Mirror Technology Ltd developed the concept of platform safety mirrors for driver-only trains with British Rail from 1985. These large acrylic mirrors allowed the driver a clear view down the side of the train to observe passengers entering and leaving the coaches. The mirrors offer a full-height image, and have been very well received by drivers. Originally designed for mainline use, more compact versions have now been developed for light trains. These are smaller, typicaxlly 900mm x 600mm size with a light aluminium frame. They offer a much clearer view than small cab-mounted versions. However, the general rule is: use as large a unit as is practical. The view is better with a longer range.
Unfortunately, it has often been necessary to introduce anti-vandal measures. Fracture-resistant polycarbonate membranes are often used since these can be replaced without removing the complete assembly. However, occasionally, the actual mirror needs to be replaced and a service exchange scheme is available. Later units can be fitted with mirror cassettes, which can be replaced in situ, usually without line possession. To ease replacement, models can now be supplied with hinged frames
and certain types can have directly mounted mirror cassettes. These improvements greatly reduce servicing labour costs.
It is worth adding a few comments on mirror installation generally. Initial siting is most important and ideally should be carried out with a survey mirror and a train, if at all possible. This will allow the view along the doors to be fully checked and should prevent equipment obstructing signals etc ahead. When two units are used for differing train lengths a full-size version is used for the longer set and a smaller mirror is mounted out of line for short sets. An indication of ideal positioning is shown in Fig 1.
Mirrors may be a simple solution but they require minimal low skill maintenance and hence are an economical and well-accepted solution to driver lookback.
For additional information please contact:
Mirror Technology Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 1242 621 534