Rail union highlights ‘dangers’ of driver-only trains

Union warns of 'dangers' of driver-only trains. Picture: Jane Barlow
Union warns of 'dangers' of driver-only trains. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A RAIL union has published a dossier on the “dangers” of driver-only trains amid a series of strikes over the issue.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union has called stoppages on ScotRail and Southern Railway in the coming weeks as part of a long running campaign against changes to the role of conductors.

The union said its research exposes in detail the threat to safety on rail services from axing guards from trains.

The report details a catalogue of incidents where the union says safety has been compromised on driver only (DOO) services as well as incidents where the presence of the guard has averted “potential disaster”.

READ MORE: Six days of strikes at ScotRail announced

The RMT is holding a protest in London today in defence of guards on Southern services.

General secretary Mick Cash said: “This dossier has been produced by RMT as part of our national fight against the introduction and extension of driver only operation on Britain’s railways as the greedy train operating companies look to dilute the safety regime in favour of maximising their profits from the privatised network.

“The dossier sets out a range of examples from across the country that detail the real consequences for the travelling public of axing and undermining the safety-critical role of the guard.

“The examples are horrific - but the current moves, in the wake of the Government-backed McNulty report that made DOO the default option on our trains - mean that they will be the tip of the iceberg if we don’t halt and reverse the drive to take out the guards.

“Everyone who works on the railway knows that platform/train interface is the number one area of risk, day in and day out.

“That fact is accepted by the safety agencies who are there to monitor and manage the safety regime across the rail network.

READ MORE: Steam trains to return to the Borders Railway in August

“With surging demand, unmatched by rail capacity, overcrowding on our trains and on our platforms is now endemic. The guards, working with their platform and driver colleagues, are the pivotal point in the safe management of the dangers presented at the passenger/train interface.

“Removing them, or downgrading their role, is a lethal gamble with passenger safety.”

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