The surface of any level crossing should be free from trip hazards, running rails proud of the surface, depressed areas or major undulations and the surface needs to be firmly fixed. Fortunately, the days of old wooden sleepers being installed unevenly between rails to make a level crossing surface are long gone. Nowadays, solid crossing panels provide a safe non-slip and unimpeded driving and walking surface wherever a road or footpath cross a railway.
The only manufacturer of rubber level crossing systems in the UK, Rosehill Rail provides an extensive range of crossing systems, designed to allow the easy crossing of rail tracks by vehicles and pedestrians and not hinder track maintenance. They also provide road-rail access points (RRAPs), which enable road / rail track maintenance vehicles to efficiently and safely move from road to rail.
The systems are wholly developed and manufactured in the UK from sustainable, 100 per cent recycled, tyre rubber which is bonded using a cold-cure system. Rosehill Rail, part of the Rosehill Polymers Group that has extensive experience of polymer technology in a wide range of industries, supplies crossing and access point systems worldwide.
To make sure installers and maintainers are trained and confident in using its products, the company has established its own training and development facility. This ensures crossing panels can be installed and removed quickly and safely, allowing for effective installation and track maintenance while maximising track possession times.
It’s important that surfaces are installed correctly, as the profile over any vehicular crossing should have no sudden changes of vertical curvature. The profile over an automatic half-barrier or user-worked crossing is critical to safety and should not cause a vehicle, such as a low-loader or a tractor and trailer, to become grounded and obstruct the railway.
At other types of crossing, the profile is less critical (but still important) because these crossings are either manually operated by railway staff, or locally monitored by radar or the drivers of trains travelling at restricted speeds such that they can stop short of the crossing.
Training and competence
Competence is a combination of skills, experience and knowledge needed to undertake responsibilities and perform activities to a recognised standard on a regular basis. The inadequate management of competence can lead to personal injuries and fatalities and good employers will not just train staff, but make sure staff are confident in carrying out tasks.
Initial training of staff is important in establishing competency, but it is not sufficient on its own and consolidation of knowledge and skills through refresher training is a key part of developing competency. Employers have a legal requirement to establish and maintain competency for all those involved in safety-related work.
Rosehill Rail offers free-of-charge training to customers at its dedicated training centre in Sowerby Bridge. This is in a very scenic, leafy location between Manchester and Leeds, within easy reach of the M62 and with Sowerby Bridge railway station just a few minutes away.
The training takes place on a specially installed section of track, in complete safety and with ample space and access. While the majority of the training is hands on, there are conference rooms on site for custom classroom-based training and refreshments, which are all provided as part of the package. Attendees receive specially produced training documentation to take away, together with a certificate of attendance.
All aspects of installation, commissioning and maintenance of level crossing and road rail access point systems are provided. The training includes the safe use of Rosehill Rail’s lifting pin system, which is specially designed for lifting all the crossing system panels and rubber edge beams. Half-day or full-day courses are available throughout the year.
Training sessions can be tailored to installation, specification or operational needs and can also answer specific queries on design, specification advice, or checking compatibility for an installation. Once trained, a team should be able to install a permanent, temporary or semi-permanent Rosehill Rail crossing surface or access point system in 90 minutes.
Crossings and RRAPs
The training can cover any number of Rosehill Rail systems and ancillary products. The Baseplate system is ideal for shorter, lightly used crossings and for cutting into turnouts and tight bends. It has advantages over other more-rigid systems and it can be adapted to bespoke site-specific requirements. The baseplates fit tightly over bearer sleepers and the solid rubber panels can be cut to fit around fishplates and check rails. Panels can also be specially manufactured to fit around tight curves. The baseplate system can also be used for road rail access points.
The Connect system is designed for heavy traffic and can be employed on any road crossing. The crossing panels can be manufactured for any gauge of track and the system is particularly useful for very long crossings or those at an acute angle to a road. The system is designed for 600mm sleeper spacing – each panel is connected to the next by two bolts that are then covered with rubber blocks.
The Interlocking Road Rail Access Point system is designed specifically to accommodate irregular sleeper spacing. Each individual panel is manufactured to fit the specific rail, sleeper and fastener type to ensure the perfect fit. The panels are securely fixed using locking plates, linking the panels together and ensuring panels cannot become dislodged. The system reduces possession times and delivers significant cost savings compared to traditional concrete and other modular systems.
Rosehill Rail also manufactures anti-trespass panels, designed to deter trespassers and metal thieves from accessing the track. They also help prevent road vehicles from driving along the railway from a crossing.
This article was written by Paul Darlington.