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TPWS - a boon for light rail?

Regulations were laid before the UK Parliament on 10 August which require the fitment of a Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) to all trains and at key junctions and other danger points across the railway network by the end of 2003. The regulations also require the modification of Mk1 rolling stock by the end of 2002 and for them to be eliminated from the network by the end of 2004.

Brian Lomas LRTA Development Officer comments:

Experience in Germany has shown that there can be considerable benefits in being able to operate light rail vehicles over the railway network. Up to now implementation of this in the UK has been hindered by the lack of a suitable protection system. Joint running has only been able to be considered where the lines were semi self contained so that the number of vehicles having to be equipped was limited. With the new regulations, meaning that all trains will have the equipment already, this cost will be removed and may allow consideration of schemes which were previously uneconomic.

The elimination of Mk1 rolling stock, on grounds of crash worthiness, at the same time as the announcement of measures to prevent crashes occurring does seem to show a lack of faith in the new system and the aim of joint running is likely still to have many hurdles to overcome.

12 August 1999

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