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Signals Passed at Danger (SPADs) – Category ‘A’

Definition

This measure reports all Category A Signals Passed At Danger (SPADs), where signals have been passed when a stop aspect, end of in-cab signalled movement authority, or indication (and any associated preceding cautionary indications) was displayed correctly and in sufficient time for the train to be stopped safely at the signal or end of in-cab movement authority.

Results

2011/122012/132013/142014/152015/16
England & Wales247234272275259
Scotland2915182623
Network-wide276249290301282
Network-wide (Ranked A to D - where the train reached the fouling point)2622223126

Note: Previous years’ figures have been updated to reflect the outcome of investigations and re-categorisation of incidents.

Commentary

Category A SPADs are a risk that involves train and freight operators as well as Network Rail. In 2015/16 the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) formed an industry group focusing on SPAD risk, examining underlying causes and further risk reduction options. Within Network Rail’s train accident risk reduction programme there are a number of workstreams aimed at reducing SPAD risk such as resignalling to modern standards, railhead treatment, lineside vegetation removal and improving safety critical communications.

There were 26 instances where the train reached the fouling point (the point on a pair of converging tracks where two trains would collide if allowed to approach together). This was a reduction from the 31 instances that occurred in 2014/15. Six of these instances resulted in derailment in comparison with four in the previous year.

Three of the 26 signals involved were fitted with the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS). We continue to work with the rail industry to reduce SPAD risk, providing leadership in the modernisation of safety cooperation arrangements.