East Midlands Railway 170 Fleet Wrong Side Openings

Our ref: HSR/2/6

Head Office Circular: NP/203/23

30th November 2023

To: The Secretary





Dear Colleague,




Further to Head Office Circular NP/194/23, dated 10th November, the following report jointly submitted by Brothers Keir Chewings and Graham Cross, outlining the significant progress made in their discussions with East Midlands Railway (EMR) regarding the Wrong Side Door Release (WSDR) incidents on the 170 units. Following meetings held on Thursday, 16th November, and Wednesday, 22nd November 2023, they were pleased to report a constructive dialogue and a set of mutually agreed principles (subject to the RMT National Executive Committee [NEC]’s approval).


Summary of Agreed Principles:


Rob Mercer, in his letter dated 22nd November 2023, has outlined several commitments that EMR has agreed to implement. These include:


1. Right to Accompaniment: Colleagues will be entitled to union representation during Safety Investigation meetings and Individual Case Decision Reviews, provided it does not delay investigations.


2. Quarterly Review of Investigations: A quarterly review of Level 2 and Level 3 investigations will be conducted between a management representative and a Health and Safety representative.


3. Sharing of Investigation Outcomes: All Level 2 and Level 3 investigation outcomes will be shared with the On Train colleagues involved in the incident.


4. Operational Incident Flowchart: A flowchart detailing timeframes and actions for Level 2 and Level 3 operational incidents will be developed in conjunction with an H&S representative by 11th December 2023.


5. Review of 170-Traction Training Material: The training material will be reviewed to highlight the risks of WSDRs, involving management and an H&S representative by 11th December 2023.


6. Method of Work Review Post-Modification: Following the DKS modification on 170400s, a review of the 170 Method of Work will be conducted.


7. Communication on Incident Investigations: Staff will be informed via email if they are not reinstated within 5 days of an operational incident, with reasons provided.


8. Removal of Interim CDPs: If an individual’s performance is not a contributing factor to an incident, any interim CDPs will be removed.


9. Review of NIR Reports: All available NIR reports regarding 170 WSDR incidents will be reviewed, with weekly updates on any 170 door incidents.


Positive Developments:


We are encouraged by EMR’s commitment to involve union representatives at all stages of the investigation and decision-making process. This involvement, which has been lacking for years, is a significant step towards protecting our members' rights and interests.


The sight of the modifications and involvement in ongoing investigations provides a degree of control and accountability. Particularly, unit 170204, which remains out of service, demonstrates EMR's commitment to safety. The access to OTMR data has been crucial in distinguishing the unique nature of the fault in 170204 from other incidents.




1. NEC Consideration: We recommend that the NEC reviews the content of this report and disseminates the information to staff, ensuring awareness of the progress made.


2. Formal Letter to EMR: A letter should be sent to EMR, acknowledging the measures agreed upon and ensuring they are on record. This letter should also request a timely meeting with the Joint Safety Council to review and implement the changes in SMS 057.




The recent developments mark a significant milestone in our efforts to address the WSDR incidents on the 170 units. EMR's willingness to collaborate and implement measures that protect our members and ensure operational safety is a positive step forward. We urge the NEC to support these developments and continue to advocate for the safety and rights of our members.



Following receipt of this report, your NEC, at its meeting on 28th November 2023, resolved as follows:


That we note and adopt the most recent report on file. We thank Brother Chewings and Brother Cross for their tenacity in negotiating a set of mutually agreed principles to address the issues of safety regarding the wrong side door openings.


Having reviewed the contents of the report we instruct the General Secretary to write to EMR acknowledging the measures agreed and ensure they are officially recorded.


Furthermore, the General Secretary is instructed to request a timely meeting with the Joint Safety Council to review and implement the changes in SMS 057.


All affected members, branches, and regional councils to be advised by text and email. 


I am acting in line with these instructions. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members


Yours sincerely



Michael Lynch

General Secretary