving the initial call ? Maybe we could "simulate" that by asking him the call again in , say 5 minutes, before giving the authorization ?
Depending on which country's rule book you're using the conversation is formatted a little differently.

You would need time to state that the signal could not be cleared, assure them regarding the state of the block, points, and the lack of any conflicting movements, then directly state they are authorised to pass the signal. That would all then need to be repeated back and confirmed as correct.

Shouldn't take any longer than 1-2 minutes per train once the call is established

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 07:50 #141612
TUT
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The Network Rail script used to go:

Driver of six mike three one standing at mike echo one five one signal, due to a track circuit failure I cannot clear signal mike echo one five one. When authorised I will require you to pass mike echo one five one signal at danger, proceed cautiously through the section and obey all other signals. Please repeat this message back to me.

You'd then need to get that repeated back in full, make any corrections, come to a clear understanding etc. If there are level crossings you need to pass on the required instructions and also instruct the driver to pass any SPAD indicator that might illuminate, if there are any (not very common).

However, a recent Rule Book change said that you're supposed to tell the driver whether you want them to proceed at a reduced speed until the aspect of the next main aspect stop signal ahead has been seen, at which point they can then obey that signal, or whether you want them to continue at a reduced speed until reaching that signal. Also, if you want a train to proceed only as far as a ground-position light signal, you have to explicitly state that (otherwise drivers will ignore GPLs in the route - you don't have to tell them to do that if that's what you want them to do).

In any case, you should then close out the conversation with:

That is correct driver, I authorise you to pass mike echo one five one signal at danger.

It can be quite slick and certainly shouldn't take 5 minutes per train, but with all the repeat backs and things it's a lot more than a couple of clicks.

P.S. On Network Rail there is currently no requirement to say anything about points when passing a signal at danger, although with wrong-direction movements you do tell them to check, where possible, that points and crossings are set correctly for the movement (and that any unworked points have been secured (no need to say that if there aren't any)).

Last edited: 19/09/2021 at 07:58 by TUT
Reason: None given

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 07:59 #141613
kbarber
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Of course there was a time when you had to wait for the fireman/secondman/guard to walk to the box (I'm looking at those 1950s timetables some brave folk have created), unless the standing train was in sight of the signalbox in which case you could authorise him to draw down to the box with a green handsignal (and no specific instructions until he got there). The actual comms were rather more relaxed than nowadays, but if the the block bells or instruments had failed in an absolute block area the guard also had to be advised, so the driver had to draw forward and stop again for that to be done, before proceeding on a handsignal.
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 09:11 #141614
Splodge
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Nothing to add to the above as a current driver (although unlike SimSig, we use the phrase signal at danger and not stop).

Time can also be saved where a TCF takes out multiple signals as happened to me at Heaton Norris recently - authorised to pass the first (HN9) following the script from TUT, however on the end of the conversation was 'and can you immediately call from HN5 when you reach it due to the same failure' (or words to that effect).

To further add to this, there is now a procedure for passing two signals in succession subject to a number of clauses being met. Unfortunately for Heaton Norris, one of those clauses is that the line must be TCB!

There's the right way, the wrong way and the railway.
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 09:37 #141616
TUT
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Splodge in post 141614 said:
To further add to this, there is now a procedure for passing two signals in succession subject to a number of clauses being met. Unfortunately for Heaton Norris, one of those clauses is that the line must be TCB!
And then of course there's temporary block working & emergency special working.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 10:17 #141617
jc92
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TUT in post 141612 said:

P.S. On Network Rail there is currently no requirement to say anything about points when passing a signal at danger, although with wrong-direction movements you do tell them to check, where possible, that points and crossings are set correctly for the movement (and that any unworked points have been secured (no need to say that if there aren't any)).
While there's no requirement in the rulebook, in this case the signal in question reads onto three different routes through a series of pointwork, so as a matter of personal opinion, I'd always advise the driver which way he SHOULD be going, just in case they're set wrong, to avoid him taking the wrong route with the subsequent problems that arise.

Within our rules framework (heavily based on the RSSB but with modifications), we do remind the drivers about their duty to check pointwork in general, purely because there have been issues in the past which could've been avoided had the driver not taken the routesetting for granted. as has been mentioned above, any unusual route setting such as SLW over points which don't have an FPL etc we would need to positively confirm we've taken steps to secure the route, although that conversation would be with a Pilotman, not the driver.

"We don't stop camborne wednesdays"
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 16:36 #141619
Ron_J
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TUT in post 141612 said:
The Network Rail script used to go:

Driver of six mike three one standing at mike echo one five one signal, due to a track circuit failure I cannot clear signal mike echo one five one. When authorised I will require you to pass mike echo one five one signal at danger, proceed cautiously through the section and obey all other signals. Please repeat this message back to me.

You'd then need to get that repeated back in full, make any corrections, come to a clear understanding etc. If there are level crossings you need to pass on the required instructions and also instruct the driver to pass any SPAD indicator that might illuminate, if there are any (not very common).

However, a recent Rule Book change said that you're supposed to tell the driver whether you want them to proceed at a reduced speed until the aspect of the next main aspect stop signal ahead has been seen, at which point they can then obey that signal, or whether you want them to continue at a reduced speed until reaching that signal. Also, if you want a train to proceed only as far as a ground-position light signal, you have to explicitly state that (otherwise drivers will ignore GPLs in the route - you don't have to tell them to do that if that's what you want them to do).

In any case, you should then close out the conversation with:

That is correct driver, I authorise you to pass mike echo one five one signal at danger.

It can be quite slick and certainly shouldn't take 5 minutes per train, but with all the repeat backs and things it's a lot more than a couple of clicks.

P.S. On Network Rail there is currently no requirement to say anything about points when passing a signal at danger, although with wrong-direction movements you do tell them to check, where possible, that points and crossings are set correctly for the movement (and that any unworked points have been secured (no need to say that if there aren't any)).
Just a word of caution (ho ho!) against making blanket statements like "The Network Rail script used to go" as it's actually highly dependent on where you are in the country. Some areas provide scripts and some areas don't. Ultimately as long as all the requirements of the Rule Book are met and a clear understanding is reached the actual structure of the communication is not that important. The Rule Book is not overly prescriptive about the wording and structure of the conversation though it does have key phrases that must be used, such as 'proceed at caution' (not "proceed cautiously through the section").

Certainly where I am the suggested script, which is a relatively recent innovation that most of the signallers have little interest in adopting and management don't seem too fussed about either, doesn't require the conversation to be structured in the rather awkward tell-the-driver-you're-authorising-him-and-then-authorise-him-again manner you've set out. Actually our script was recently withdrawn due to the added complication arising from the amendment allowing passing two consecutive stop signals at danger.

Last edited: 19/09/2021 at 16:38 by Ron_J
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 18:29 #141620
Dionysusnu
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TUT in post 141612 said:
However, a recent Rule Book change said that you're supposed to tell the driver whether you want them to proceed at a reduced speed until the aspect of the next main aspect stop signal ahead has been seen, at which point they can then obey that signal, or whether you want them to continue at a reduced speed until reaching that signal. Also, if you want a train to proceed only as far as a ground-position light signal, you have to explicitly state that (otherwise drivers will ignore GPLs in the route - you don't have to tell them to do that if that's what you want them to do).
The GPL part - is that part of that same rule book change? I was reading an RAIB report a while ago which stated a signaller specifically had to authorise for each of the GPLs individually.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 18:50 #141621
TUT
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Ron_J in post 141619 said:
Just a word of caution (ho ho!) against making blanket statements like "The Network Rail script used to go" as it's actually highly dependent on where you are in the country. Some areas provide scripts and some areas don't. Ultimately as long as all the requirements of the Rule Book are met and a clear understanding is reached the actual structure of the communication is not that important. The Rule Book is not overly prescriptive about the wording and structure of the conversation though it does have key phrases that must be used, such as 'proceed at caution' (not "proceed cautiously through the section").

Certainly where I am the suggested script, which is a relatively recent innovation that most of the signallers have little interest in adopting and management don't seem too fussed about either, doesn't require the conversation to be structured in the rather awkward tell-the-driver-you're-authorising-him-and-then-authorise-him-again manner you've set out. Actually our script was recently withdrawn due to the added complication arising from the amendment allowing passing two consecutive stop signals at danger.
Good point

"Rather awkward tell-the-driver-you're-authorising-him-and-then-authorise-him-again" < yes this part in particular is not ideal and this very point came up in my rules exam.

Very well then I should say that I have quoted directly from the script I was trained on in initial signaller training. The railway is a big place with a long memory

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 18:53 #141622
TUT
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Dionysusnu in post 141620 said:
TUT in post 141612 said:
However, a recent Rule Book change said that you're supposed to tell the driver whether you want them to proceed at a reduced speed until the aspect of the next main aspect stop signal ahead has been seen, at which point they can then obey that signal, or whether you want them to continue at a reduced speed until reaching that signal. Also, if you want a train to proceed only as far as a ground-position light signal, you have to explicitly state that (otherwise drivers will ignore GPLs in the route - you don't have to tell them to do that if that's what you want them to do).
The GPL part - is that part of that same rule book change? I was reading an RAIB report a while ago which stated a signaller specifically had to authorise for each of the GPLs individually.
It was added to the Rule Book in December 2020. The briefing notes said it was in response to an incident(s?) in the past where the signaller did not explicitly state that the train was authorised only as far as a specified GPL and the train then proceeded further than was intended.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 19/09/2021 at 19:49 #141623
Ron_J
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It was already a very widely held belief amongst signallers and drivers that being authorised to pass a main aspect at danger implied you were ok to proceed up to the next main aspect and could disregard any GPLs in the route (despite the phrase ‘obey all other signals’) so the change really just codified this.
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 20/09/2021 at 09:10 #141629
kbarber
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TUT in post 141621 said:

Very well then I should say that I have quoted directly from the script I was trained on in initial signaller training. The railway is a big place with a long memory :P
Not long enough though. That derailment at Waterloo during the remodelling would not have happened if the memory had gone as far back as Clapham Junction (December 1988).

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 20/09/2021 at 11:23 #141630
stighetl
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jc92 in post 141608 said:
Dealing with the issue is separate to the authorisation (I've had a train waiting 20 minutes for someone to handcrank points for instance) but as a typical example I had to do recently the call would be something like:

Loughborough signalbox signaller speaking.

Hello signaller, driver of two bravo zero one standing at red signal Lima four eight.

Hello driver two bravo zero one at red signal Lima four eight, at present I have a technical fault preventing me from clearing the signal. Im authorising you to pass signal Lima four eight at danger and proceed cautiously obeying all other fixed signals. The route is set and locked for the safety of your train into platform one, however I need to remind you to check the points are set safely before proceeding over them.

Understood. Im authorised to pass Lima four eight at danger and proceed into platform one cautiously and obeying all other signals. Ill check the points before I pass over them.

Thats correct. Signaller out

Thanks. Driver out
Interesting! You don't have to write anything down on a peace of paper, like we have to do here in Norway?
If you've stopped at a signal that can't show a green signal, you get authorisation from the dispatcher to pass the signal at danger, but you have to write it down on a form and then read it back to the dispatcher before you can pass.

And when passing a signal at danger, you need to proceed at a reduced speed (Maximum 40km/h (25mph) until you pass the next signal showing clear (Which might be 15 miles up ahead) Maxiumum speed over switches is 10 kmh (6,2mph) until you have driven over it with the whole train.

- Stig
Last edited: 20/09/2021 at 11:28 by stighetl
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Authorizing train to pass red signal 20/09/2021 at 12:21 #141631
Dionysusnu
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stighetl in post 141630 said:
Interesting! You don't have to write anything down on a peace of paper, like we have to do here in Norway?
If you've stopped at a signal that can't show a green signal, you get authorisation from the dispatcher to pass the signal at danger, but you have to write it down on a form and then read it back to the dispatcher before you can pass.

And when passing a signal at danger, you need to proceed at a reduced speed (Maximum 40km/h (25mph) until you pass the next signal showing clear (Which might be 15 miles up ahead) Maxiumum speed over switches is 10 kmh (6,2mph) until you have driven over it with the whole train.
Same here in the Netherlands, any signaller instructions have to be written down before reading back. There's also an interesting rule, which is that GSM-R calls may not be answered if the speed limit is 40km/h (25mph), unless the train is stopped. At higher speed they can answer the GSM-R while running. I believe the rule is due to the constraints of the ATB system, the Dutch equivalent of ATP.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 20/09/2021 at 12:26 #141632
TUT
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stighetl in post 141630 said:
jc92 in post 141608 said:
Dealing with the issue is separate to the authorisation (I've had a train waiting 20 minutes for someone to handcrank points for instance) but as a typical example I had to do recently the call would be something like:

Loughborough signalbox signaller speaking.

Hello signaller, driver of two bravo zero one standing at red signal Lima four eight.

Hello driver two bravo zero one at red signal Lima four eight, at present I have a technical fault preventing me from clearing the signal. Im authorising you to pass signal Lima four eight at danger and proceed cautiously obeying all other fixed signals. The route is set and locked for the safety of your train into platform one, however I need to remind you to check the points are set safely before proceeding over them.

Understood. Im authorised to pass Lima four eight at danger and proceed into platform one cautiously and obeying all other signals. Ill check the points before I pass over them.

Thats correct. Signaller out

Thanks. Driver out
Interesting! You don't have to write anything down on a peace of paper, like we have to do here in Norway?
If you've stopped at a signal that can't show a green signal, you get authorisation from the dispatcher to pass the signal at danger, but you have to write it down on a form and then read it back to the dispatcher before you can pass.

And when passing a signal at danger, you need to proceed at a reduced speed (Maximum 40km/h (25mph) until you pass the next signal showing clear (Which might be 15 miles up ahead) Maxiumum speed over switches is 10 kmh (6,2mph) until you have driven over it with the whole train.
For a simple S5 (passing a signal at danger with authority) there's no standard form that I'm aware of (Ron_J's got me hedging my bets here! ) although I do have a vague recollection of a video where I think a form was used in an example S5 at Ashford IECC, I'll have to have a look.

There are forms for things like temporary block working and single line working.

The rule used to be that you had to proceed at caution until you passed the next signal but now it's up to the signaller to specify whether they want you to continue at a reduced speed until you pass the signal, or just until you sight the signal (at which point you can now be permitted to obey the signal). The definition of proceeding at caution is proceeding at a speed that will allow you to stop short of any train, vehicle or other obstruction, or the end of the movement authority, taking into account conditions such as the distance you can see to be clear. The maximum speed over points and crossings is 15 mph (50 mph with permission during emergency special working, temporary block working or single line working (in the wrong direction) - these are like big set piece events where there's additional rules and procedures). Trains may be allowed to travel at up to 50 mph or line speed in certain situations.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 20/09/2021 at 13:59 #141633
TUT
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Ah yes that was it, it was this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaj_KZ4zLJg&t=395s

Yes and in this case it was because the train was for the Eurotunnel. And it's explicitly stated in the video

Quote:
As the signal in question - AD799 - is at the interface of Railtrack's Southern Zone and Eurotunnel Administration, when the signaller does authorise the driver to pass this signal at danger, he does so by dictating information, which the driver must write down on what is known as a livre formulaire.

...

But whatever procedure is currently in place, the message here is plain and simple: don't move until you are 100% sure that you've understood the instructions and you have confirmed you do have the authority.
So yes, it's a French thing in this video.

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Authorizing train to pass red signal 20/09/2021 at 14:22 #141634
Ron_J
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TUT in post 141632 said:

For a simple S5 (passing a signal at danger with authority) there's no standard form that I'm aware of (Ron_J's got me hedging my bets here! ) although I do have a vague recollection of a video where I think a form was used in an example S5 at Ashford IECC, I'll have to have a look.

There are forms for things like temporary block working and single line working.
Some TOCs and FOCs have tried in the past to unilaterally introduce their own forms to be filled out by drivers passing a signal at danger but I don't know if any are still using them. There was certainly a lot of controversy in Scotland when Freightliner and ScotRail both introduced forms which demanded the signaller's name; the RMT kicked off and instructed that no one would be giving out their name and they should answer "Signaller [location]". As you can imagine there were many arguments about this between stubborn drivers and equally stubborn signallers, and these forms both quickly fell by the wayside.

Temporary Block Working tickets and SLW/Pilotman Working tickets are, of course, filled out by a handsignaller and pilotman respectively before being handed to the driver. In the UK the only forms filled out by a driver on the dictation of the signaller are the NR3190 Emergency Special Working and RT3177 Modified Working tickets. The French livre formulaire system used at Ashford IECC for HS2 is covered by their own rule book module.

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