Application for exemption from train protection duties: Paddington to Heathrow Airport Junction

Date published: 25 June 2019
Closing date: 2 August 2019

Five rail companies have applied to ORR for exemption from the law which requires the provision of automatic train protection.  The application relates to certain trains operating between London Paddington Station and Heathrow Airport Junction, covering about the first 12 miles of the Great Western Route.  This consultation invites the public or any party to express a view on the application: in making our decision ORR will consider all views. Full details are set out in the documents linked to this page.  If you wish to make comments, please contact us at ROGS@orr.gov.uk .

The deadline for comments is 2 August 2019.

The applicants are:

  • Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
  • First Greater Western Limited
  • Crossrail Limited
  • Heathrow Express Operating Company Limited
  • MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited

There is currently an exemption in place for Class 345 trains operated on the same route, granted by ORR in 2016.  Details of this can be found here:

https://orr.gov.uk/rail/consultations/policy-consultations-by-topic/railway-safety-consultations/crossrail-exemption-application-consultation

The new application seeks to extend the time permitted for the exemption until 31 December 2023; to shorten the length of railway included, so that the Heathrow spur is no longer exempted; and to widen the scope of the exemption to cover in addition Class 387 rolling stock which will replace the current Heathrow Express trains.

The Railway Safety Regulations 1999 require infrastructure managers and train operators only to permit the operation of trains with train protection equipment fitted.  This is equipment which can stop a train if it passes a red signal, or if it approaches a red signal at too high a speed, or drives too fast.  Where it is reasonably practicable to fit automatic train protection (ATP) this must be used.  ORR may, at our discretion, grant an exemption to this law, and we are obliged to conduct a public consultation to assist our considerations.

A version of ATP is fitted to the track between Paddington and Heathrow, and to the trains currently running services to the airport.  A new version of ATP, known as ETCS, is being installed in the track, but may not be completed until the end of 2023.  ETCS is fitted to the new classes of train, but the applicants wish to operate without also fitting the older ATP to the trains.  They propose to continue relying instead on their enhanced deployment of the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) which also protects trains from passing red signals, but without the full over-speeding prevention functionality of ATP systems.  Their detailed proposals and safety arguments can be found in the application.

Responding to this consultation

If you wish to make comments, please contact us at ROGS@orr.gov.uk. The deadline for comments is 2 August 2019.

Publishing your response

We plan to publish all responses to this consultation on our website. This may include your personal data such as your name and job title.

Should you wish any information that you provide, including personal data, to be treated as confidential, please be aware that this may be subject to publication, or release to other parties or to disclosure, in accordance with the access to information regimes. These regimes are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Under the FOIA, there is a statutory code of practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, if you are seeking confidentiality for information you are providing, please explain why. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on ORR.

If you are seeking to make a response in confidence, we would also be grateful if you would annex any confidential information, or provide a non-confidential summary, so that we can publish the non-confidential aspects of your response.

Any personal data you provide to us will be used for the purposes of this consultation and will be handled in accordance with our privacy notice which sets out how we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.

Consent

In responding to this consultation you consent to us:

  • handling your personal data for the purposes of this consultation;
  • publishing your response on our website (unless you have indicated to us that you wish for your response to be treated as confidential as set out above.)

Your consent to either of the above can be withdrawn at any time. Further information about how we handle your personal data and your rights is set out in our privacy notice.

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Documents from applicants

Crossrail Limited report – C160 rolling stock – Great Western ATP pdf icon PDF, 559 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

Crossrail Limited letter of support pdf icon PDF, 2,101 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

Network Rail Exemption Report for Crossrail  Train Protection (Plan B) Aug 2015 pdf icon PDF, 1,677 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

Heathrow Express Operating Company Limited letter of support pdf icon PDF, 65 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

First Great Western Limited letter of support pdf icon PDF, 710 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

Vertex report to Network Rail on options selection pdf icon PDF, 402 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

GWR paper to support exemption application pdf icon PDF, 222 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

Sotera Risk Assessment Options & Analysis  pdf icon PDF, 955 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

Network Rail Exemption Application Report pdf icon PDF, 1,897 Kb
Published 5 July 2019

MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited letter of support pdf icon PDF, 980 Kb
Published 5 July 2019