16.1 Forward facing CCTV

Forward facing closed circuit cameras (FFCCTV  ) can provide the police with critical fatality investigation information, in particular – determination of any third party involvement, with a high degree of certainty. Images readily accessible on site or, even better – also off site, would speed up decision making and reduce investigation time; hence reducing service restoration time to a minimum.
  • Provide the police with important information required for its investigation on the incident circumstances.
  • Enable the police to quickly determine, with a high degree of certainty, whether or not a third party was involved in the incident. It speeds up decision making by the police and involved off-site responders.
  • Images would need to be accessible on site and off site as well. Thus, the decision could be made quickly reducing the time for investigation.
  • Complete the investigation within a shorter period of time allows restoring train circulation with minimum delay.
  • May bring additional benefits: rear-facing CCTV   for vandalism or other problems: trespass, misuse of level crossings, night vision.
  • A typical FFCCTV   system includes four operating modes:
    • Active mode. The camera and recorder are connected to a power supply, and the system is fully functional. In this mode, the status display panel shows that the system is operating properly.
    • Inactive mode. The power supply to the camera and/or recorder is disconnected, or alternatively, the system is connected to the power supply and the camera, but is switched off.
    • Debriefing mode. An external viewing device (tablet or smartphone) is connected to the system for the purpose of viewing recorded video.
    • Malfunction mode. The system is connected to the power supply and to the camera, but there is a malfunction in the system (whether power, communication, hardware, software), which is displayed in the status display LED  .
  • There is no technical obstacle to the installation of cameras for this purpose and there are already many active installations. However given the number of driving cabs involved, across-the-board installation would be costly. Potentially difficult cost benefit decisions might be eased with greater knowledge of the actual total costs of service disruption. In addition there are other outputs from FFCCTV   that can be of benefit to the IM and RU (e.g. for the examination of infrastructure, investigation of incidents involving other than suicide or fatal trespassing).
  • Requirements for the handling of images and data protection will need to be applied. Make sure you comply with the national laws, GDPR, etc. for video recording and image processing.
  • FFCCTV   could involve images of individuals and be subject to application of data protection requirements.
  • It preserves evidence integrity from the police investigation point of view.
  • FFCCTV   data could involve images of individuals and be subject to data protection requirements and preservation of evidence integrity – an essential police requirement.
  • FFCCTV   can provide important information for a wide range incidents also track and lineside condition (i.e. could be used to inspect the tracks or the infrastructure around it, detect problems, etc.).
  • Information recorded on OTDRs can assist with incident investigation (e.g. train speed and braking information).
  • In some cases, it was implied that FFCCTV   are not more widely used because of concerns expressed by drivers that these solutions also record the drivers’ actions when they are driving. It’s possible that this apprehension has more to do with what they consider as an infringement on their privacy, and concern that the information collected may be used for other than the stated purpose. However, guidelines on the handling of images and data protection will need to be provided in order to preserve a clear evidence trail.
  • FFCCTV   can improve turnaround time after an incident by using a direct video feed from trains and remote download capabilities. This allows rail staff and emergency responders understand the details of a trespassing incident before arriving at the scene and may help to reduce the time to restore service even more.
  • The cost-benefit for individual train operators may be questionable.

In October 2013, NS   started a pilot test with FFCCTV   on trains in the Netherlands, in cooperation with National Police and Department of Security and Justice. The pilot has ended on 1 May 2014.
- The aim of this pilot was to:

  • Determine whether footage is usable to exclude crime scene investigation. This investigation of the police is done on location by the police and is next to salvage and cleaning a major contributor (delaying factor) in the incident handling time.
  • Determine the functional and technical specifications related to the FFCCTV  -system itself.
  • Develop procedures with police and operator when using footage.

- Outcomes:

  • Police and Department of Justice see added value in using FFCCTV  -footage to exclude “foul play” or determine suicide. Nevertheless also witness reports, known “hot zones” and the presence of mental care institutions in the vicinity of the suicide location must also be taken into consideration in the assessment.
  • Specifications have been determined
  • Input for joint ProRail-NS   business case for investing in FFCCTV   (other areas are metal theft, vandalism, infrastructure inspection etc.)

FFCCTV   was also tested by MTRS3 in the UK in collaboration with Virgin trains, Greater Anglia, and South Eastern Railways as part of RESTRAIL   pilot tests conducted in 2014.

last update: 2023-03-01 Print