Incidents on the railway infrastructure always influence rail operations. Most incidents are handled at regional or national level by the responsible Infrastructure Manager. However, all affected networks should be informed and involved in the coordinated incident management process.
If an incident reduces capacity by more than 50% and lasts for more than three days, it needs high level management attention within Infrastructure Managers, Allocation Bodies and Railway Undertakings.
International Contingency Management
To coordinate incidents and disruptions, the first International Contingency Management Handbook was introduced on 16th May 2018, and later revised in 2021 reflecting the gained experiences.
The handbook describes standards that allow the efficient handling of disruptions to achieve the continuation of traffic flows at the highest possible level. RFCs play a significant role as facilitators in the communication process, helping to minimise interruption impact.
In case of major disturbances, when capacity is significantly reduced, Infrastructure Managers (IMs) must agree which trains can continue to run as planned, which trains have to be parked and where they should be parked. In the past, this process required several phone calls or the exchange of Excel sheets, or did not happen at all. As a result, border stations were blocked by trains that were not taken over by neighbouring IMs.
To facilitate the communication in disrupted and stressful situations, an online ‘TIS Incident Management Tool’ was developed to help dispatchers identify the trains directly affected by the interruption. Furthermore, it also provides the possibility for online communication with affected IMs (and, in the future, also RUs) about which trains may run as planned and which should be parked, and where. In addition, the tool helps to speed up border processes in daily business and minimise track occupation times in marshalling yards.
The Incident Management tool has been fully available in TIS from August 2020 and from January 2022 has been mandatorily used by all IMs to inform all relevant partners at minimum about interruptions within the scope of International Contingency Management Handbook.
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