From Alan Wilkins:
David W is quite right, but it doesn’t stop there. The relevant section of the code, issued under s.65 of NRSWA, is contained in pages 74 to 77 of the October 2013 revision of the Safety at Street Works and Road Works Code of Practice. The section starts off with the following:
“Warning: Before carrying out works in a street with a tramway, the tramway operator and highway authority must be consulted. The tramway operator will set out safety requirements to ensure safe working and to minimise the impact of works on operation of the tramway. These requirements must be followed.”
This goes along with s.93 of NRSWA on which this part of the Code is based. Subsection 93(3) says:
“An undertaker executing works to which this section applies shall comply with any reasonable requirements made by the relevant transport authority—
(a) for securing the safety of persons employed in connection with the works, or
(b) for securing that interference with traffic on the railway or tramway caused by the execution of the works is reduced so far as is practicable;
and, except where submission of a plan and section is required, he shall defer beginning the works for such further period as the relevant transport authority may reasonably request as needed for formulating their requirements under this subsection or making their traffic arrangements.”
A tramway operator needs to have its own code of practice relating to work near to the tramway so that it can readily provide the requirements for safe working close to the tramway. The first of these was developed for Manchester Metrolink in conjunction with Kit Holden and Steven Firth. This was also used as the basis for the Midland Metro and Sheffield tramways, and I imagine will also have been used with whatever modifications were necessary by all the other tramway operators.
A further consideration is s.82 of NRSWA. This says that a utility will have to compensate a relevant authority for any damage or loss resulting from work carried out by the utility. This applies regardless of whether the damage results from work carried out due to a failure of the apparatus or is straightforward repair work. Consequently the utility would be naïve to agree to leave apparatus in close proximity to a tramway unless it receives a waiver from this section (as was done in Birmingham for Severn Trent Water). Similarly the tramway operator would not sensibly agree to work being carried out in such a way as to mean that he was unable to recover costs and loss of profit if appropriate.
In my 30 years of involvement with tramway works I have frequently been embarrassed by peoples’ ideas about utility apparatus and how simply it can be dealt with by doing nothing. I’m sure that it will transpire that this was the approach adopted by TIE in Edinburgh. Please don’t get sucked into the same illusion: apparatus comes in many shapes and sizes, and lies at many depths below the road. It is vital that you know what is there long before work starts on building the tramway to understand just what will be required and when diversion work will need to be carried out. As David W has pointed out elsewhere, the utilities are extremely powerful, for good reason – they are what allow us to live in houses rather than caves – and if you mess with them they will roll you into the ground.
From: David Holt
I wonder in what particular respect(s) it goes against the NRSWA safety code. There are two obvious possibilities – the risks to Utilities workers from trams running above them while they work or obtain access/egress, or the risks of trams falling off temporarily-supported track, or an obvious combination of both, or the risks of the temporary supports collapsing, or of gas being ignited by tram sparking, or of some sort of clash between the two activities, or whatever else could be imagined. Mitigations might be possible – such as doing the under-track work only when the trams aren’t running, at night for example.