Railway safety

To improve railway safety, NS has introduced a single harmonised safety management system (‘1VBS’) for the entire organisation. This creates clear and simple processes, which improves railway safety. The system goes through a continuous improvement process. In 2018 the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate carried out an audit of the 1VBS for recertification of the various NS train operating companies. We received a new safety certificate.

Number of signals passed at danger (SPADs)

The number of non-technical cases of signals being passed at danger (SPADs) is an indicator of railway safety. The number of SPADs was 61 in 2018 (47 in 2017). Almost half (28) of the SPADs in 2018 came from empty trains when shunting and when transferring an empty train from one station to another. NS and ProRail are investigating the reason for this increase.
The number of SPADs of trains with passengers was 33, the same as in 2017. The number of times that what is known as the ‘danger points’ was reached, such as a switch, decreased from 13 times in 2017 to 9 in 2018.
ORBIT, the system that warns drivers if they are approaching a red signal too quickly, can prevent SPADs. Data from ORBIT also gives insight into high-risk situations and developments so that we can take measures that take effect before an incident takes place. In 2018, NS installed the ORBIT system on the VIRM, ICM, SGM, DDZ and SLT type trains. The installation in SLT trains will continue in 2019.

Five-year trend STS

Braking criterion

NS took the decision in 2017 to make the braking criterion (technically enforcing more powerful braking when approaching a red signal) in IC rolling stock more stringent, starting with the VIRM. In 2018, NS worked this decision out in more detail to determine when alterations to the VIRM trains and timetable would be possible.
Last year the improved version of the ATC automatic train protection system was installed at various locations. Additionally, in 2018 we continued research on the impact of workloads and distractions. We have prepared eye-tracking studies and simulator studies. This gives us insight into the impact of devices, such as tablets in the cabin, on the viewing behaviour of train drivers. The studies will be carried out in 2019.

Running trains with ERTMS

The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is a European train safety system that is being introduced on the Dutch railways. It increases the ability of different systems to communicate with one another and improves the safety and reliability of the train service. The State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has announced that the programme decision in 2018 is being postponed because the schedule that had been drawn up is not feasible. Making design decisions with supporting arguments, drawing up documents and making agreements with rail sector parties is taking more time than originally estimated. Only then can NS start the procurement process and then install the system in the trains. Additional measures remain necessary as some parts of the infrastructure do not have ERTMS yet.