Latest Rail News


RSSB publishes new requirements for rolling stock

The Rail Safety and Standards Branch (RSSB) has published its fourth edition of Key Train Requirements, setting out the latest requirements for rolling stock procurers, manufacturers and system suppliers.

In the updated document, the RSSB said train operators should consider specifying as a requirement that trains must not be able to move once the door interlock is released, in order to improve safety concerns about platform interfaces, which were recently highlighted as an area of concern by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

It also says door systems must be fitted with an ‘anti trap-and-drag’ functionality after recent accidents at Hayes and Harlington and West Wickham where passengers were trapped in doors.

For the first time, the report also contains guidelines for bi-modal trains as part of the expansion of electrification on the network, although key electrification projects in areas such as the Great Western Main Line and Scotland have been subject to delays.

It also says train procurement should follow the RSSB’s new sustainability guidelines.

Mark Phillips, interim managing director of the RSSB, said: “This updated version of the Key Train Requirements captures good practice when specifying key features for new and refurbished trains. It will help industry better meet passengers' needs and improve efficiency by ensuring that lessons learned in the past are retained and errors not repeated.

“I would urge all those involved in the train procurement and manufacturing of new and refurbished trains to use this document to add detail to the standards that already exist.”

The RSSB also said it is currently carrying out a report into the compatibility of magnetic brakes, already widely used in Europe, with Network Rail infrastructure, which may require upgrades to introduce the new brakes.

The guidelines now recommend considering facilities for an ‘emergency – limited functionality’ mode of communication between stranded trains and rescuer trains, to allow crew-to-crew communication while the emergency brake is on.

It says that proposed rolling stock operation cycles must be used at the procurement stage to decide the size of water and toilet waste tanks, warning that “recent experience of new trains’ procurement is that underestimating tank capacity requirements leads to problems in service”.

New requirements for passenger safety include designing seating in a way that does not encourage pickpockets and providing CCTV across all rolling stock.

The RSSB also recommends improving passenger comfort by providing a USB outlet for each seat; providing storage space for buggies as well as wheelchairs and bicycles; and designing vehicle bodyshells so that they do not disrupt 3G/4G signals.

The guidelines also contain new sections for recommendations on wheelchair ramps and mobility scooter access. More disabled passenger railcards are now in operation than ever before, suggesting that more disabled passengers are using the network than ever.

Peter Wilkinson, managing director of passenger services at the Department for Transport, said: “We must all work much harder on improving train design and passenger facility both to wow our customers but also reduce the long term environmental and energy impacts of their operation and ultimately their end-of-life recycling.

“I encourage everyone involved in the procurement and supply of new and refurbished trains to read our Rolling Stock Perspective in concert with this Key Train Requirements document. I look forward to seeing evidence of this in proposals submitted for future rail franchises.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.




Jerry Alderson   05/08/2016 at 15:27

This is really good news for passengers and also shows that passenger campaign groups such as Railfuture do get listened to. Many of these features (such as space for buggies and cycles) have been on the campaign wishlist for a decade and innovations like USB sockets for several years.

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >