Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

They call me mellow yellow

Posted in Great Britain, High Speed, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 29 November 2010

Ever since the announcement of Deutsche Bahn’s London plan, there has been something that I’ve been wondering but, not being any kind of expert on these things, I never knew for sure. In Britain, the law states that all trains that operate on the conventional railway network must have yellow ends, so that they can be visible by track workers, and thus all locomotives and multiple units have all or part of their ends painted yellow. Similarly, the Class 373 units used by Eurostar also have in part yellow fronts (designed to be part of Eurostar’s corporate livery). So that got me asking myself “would another operator on High Speed 1 need to paint yellow fronts on its trains?”, something that has occured to other people too. So, rather than carry on wondering and speculating, I simply asked someone. Specifically by making an FOI Request to the DfT. And today I’ve had a reply:

Your enquiry in relation to yellow ends on trains has been passed to me for action. Your email identifies that trains operating on HS1 are not required to have yellow ends. You will no doubt be aware that the yellow ends were an early attempt to make trains more visible to track workers who might be on or about the line whilst trains are running. The rules of HS1 do not allow for working on the line whilst trains are operating and so yellow ends are not required.

Should a train be able to operate on both HS1 and the rest of the heavy rail network then a different arrangement would apply. The default position is that yellow ends would normally be required however new trains that comply with the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) and have the new headlight arrangement are considered to be clearly visible. On the basis that the new headlight arrangement gives good visibility to track workers, any application for a derogation against the requirement for yellow ends is usually granted by the standards committee.

So, trains that run solely on HS1 are not required to have yellow front ends, because it is too dangerous to have work done on the line while trains are running, because of their speeds. So, there will be no yellow fronted ICE trains, because as we know the Class 407 wouldn’t fit Britain’s loading gauge. Similarly, trains that would operate on both HS1 and the classic network would also not need yellow fronts, provided their headlights met the Europe wide TSI agreed by the DfT. Of course, as it stands there are unlikely to be any trains any time soon that meet that criteria. Nevertheless, question answered. Excellent.

I guess we don't get to see a duck billed Velaro D - oh well



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  1. 黃色突破 « Seaside Sky said, on 15 January 2011 at 12:22 am

    […] Pip’s Railway throughout上這樣的一篇文章,證實了小的一直擔心的終究不會發生。 今天Grand Central […]

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