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Unread 21-12-2016, 16:39   #1
James Shields
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Default Irish Times: Iarnród Éireann strongly criticised over attitude to safety

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/irela...fety-1.2914516

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Iarnród Éireann strongly criticised over attitude to safety

Railway regulator says relations with the State rail company are ‘strained’

The country’s railway regulator has strongly criticised the attitude of senior management in Iarnród Éireann to safety compliance issues.
In its annual report the Commission for Railway Regulation described its working relationship with the State-owned rail operator as being “strained” throughout last year.
In its report for 2015, the Commission indicates unhappiness with moves by the company to “continuously” challenge and take issue with its determinations regarding safety compliance.
“Throughout 2015 it was evident that Iarnród Éireann was taking a noticeably different approach towards safety regulation.

“This was most evident in the stance adopted at the most senior level in Iarnród Éireann management when responding to matters of safety management compliance identified by the Commission.”
“It is of concern that the type of sentiment expressed in correspondence with the regulator may be a reflection of a leadership attitude to safety that would be less than the Commission expects,” it says.
The Commission says between 2010 and 2013 considerable progress was made in aligning safety management in Iarnród Éireann to European requirements.
However, it maintains the company began taking a markedly different approach towards safety regulation during 2015.
“The opinion or interpretation of legislation of regulations by the designated authority is final, unless over-ruled by a court.
“The relationship between the regulated entities and the regulator is not one of equals, and the Commission’s determinations in regard to safety management systems compliance and other safety issues are matters that should be accepted rather than continuously challenged.”
“Recent challenges by Iarnród Éireann to the authority of the regulator and correspondence outside of the formal document review process have become a distraction to the remit of the Commission.”
The Commission for Railway Regulation has responsibility for oversight of the management of safety by the various railway organisations that operate within the State and for monitoring sustainability of the Iarnród Éireann network and regulating access to the network.
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Unread 21-12-2016, 18:16   #2
James Howard
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There is something very fishy about that row over that Midleton incident. On the surface it really does not seem a really big deal to have a train longer than the platform. This was normal operation on most trains on the Sligo line up until 2004 and the risk was mitigated with extra staff. There were other factors such as the blocking of a level crossing but the whole thing seems very minor.

To me it seems as if there is some kind of row going on that has spilled over. I'm not normally somebody to take Irish Rail's side on things but it does seem to me that the Commission overstepped the mark here and put somebody's nose out of joint and the resulting bad relationship is much more risky that the original issue.

Everyone needs to kiss and make up because this is grown up stuff that needs a grown-up working relationship.
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Unread 21-12-2016, 21:17   #3
Mark Gleeson
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To be fair, Irish Rail did not comply with the safety rules in force which ban such practices.

The CRR is angry because the paper trail clearly shows Irish Rail's safety organisation had identified the risk and called stop. Management overruled.

Sounds a bit like the Challenger accident all over again

Just because it was safe in the past, doesn't mean it was acceptable, far too many accidents of people injured climbing out of a train. While those of us who did it in the past on a daily basis think nothing of it, for someone doing it for the first time it could go wrong.
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Unread 21-12-2016, 22:10   #4
Jamie2k9
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The Midleton incident was completely blown out of proportion. Nothing would of happened and did happen. We are not talking a driver only situation here.

Some of the biggest safety issues to passengers are on the network right now and the CRR are happy out and have no plans to address them as they go under "grandfather" operations or because they are not newly built are exempt.

Like all aspects of health and safety in today's world, the actual person (customer) is diminished of all responsibly even if they are totally careless and many get a nice fat cheque out of it.

Last edited by Jamie2k9 : 21-12-2016 at 22:12.
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Unread 22-12-2016, 10:33   #5
Mark Gleeson
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Irish Rail breached its Safety Management System and the safety rules set down by the RSC/CRR in Midleton. This was a decision made by Irish Rail management in knowledge that the decision was a breach of the rules and against the recommendations of its own safety people. It was not a emergency or unplanned situation.

Grandfather operations left in the system, the crazy days of reversing trains blind into Killarney are long gone.

The Cravens coaches operate under a defined SMS meeting the ALARP requirements by having stewards on-board

This is the third long train incident we are aware of in the last 10 years

1. MK3 on WRC, denied by Irish Rail management that was going to happen, RSC intervened and shortened train
2. 4 car 2700 on closing day of Waterford Rosslare, did not fit 2 stations enroute, RSC investigated and recommendations issued
3. Cravens in Midelton, Irish Rail advised against running train, senior management overruled, CRR issued 10 recommendations after investigation
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Unread 22-12-2016, 11:26   #6
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I wasn't trying to argue that no rules were broken or that having trains longer than a platform is entirely safe. People falling out of slam doors used to cause the odd fatality when they were in operation. But the risk is extremely low and was mitigated. Using power operated doors on short platforms is a far more risky proposition - at least with a manual door, you have to lean out the window and it is pretty hard to miss the train not being at a platform unless you are trying to get a claim in.

If you want to talk about real safety issues, the most likely way you'll get injured with rail travel currently is the possibility of an assault due to antisocial behaviour on driver only intercity trains. I don't think it is at all likely that I am going to injure myself falling out the door.

It's funny how this issue has received so much attention when there have been a couple of incidents of trains passing red signals on single-line sections - one of which went a few kilometres down the line before being stopped. That's something the scares the bejesus out of me. People losing the rag over trains being too long for the platform is interfering with the real issues being deal with. I wonder the media are being played because to be honest the safety organisations do look a bit ridiculous making a big deal over the Middleton issue.
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Unread 22-12-2016, 12:01   #7
Colm Moore
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I concur with the anti-social behaviour issue being important, but it is unlikely to result in a fatality or mass-fatality situation. In a risk assessment one needs to balanced severity of risk with likelihood of risk. We have had two viaduct collapses, one station roof collapse, multiple embankment collapses and any number of signals passed at danger (SPADs) and level crossing issues.

With safety issues, the greater the shift from normal operations, the greater the risk of an incident and/or casualties. Time and again Irish Rail have been shown to (a) be relaxed about safety issues and (b) not have any supporting documentation (or having supporting documentation that is strangely unsigned).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie2k9 View Post
The Midleton incident was completely blown out of proportion.
However, it is only one of a series of incidents. Importantly, it seemed to be a decision to deliberately breach the safety case.

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Originally Posted by James Howard View Post
at least with a manual door, you have to lean out the window and it is pretty hard to miss the train not being at a platform
What if the door was left open by someone else? What if it is dark or foggy? What if the alighting passenger has poor sight or is a very young or elderly person or just never expected there to not be a platform? What if they are a wheelchair or pram user?

Back in the 19th century, railways realised that if passengers felt travelling by train would mean they wouldn't use them and so they acted. Irish Rail might need to re-learn that message - both with anti-social behaviour and greater incidents.

While the railway is relatively safe for passengers, people are still dying - workers, level crossing users, trespassers and others.
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Unread 22-12-2016, 23:19   #8
Jamie2k9
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Quote:
It's funny how this issue has received so much attention when there have been a couple of incidents of trains passing red signals on single-line sections - one of which went a few kilometres down the line before being stopped. That's something the scares the bejesus out of me.
Don't recall hearing about this however if above is correct it appears a major failure and number of fail safe systems didn't kick in at electronic or human levels.

Emergency brakes for one get applied after SPAD unless driver a been given permission to activate a system in the cab to allow it operate.

If it was a major safety aspect these lads have the power to stop IE operating services until the new systems are fitted. It comes down to investment from Government for it.

Quote:
1. MK3 on WRC, denied by Irish Rail management that was going to happen, RSC intervened and shortened train
Yet just a few months earlier everybody has happy with trains operating off platforms. I'm not really disputing the safety aspect but the sheer hypocrisy around it. Nothing would of happened that couldn't of happened for the 20+ years previous.

Quote:
While the railway is relatively safe for passengers, people are still dying - workers, level crossing users, trespassers and others.
Are you really trying to criticize IE and trespassers. You cannot prevent them no matter how much you do. Not sure when an IE worker was killed last either.

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e have had two viaduct collapses, one station roof collapse, multiple embankment collapses and any number of signals passed at danger (SPADs) and level crossing issues.
Again isn't most of this lack of funding for maintenance and IE having to make do and it will result in minor accidents. If IE said yes we need to close the Tralee line because it's not safe there would be outrage from people.
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Unread 23-12-2016, 14:47   #9
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Not being familiar with the incident, can someone explain to me why there were Cravens in Midleton? Match special?

How long is the platform there?
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Unread 23-12-2016, 14:52   #10
Mark Gleeson
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Charter for the Web Summit
6 cravens, van, 071, 160m
Platform 90m

IE management didn't want to loose face due to the international visibility on this operation
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Unread 24-12-2016, 08:08   #11
Colm Moore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie2k9 View Post
Again isn't most of this lack of funding for maintenance and IE having to make do and it will result in minor accidents.
Not so much funding as prioritisation of funding. Money was spend on new trains, track and some signalling, but it the structures that are collapsing.

Just because there hasn't been an incident, doesn't make something safe: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/eas...s-for-25-years
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