Rail operators ‘'won’'t use controls until they get easier'’

Lighting controls on Britain’s railways are being overridden – and will continue to be until suppliers make them easier to use,  according to experts at Lux’s Lighting for Rail conference today.

Rail engineering consultant David Burton told the audience of lighting manufacturers and specifiers: ‘You wouldn’t do a railway lighting project these days without some sort of controls. Tfl and Network Rail are very keen to make sure controls are there. But you’ve got to be really careful as a designer to make sure controls are adapted to how an operator is going to use the area. Operators are very good at defeating controls if they don't do exactly what they want, or what they expect. What they want is certainty.’

Terry Denyer of Network Rail agreed, saying: ‘The first time the lights don’t work the way the person on site expects, that’s when they get overridden. Generally it’s for safety.’

Shae Gilbert, who until recently was in charge of lighting on the London Underground, and now works as a consultant for Integra, said: ‘There’s a big requirement from the Network Rail and Transport for London side to educate the operator in how controls should be used to best advantage. My experience is that controls are delivered, but people don’t know how to use them and it all becomes a big waste of time and money.’

Burton said that changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, encouraging the use of and introducing the Leni metric to take account of controls when verifying compliance with the regulations, are steps in the right direction.