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Author Topic: Lights on Bikes on Trains  (Read 1984 times)
rower40
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« on: June 09, 2017, 12:13:16 PM »

A great many years ago, I was given a <proper> telling-off by a train guard.

Shenfield station, 5pm or so, winter; (therefore it was dark).  I was travelling from Chelmsford to Southend, so changing trains there.  I ran along the platform to find the guard's van (remember them?) and my dynamo-powered light lit up.

The guard helped me put the bike on board, then ding-dinged the driver to start the train, then proceeded to tear me a new one.  Why?  My bike's front light had looked, to him, like the station staff's Bardic lamp (white for dispatching a train), and he'd nearly started the train without it being properly dispatched.

RED bike lights are similarly potentially confusing - a red hand-lamp is sometimes placed on the platform edge as a "stop here" instruction where the other end of the platform has to be kept clear for an arrival from the other direction.

Ever since, I've been really careful to ensure my lights are switched OFF when on a platform.  My Brompton's rear light has a standby capacitor that keeps it lit for 10-15 minutes after the hub dynamo stops turning, so I've fitted a "quench" button to drain the capacitor if I'm about to go on a train.

The "Cycling By Train" leaflet over the years used to ask that cycles had their lights switched off, weren't locked to anything in the guard's van, were labelled with name and destination, etc.  None of these now appear in the current leaflet.

Has anyone else encountered anything like this?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 01:31:59 PM »

Not to that extent, no. I have been politely (but quite firmly) told to turn bike lights off on a platform, also many years ago. I wasn't aware at the time it wasn't allowed. This would have been late 1980s.

It's a particular problem with dynamo lights, obviously, as many dynamo rear lights don't have a way of turning off the standlight. I think most fronts do. I presume, as most such lights are German or Dutch products (B&M, Spanninga, etc), that railways in those countries don't have a similar rule.
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 06:04:56 PM »

I have witnessed a train stop short of a dark station platform due to some numpty carrying his bike on his shoulder which with the red light on from a distance looked like someone waving a red light in an attempt to stop the train.....especially when said numpty was walking on the edge of the platform with bike over the edge of the platform


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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 06:26:35 PM »

I have witnessed a train stop short of a dark station platform due to some numpty carrying his bike on his shoulder which with the red light on from a distance looked like someone waving a red light in an attempt to stop the train.....especially when said numpty was walking on the edge of the platform with bike over the edge of the platform

Probably two wrongs making a right.  Had the train carried on, wasn't there a risk of having squashed numpty?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2017, 03:06:45 PM »

Presumably not, if he was actually on the platform. I do think these rules should be better publicised along with the reasons for them and the possible results (such as a train setting off before it's ready) from ignoring or breaking them.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2017, 01:00:46 PM »

Yes, it's ignorance rather than malice. I'm sure it simply wouldn't occur to 90% of people that it would cause a problem.
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John R
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2017, 02:17:38 PM »

I've been following the railway industry for 40 years and I had never heard of it, so I would agree that if it is a safety issue then it needs to be better publicised.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2017, 03:04:21 PM »

Red lights can occasionally still be a problem, but at least that's fail-safe.  A red light may cause a train to stop by mistake, but far more potentially serious is a train departing by mistake.  That's much less of an issue now that dispatcher's use proper dispatch batons rather than the old Bardic style lamps with bulbs that looked just like cycle lights.  It was not uncommon in previous decades for a white light to signal that the train could depart, whereas it's now almost universally a green light - which of course you're unlikely to find on a bike.
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broadgage
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2017, 09:27:09 PM »

To me, it is common sense that no members of the public should show any light on a platform except for

1) A steady white light directed slightly downwards when required to facilitate safe movement at a platform with no lighting or inadequate or defective lighting.

2) In case of serious emergency only, a red light or a light of any colour waved about, to attempt to stop the train in the event of accident or obstruction.

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bobm
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2017, 10:32:37 PM »

Red lights can occasionally still be a problem, but at least that's fail-safe.  A red light may cause a train to stop by mistake, but far more potentially serious is a train departing by mistake.  That's much less of an issue now that dispatcher's use proper dispatch batons rather than the old Bardic style lamps with bulbs that looked just like cycle lights.  It was not uncommon in previous decades for a white light to signal that the train could depart, whereas it's now almost universally a green light - which of course you're unlikely to find on a bike.

Must admit I've seen a green flag to dispatch a train but only ever a white light. When did the change to green come in?
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froome
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2017, 10:33:48 PM »

A great many years ago, I was given a <proper> telling-off by a train guard.

Shenfield station, 5pm or so, winter; (therefore it was dark).  I was travelling from Chelmsford to Southend, so changing trains there.  I ran along the platform to find the guard's van (remember them?) and my dynamo-powered light lit up.

The guard helped me put the bike on board, then ding-dinged the driver to start the train, then proceeded to tear me a new one.  Why?  My bike's front light had looked, to him, like the station staff's Bardic lamp (white for dispatching a train), and he'd nearly started the train without it being properly dispatched.

RED bike lights are similarly potentially confusing - a red hand-lamp is sometimes placed on the platform edge as a "stop here" instruction where the other end of the platform has to be kept clear for an arrival from the other direction.

Ever since, I've been really careful to ensure my lights are switched OFF when on a platform.  My Brompton's rear light has a standby capacitor that keeps it lit for 10-15 minutes after the hub dynamo stops turning, so I've fitted a "quench" button to drain the capacitor if I'm about to go on a train.

The "Cycling By Train" leaflet over the years used to ask that cycles had their lights switched off, weren't locked to anything in the guard's van, were labelled with name and destination, etc.  None of these now appear in the current leaflet.

Has anyone else encountered anything like this?


Yes, I've had similar and have seen other cyclists also encountering it. The problem is with the Standlight I have on my Brompton, which is essential for cycling in city traffic (it ensures I have a light on while stationary, such as at traffic lights). The rear light remains on for 3-4 minutes, slowly fading. I'm not aware on any way to 'quench' it.

When approaching a station now I turn off my lights as soon as I possibly can, but it does often mean that my rear light is still showing when I get to a platform. I try to keep the light pointing in a way which shouldn't cause a problem, but when moving a bike around on a busy platform, that isn't always easy.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2017, 05:15:57 AM »

To me, it is common sense that no members of the public should show any light on a platform except for

1) A steady white light directed slightly downwards when required to facilitate safe movement at a platform with no lighting or inadequate or defective lighting.

2) In case of serious emergency only, a red light or a light of any colour waved about, to attempt to stop the train in the event of accident or obstruction.

There's a big difference between a regular train user well versed in railway operations, and your average member of the public.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2017, 05:27:11 AM »

Must admit I've seen a green flag to dispatch a train but only ever a white light. When did the change to green come in?

Fairly recently, and I may have exaggerated with the phrase 'almost universal'.  However this is the relevant extract from the GWR DOO drivers dispatch instructions:

'When the member of dispatch staff is satisfied that it is safe for the train to start and if the platform starting signal is still displaying a proceed aspect they will operate the RA indicator. When no RA indicator is provided the person in charge of the platform will give the ready to start signal using a green flag or light.  A white light must not be taken as the ready to start signal and a dispatch baton may only be used if it is fitted with an operative green light.'

So, in other words, white light to shut doors and green light to depart.
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bobm
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2017, 10:01:53 AM »

So, in other words, white light to shut doors and green light to depart.

As a non-member of staff I have always thought it a little odd that the signal for "station duties complete" and "train safety check complete" were the same.  Makes more sense to me to have different ones.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2017, 11:55:58 AM »

This implies that a white light is only a problem on staffed stations (unless it is shaken around in an "emergency stop" manner).
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