Wednesday 6 Oct 2004


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Monday 4 October saw Network Rail start a £16m project to significantly improve safety on Britain’s railway with the installation of an enhanced Train Protection Warning System (TPWS+). TPWS + will provide additional safety benefits and will extend the protection delivered by standard TPWS to trains travelling at speeds between 75mph and 100mph. The system will be achieved by fitting new equipment to 440 existing TPWS sites across the country and will take advantage of planned engineering work to minimise disruption caused to passengers. It will be completed by the summer of 2005. This state of the art enhanced system follows the successful completion in 2003 of TPWS across the entire rail network on time and to budget, which represents the single biggest, and most effective safety improvement on the UK’s railway for decades, reducing the risk from signals passed at danger by some 52% 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). -more- TPWS+ – 2 John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail said, “TPWS has already delivered real safety benefits to Britain’s railway.  This innovative new scheme will build on the successes of standard TPWS and will help to deliver a safer railway.” 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.

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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.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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