Why are we developing technology to enable Safer, Faster Isolations?
Network Rail have a regulatory obligation to secure all points of points of disconnection and separation by the end of CP8 in accordance with the Electricity at Work Regulations (EaWR) 1989. By developing technology for SFI, we:-
– Improve the workforce electrical safety risk
– Deliver safety improvements for Track Workers
– Reducing the time to take and hand back isolations, releases productivity benefits
– Allow the railway to run more efficiently
– Allow Network Rail to meet regulatory commitments
– Enable improvements in passenger and public safety, through a quicker response time for emergencies
What are the plans for technology on the Conductor Rail network?
Technology to enabler Safer, Faster, Isolations is already available on some parts of the Conductor Rail network with locally secured Track Feeder Switches (TFSs) and Negative Short Circuiting Devices (NSCDs). Essentially these are trackside devices which allow the application of shorts without the manual application of shorting-circuiting straps.
– North West and Central (NW&C) are using ‘no boots on ballast isolations’ on part of the Conductor Rail network
– NW&C plan to have 100% coverage across the d.c. network by March 2024
– Southern Region expect to avoid application of 34,130 straps through CP6 deployment
– Southern Region plan to achieve 100% coverage by March 2029
What are the plans for technology on Overhead Line Equipment (OLE)?
The Supplementary Isolation Process (SIP) involving manual padlocking and increased driving risks, resulting in a headwind associated with lost productivity were introduced on new OLE electrification from CP5. This will become applicable for legacy infrastructure from end CP8 if Remote Securing is not deployed.
The Wales and Western Region have started the development and trialling on earthing pantographs.
Network Rail also has work underway through Research and Development activity to identify next generation technology such as, electronic permitting and automated workflow, and next generation fixed RoLE to help achieve the aim of zero incidents. Ensuring that everyone goes home safe, every day
Wales and Western are leading with development and trial of Remote Securing ‘Trapped Key’ in CP6
North West and Central are planning to trial Remote Securing ‘App and App2i’ solutions in CP6
What electrical safety considerations should be considered by new electrifications projects?
The Sustainable Rail Strategy is being developed to provide a unified vision and approach for the rail industry. The vision is for an optimally utilised net-zero carbon railway that increases quality of life for people and improves the natural environment.
All projects on the electrified network can help towards making improvements to electrical safety and should use the following checklist.
– Compliant with the Policy Requirements for Electrical Power Assets, NR/L1/ELP/27000
– Compliant with relevant specifications, e.g. the Electrical Safety Principles for New Electrification, NR/L2/ELP/25001
– Deliver remotely securable switch gear in accordance with the specification for 25kV Disconnectors, Earthing Switches and Switches, NR/L2/ELP/1007
– Plan to deliver the long-term route goals of being remote secure ready by end of CP8, or if there are no plans to be remote secure ready, seek sight of the estimated head wins
– Ensure engagement with the national Electrical Safety Delivery (ESD) team or Regional Electrification and Plant (E&P) leads has taken place
– Designers should apply NR/L2/ELP/25001 specifically at early stages of design development.
Remote Securing can be enabled on all new electrification projects by ensuring all switches and switchgear shall be compliant with NR/L2/ELP/1007 and understanding the securing strategy for the Route; if this is the Remote Securing mobile App or the Remote Securing Trapped Key solution.
Equally as important is to understand the operation and maintenance strategy and the isolation strategy to support the decision on which switchgear requires motorizing.
Enabling electrical safety improvements on new electrification schemes is a key enabler to achieving zero incidents as the electrified network grows to support the sustainable rail strategy.