Latest Rail News

12.09.14

Network Rail calls in national specialists to fix major signalling fault

Network Rail was forced to call in specialist signalling engineers from around the country this week to fix a recurring signalling problem near West Ham.

The signalling problems began during the evening peak on Tuesday 9 September, when the track circuit, part of the system that tracks the location of trains, failed repeatedly over two sections close to Bromley-by-Bow.

Network Rail engineers worked through the night to try to find the root cause, replacing a number of components and cabling. By Wednesday morning it appeared the faults had been fixed, but they recurred later that day and the next, c2c said in an apology to passengers.

The effect of the fault, each time it occurred, was to force severe speed restrictions, which had knock-on effects as backlogs of services built up.

Extra teams from Network Rail were deployed on Wednesday night to add to those already deployed. These included experts that the rail engineers colloquially refer to as ‘tech support’, which in this instance comprised two engineers from Wessex and Sussex who were experts in the specific TI21 track circuit that had failed.

c2c announced that repairs were completed on Thursday evening and that it plans to run a full normal service today (Friday). Network Rail engineers will be standing by for the rest of the day as a precaution against any further repetition of the fault.

The specialist engineers also installed new monitoring equipment so that they can keep track of the troublesome track circuit remotely.

The train operator said in its message to passengers: “We really are very sorry indeed for what has happened. It is totally unacceptable for this to have lasted as long as it has and we know how hugely disruptive it has been for you.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

(UPDATED 11:45 on 12 September with new information about the specialist circuit and Network Rail engineers.)

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