The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the safety of track network operated by [operator].
The reporter advised that management are downgrading or deleting the faults, which are detected during track inspections on the operator’s network without following the proper procedures. The reporter advised that priority one track faults are being systematically downgraded to level 2 faults. This means that the true state of the network is not actually reflected in the records.
Reporter comment: I believe the travelling public are at risk due to this.
Operator's response (Operator 1)
We respond to the report as follows:
- Safety is our highest priority. Due to the importance of fault identification and the safety critical nature surrounding the protocol of fault management, we take the fault management process seriously and have a system in place to ensure that track faults are afforded an appropriate rating and management actions.
- We manages faults in accordance with our safety management system which includes a fault reporting procedure which sets out how track faults are detected, reported, prioritised and managed by [operator].
- Track faults are recorded through scheduled track inspections and other sources such as train drivers, station staff, members of the public etc.
- Fault reports are assigned an initial fault priority based on the information available at the time. The procedure properly allows for fault ratings to be reviewed. The fault rating priority can be increased, decreased or left unaltered as a result of a review. This review process properly reflects the true state of the network.
- All reviews of fault priorities by [operator] have been undertaken consistent with the procedure. We will continue to comply with the procedure in this regard.
Operator's response (Operator 2)
In late 2016, the ONRSR conducted an inspection with this operator, which included a focus upon track maintenance processes and procedures. Coincidentally, areas of concern expressed within this report were covered within the scope of the inspection. (Please note that the mentioned inspection was conducted prior to receiving RR201600010).