Rail Regulator publishes principles for driver controlled operation

4 April 2017

Six high level principles have been drawn up in consultation with industry and the trade unions. They are designed as a framework for train companies who are considering introducing, or who are operating, DCO.

The Principles set out that DCO schemes need to be well planned, with appropriate implementation timescales and developed against a shared understanding of how to handle any issues which need to be addressed.

The Principles are part of the rail regulator’s overall approach to railway safety which helps train companies and their staff understand what is needed to comply with health and safety requirements. This is part of our ongoing work with industry to continuously improve the approach to all types of train dispatch.

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR, said:

"ORR’s Principles are designed to give guidance to industry about how best to plan and implement driver controlled operation. The most important element is planning new arrangements well in advance, talking with staff and their representatives to address concerns and ensure they are informed about the progress of plans.

"These Principles reinforce our view that suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff must be in place for the safe implementation of driver control operation."

Notes to Editors:

  1. Railway Safety Principles on driver controlled operation

Driver controlled operation describes the method of working where the driver is responsible for door operation and determining that it is safe to start the train. How the driver determines whether the train is safe to start will be dependent upon the method of train dispatch and whether the supporting risk assessment requires other safety critical staff to be involved.

The six high level principles are:

Where driver controlled operation is used or planned to be used:

  • Trains need to be compatible with the platforms that they use and the method of operation at these platforms.
  • Station platforms need to be compatible with the trains using them and they must support the methods of operation.
  • The nature of the operation with the train and platform need to be assessed. This includes consideration of passenger needs and behaviour.
  • Staff should be trained and competent
  • The implementation should be planned
  • The system should be managed through its whole life, with improvements adopted