Rail breaks guidance set for publication

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Extensive research into reducing the frequency and impact of breaks in embedded rail is set to shape new guidance from the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board.

Craig O’Brien, LRSSB Engineering Manager, said multiple instances of breaks in embedded rail on UK networks had led to the research into the causes.

“Our aim was to find ways to reduce them and to share best practice on how to manage breaks, which can have a highly detrimental impact on operations.

“We needed to find out not only how to reduce their frequency of breaks, but also how to minimise disruption and maximise safe practice when they do occur.”

To date there has been no specific guidance on managing breaks until the rail can be replaced, but in 2019 the LRSSB established a working group to further develop the industry’s understanding of these issues.

“This led to a guidance document to assist in the standardised management of rail breaks should they occur,” said Craig.

“We believe that the production and implementation of this guidance will help owners, operators and maintainers to implement a more robust risk approach and make more informed decisions when breaks do occur. The LRSSB is now eager to receive comments from the peer review process, to make certain that every aspect is covered.

“In this way, the chances of service disruption are greatly reduced and that any associated risks to safety can be dealt with effectively.”

It is expected that the guidance will be published in full early in 2022.

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