Monday 29 Dec 2003


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Network Rail and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) today announced the successful completion of the fitment of the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) across the entire national railway network. The successful completion of such a major scheme on time and within the £500 million budget represents the biggest safety improvement on the UK's railways since the introduction of the automatic warning system (AWS ) over 40 years ago. Over the past three years over 12,000 signals, 650 buffer stops, around1000 permanent speed restrictions as well as the entire train fleet - over 6,000 passenger, freight and engineering trains - have been fitted with TPWS equipment in what has been the single biggest and most effective investment in safety on the railways for decades. “This is a great achievement,” said Network Rail Chief Executive, John Armitt.  “TPWS was designed from scratch.  Every location had to be individually surveyed prior to fitment and every different type of signalling system and train type specifically designed for.  An enormous amount of preparation, professionalism and down right hard work made today’s achievement possible.” - more - TPWS - 2 TPWS automatically applies the brakes of any train that has passed a red signal, or that is travelling too fast on the approach to a red signal, speed restriction or buffer stop.  It is designed to reduce the consequences of a signal passed at danger (SPAD) by stopping a train that passes through a red signal (within the signal’s safety overlap and before it can come into conflict with any other train). “The way the whole industry has pulled together to ensure the successful delivery of this vital project is a credit to everyone involved,” says Network Rail chief executive John Armitt.  “We have shown that as an industry we can deliver a major project on time and within budget.  This industry achievement means that the travelling public can be even more confident that the railways are safe.”   George Muir, Director General, ATOC said:  “The TPWS equipment delivers real safety benefits.  We now have a system comparable in its overall effectiveness with that in other European countries.  It has been a major collaborative effort in a partnership of train operators, Network Rail and the ROSCOs.  The suppliers of the equipment really rose to the challenge.” Only ten years ago SPADs were averaging over 900 per annum.  In recent years the industry has made SPAD reduction a safety priority.  TPWS, whilst potentially not reducing the overall number of SPADs, will and has already reduced the most serious type.  Already since the programme started there has been a 80% reduction in high severity SPADs where TPWS is fitted. The project has been delivered through a massive effort of a dedicated team and unprecedented co-operation within the rail industry.  At its peak the team comprised of some1400 people.  This has been made up of up to 320 designers, 500 installers, 200 commissioners as well as surveyors and involved major contractors including AMEC, Amey, Carrillion, First Engineering, Jarvis, May Gurney and Westinghouse.

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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