Network Rail and Chiltern Railways have applied to the Office of Rail and Road for exemption from the law requiring the provision of automatic train protection.
The application relates to specific Chiltern Railway trains operating south of Aynho Junction.
A consultation has been launched by the ORR to invite the public to express their views on the application.
The application is looking to allow the current Automatic Train Protection system to be used until 30th June 2024.
The existing equipment on some trains will stop operating when disconnected.
The TPWS (Train Protection Warning System) equipment will be upgraded to ‘enhanced TPWS’ with the system operating on all relevant trains by 31st December 2027.
The Railway Safety Regulations 1999 require operators to only permit train operations with protection equipment fitted. This equipment can stop a train if it passes a red signal.
Where it is practicable to use ATP, this must be used, but the ORR may grant an exemption.
A version of ATP is fitted to a number of routes operated by Chiltern Railways south of Aynho Junction. This equipment is now becoming obsolete, and cant be replaced.
Chiltern Railways and Network Rail are proposing to continue relying on TPWS equipment which also protects trains from passing red signals but without the full prevention functionality of ATP systems. Its ‘enhancement’ will increase the locations where this system is in operation.
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