Line block apps

Communicate a rail line block throughout your disparate workforce instantly and ensure their safety on the frontline.

What is a line block app?

Line blockages are arranged for rail workers on the frontline so they can carry out their work safely. These blocks ensure no trains can pass between the relevant areas of track. They are normally pre-planned for a time, which will cause minimum interference with the passage of trains, however a COSS can make a lineside request for a line blockage if there has been a change to the original plan. 

A line block app replaces the traditional paper form process with a digital solution encompassing all the necessary information in one virtually accessible space.

Click here to check out our line block apps…


Why is it important to have line block apps?

A line block is one of, if not the most, vital process to implement correctly and securely within the rail engineering function. It’s crucial that everyone concerned is up to date with any changes, as any break in communication quite literally puts lives on the line. The fact that COSSs have the ability to make lineside requests regarding line blocks creates the logistical challenge of communicating this throughout an entire disparate team, both on site and in office. Taking the inefficient paper-and-pen approach to this process wastes time and risks safety of workers, with forms being transported back and forth between relevant staff.

Network Rail’s Planning4Delivery safety initiative is due to be launched in early 2021, with an intrinsic focus on the transition of manual processes to digital. The capacity mobile technology has to improve safety on site is unquestionable, with line block apps being a prime example.  

Line block apps make it possible to distribute new information instantly in a single accessible space to all involved. This means that when any amendments or requests are submitted, team members will be notified, and can be signed off by those in charge quickly and simply. 


Why should I replace my existing line block process?

The existing paper process not only costs time and money, but also potentially lives. When considering such a crucial process within the rail industry, the transition to a digital solution is an easy decision to make. Having a line block app on your mobile or tablet dramatically slashes the time needed to sign off and implement line blocks, safeguarding your team instantly.

There are strict time constraints associated with rail works, in order to cause the least disruption to travel. This places pressure on the COSS in charge, who will inevitably look for ways to get works over the line as quickly as possible. When a process is so time-consuming, it’s tempting to take shortcuts, which puts workers at risk. 

A digital solution gives the COSS on site the power to take action quickly and communicate instantly with the entire workforce. In a manual industry where projects change regularly, it’s vital to have a strong line of communication between all relevant members of the team. By taking away the strain of these administrative tasks, the COSS and their workers are instantly freed up to focus on the work at hand. 

Benefits of a line block app


  • Better communication

    Railside changes to line blocks can be communicated instantly throughout the entire workforce, in back office and on site.

  • Quick sign-off

    The COSS on site can sign off safety-critical information with the touch of a screen.

  • Improved safety

    Line blocks are approved and implemented easily to ensure the safety of your workers.

  • Go paperless

    No need to worry about transporting physical forms back and forth on site; they’re available on your mobile.

Choose a line block app from the Nutshell library

Nutshell's pre-built components

Line block app

Replace your manual line block process with a digital solution where requests can be sent off and processed instantly

Nutshell's pre-built components

Close call app

To improve safety, Network Rail requires you to report all close calls. Do so quickly and easily using our close call app for Android and iOS

Nutshell's pre-built components

Near miss app

Manage your Network Rail near miss reporting on mobile with our near miss app

Can't find the app you're looking for?

Our army of builders will create it for you. To find out more about how Nutshell can help you digitise your business, saving you time, money, and resources, get in touch.