Railway signalling discussion

Network Rail and Signalling Info

Technical talk on signalling matters

Re: Freedom of Information, Network Rail and Signalling Info

Unread postby JRB » Mon Aug 8, 2016 10:14 am

Anything routed via the FOI procedure will automatically be seen as confrontational and submitted to the security/expense/difficulty jobsworth. FOI should only be used after unreasonable refusals. Knowing just who to approach and where may require some thought and research, but NR does have many helpful people, especially the actual S&T engineers if you can find them.
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Re: Freedom of Information, Network Rail and Signalling Info

Unread postby Danny252 » Mon Aug 8, 2016 10:41 am

So I got to thinking, What if some sort of user group was formed? Some sort of online repository, where you had to register with real names and addresses, photo ID etc, that Network Rail could actually release things to, with some sort of document security, and all under a restrictive non-commercial license? Some sort of request form, for plans, etc...

Regarding this part, the Information Comissioner's Office states that:
When giving access to information under the Act, [a body] cannot place any conditions or restrictions on that access. For example, [a body] cannot require the requester to sign any agreement before they are given access to the information. (Link)

The FOI act doesn't make much allowance for determining whether a request should be answered based on who is requesting, other than if a requester is making vexatious or repeat requests. It therefore looks like your arrangement would have to be done outside the FOI act, which makes it less attractive to NR management - if it's not under FOI, they aren't obliged to do it!

Also, it would be trivially easy for information released to only a select group to be sent on to those outside the group, and it would be very difficult for NR or any other organisation to police this.
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Re: Freedom of Information, Network Rail and Signalling Info

Unread postby JeffG » Mon Aug 8, 2016 12:53 pm

FOI requests are a no go, agreed.

I'm envisioning somewhere you'd go to before considering contacting NR, and that NR could direct people to before contacting them.
Somewhere where you could request something, and it could direct you to anything that's already public, or to something that NR had put there, that you'd have to register and get approved to view. If you couldn't find it, you could request something, and you would have to go through a procedure, checking what's already available, is your request reasonable, narrow it down, get approved by a moderator, and assuming you had signed some sort of agreement, make a request to a designated community contact, who could then add it or enable it to view. I would also think that older documents that other people had, could be approved to added as well. There would be no legal need to redact anything, beyond signatures, personal details or whatever. Once a class of document had been reviewed, they can all be made available. I could see it being useful to NR employees as well. I've read even they have trouble finding information on there intranet.

I'm fairly sure NR has procedures and document control system in place.

I think I need to talk to someone at NR, but I'm afraid they won't even consider anything base on 1 guy's idea.

I figured that a system where they wouldn't have to waste money on FOI requests would be more attractive.
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Re: Network Rail and Signalling Info

Unread postby AndyB » Fri Sep 9, 2016 6:24 pm

To be honest, I'm surprised that Network Rail even issued its Sectional Appendices to the public. NIR has released most of its General Appendix under Translink's publication scheme, but deliberately excluded signal diagrams and gradient profiles due to commercial sensitivity and of course long term security implications meaning that the working timetable is not released either. Irish Rail, even though its main Rule Book is shared with NIR, has released nothing.
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