Signals

THE SIGNAL BOX


Railway signalling discussion

POGO User Worked Crossings

Discussion concerning level crossings

POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:05 pm

On the 23rd October 2017 a collision occurred between a train and a van at Frognal Farm User Worked Crossing (between Sittingbourne and Teynham), which is now the subject of RAIB investigation. RAIB have already issued urgent safety advice to Network Rail because they consider the signage at this particular crossing is inadequate.

According to RAIB's report this was an ordinary user worked crossing which until March 2017 was equipped with manual gates and a telephone to the signaller. After March 2017 this crossing became a POGO UWC, presumably a power worked gate opening (POGO).

I may be missing something here, but I can see no safety benefit in converting a such a crossing to power worked gates. Indeed it could be argued that it might decrease safety.

For example motorist could push a button from the comfort of his vehicle to open the gates and without making a mandatory call to the signaller. The motorist then fails to see or hear the approach of a train and a collision occurs. At least with manually operated gates the motorist has no option but to get out of the vehicle, to open the gates - he / she might stand a better chance of seeing or hearing an approaching train.

However with this type of crossing, were there to be some kind of a device that prevents unauthorised operation of the gates, then there could be a safety benefit, after all a power supply must have been supplied to power work the gates, why not provide a device that will interrupt the electricity supply to prevent unauthorised operation?

I was thinking that a door entry device similar to the system used in blocks of flats and offices whereby access is restricted to authorised persons. I would have thought that a similar system could be adapted for user worked POGO crossings.

I realise that no level crossing can be made idiot proof, but they could in my view be made a bit safer, particularly at user worked crossings, in order to prevent a vehicle entering on to a crossing without first obtaining the permission of the signaller.

As I said earlier, maybe I've missed something. If so feel free to comment.
Peter G
User avatar
Peter Gibbons
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 1:07 pm
Location: Hassocks, West Sussex

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:11 pm

Peter, POGO Crossings were invented to reduce the risks of users having to cross tracks to open/close the gates after use. The risks were two fold; firstly requiring the user to cross the railway twice and secondly; the risk of the gates being left open after use. Lets wait and see what the final RAIB report states and not start any speculation about this particular incident.
Regards,
S&TEngineer
-----------------------------------------------------
Out of this nettle, Danger, we pluck this flower, Safety.
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 2, Scene 3
User avatar
S&TEngineer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1650
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 8:17 pm
Location: Somewhere in the far South West

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:20 am

S&TEngineer wrote:Peter, POGO Crossings were invented to reduce the risks of users having to cross tracks to open/close the gates after use. The risks were two fold; firstly requiring the user to cross the railway twice and secondly; the risk of the gates being left open after use. Lets wait and see what the final RAIB report states and not start any speculation about this particular incident.


I was in no way speculating about that particular incident of the Frognal Farm incident. That, as you rightly say is a matter for the RAIB report. The only facts that I mentioned are already in the public domain and can be read on the RAIB website.

I was instead suggesting a way whereby the operation of POGO operation of user worked crossings where safety might be improved, hence the title of this thread.
Peter G
User avatar
Peter Gibbons
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 1:07 pm
Location: Hassocks, West Sussex

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:02 am

I'm not really familiar with POGO crossings but reading this thread does perhaps raise some questions. Would a co-operative release be safer. It forces the user to contact the controlling box,if safe the signaller presses a release button. The user would hold down a button their end and hey presto the gates open.
Presumably sensors prove the gates are not obstructed before automatically closing or are they on a timer. Is there obstruction detectors on these crossings?
User avatar
Ashley Hill
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:29 pm
Location: GWML

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:40 am

Ashley Hill wrote:Presumably sensors prove the gates are not obstructed before automatically closing or are they on a timer. Is there obstruction detectors on these crossings?


That sounds like turning it into a prohibitively expensive upgrade cost for what are presumably little-used crossings whose current technology consists of manual gates, plus perhaps a phone and miniature warning lights.
User avatar
Mike Hodgson
Double-manned box
Double-manned box
 
Posts: 2545
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 5:30 pm
Location: N Herts

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Stuart Johnson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:16 pm

This whole topic is indeed a can of worms, and I strongly recommend people wait for RAIB's report before commenting further.

However, while you are waiting, this previous RAIB report on a collision at a POGO crossing provides some of the background and food for thought:

https://www.gov.uk/raib-reports/collisi ... nd-tractor
Stuart J
User avatar
Stuart Johnson
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 862
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 5:47 pm
Location: Metroland

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Signal-sighter » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:30 pm

Network Rail dived head first into a whole program of 'novel' solutions in an attempt to reduce risk at user worked level crossings and it's fair to say that the results have been something of a mixed bag. The whole EBI gate 200 debacle was a particular case in point. I await the RAIB report with interest...
Signal-sighter
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:23 pm

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby AN106 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:43 am

Signal-sighter wrote:Network Rail dived head first into a whole program of 'novel' solutions in an attempt to reduce risk at user worked level crossings and it's fair to say that the results have been something of a mixed bag. The whole EBI gate 200 debacle was a particular case in point. I await the RAIB report with interest...


I'd be very interested to know why you consider EBIGate 200s to be a debacle.
User avatar
AN106
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:50 am

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Ben.A.98 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:42 pm

To be honest I don't think much of POGOs, they are cheap and not the most reliable. To answer a few questions raised above.
- Once you have crossed you must get out of your vehicle and press the button on the side you have just crossed to to close the gates.
- There is a pressure sensor on the gate that will stop it if it becomes obstructed.

A joint release of the crossing gates would not really be practicle with the POGO system, they are a stand alone system working off a 12v battery and a solar panel. Adding a joint release as mentioned above, is just not worth it for the use the crossing would get.
User avatar
Ben.A.98
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 7, 2014 9:05 pm
Location: Dufftown

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:50 pm

Ben.A.98 wrote: - There is a pressure sensor on the gate that will stop it if it becomes obstructed.
.


That presumably can't raise any useful alarm as it's not protected by signals nor to the box. If user just leaves it (either doesn't bother to press the close button at all or leaves the gate jammed by whatever and goes about his business, presumably it's really no different to the perennial problem of the farmer can't be bothered to close the gates behind him in a traditional accommodation crossing.

I can see that this type of crossing reduces the risk of users crossing the line unnecessarily on foot to open the gates, but that practice at least got him out of his air conditioned/sound-proof cab and forced him to recognise that there's a railway there. I hope this saving in pedestrian accidents won't prove to be at the expense of accidents involving heavy agricultural machinery where the driver failed to see/hear approaching trains
User avatar
Mike Hodgson
Double-manned box
Double-manned box
 
Posts: 2545
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 5:30 pm
Location: N Herts

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:35 am

That raises further questions. If the crossing gates were to fail, would they fail in the open or closed position or somewhere in between? if in the open position that is as bad as leaving a gate open on a manually gated UWC and won't do anything to improve safety.

Is there any provision against a failure of the solar panel or battery? It seems from previous postings there is not.

UWC crossings tend to vary greatly in terms of their usage. One day they might not get used at all, on another day they could be used so often that the battery goes flat because the solar panel can't cope with demand and the crossing fails. As Stuart suggests, this is fast becoming a can of worms, particularly as this isn't the first collision where this type of crossing is involved.
Peter G
User avatar
Peter Gibbons
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 1:07 pm
Location: Hassocks, West Sussex

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:43 pm

Is there a hand crank of some sort for manual operation during a power failure?
User avatar
Ashley Hill
Branch line box
Branch line box
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:29 pm
Location: GWML

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Signal-sighter » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:09 pm

There are pins that can be removed to allow the gates to be opened and closed by hand.
Signal-sighter
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:23 pm

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Ben.A.98 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:05 pm

If there is a power problem, low battery voltage/no charge from the solar then the gates will just stop where they are open/closed/in the middle. In this case the signalman should be informed and the pins holding the rams on pulled out so it operates like a normal gate. The S&T should then attend.

I can't speak for any other POGOs outwith my area but the buttons are located away from the side of the road or even on the other side, so the driver has to get out of the cab to press the button to open the gates forcing them to walk past the EBiGate/MSLs/Telephone.
User avatar
Ben.A.98
Crossing box
Crossing box
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Nov 7, 2014 9:05 pm
Location: Dufftown

Re: POGO User Worked Crossings

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:04 am

Ben.A.98 wrote:If there is a power problem, low battery voltage/no charge from the solar then the gates will just stop where they are open/closed/in the middle. In this case the signalman should be informed and the pins holding the rams on pulled out so it operates like a normal gate. The S&T should then attend.


Are there instruction notices about this, or does the signalman have to explain it to the user who presumably still needs to cross ? Are these pins conspicuously marked - and attached by a chain so they don't just get chucked into the long grass? I'm not sure I like the idea of asking members of the public to tamper with a gate mechanism, albeit a simple task and under instruction. Next time it fails, might they not disconnect it without the box/S&T being told?
User avatar
Mike Hodgson
Double-manned box
Double-manned box
 
Posts: 2545
Joined: Fri Nov 9, 2007 5:30 pm
Location: N Herts

Next

Return to Level crossings

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests