Head Office Circular NP/136/21
Our Ref: HSR/1/11
28th April 2021
The Secretary

Dear Colleague


The 2020 AGM considered Item 70, a resolution concerning the ramifications of the introduction of new technology and the implications for our members who potentially face disciplinary action while not being properly trained:

Arriva Rail North have introduced Automatic selective door opening and selective door opening (ASDO/SDO) on new class 195/331 trains.

This technology has been brought in to comply with Network Rail standards for new trains and also to allow trains that are longer than platforms to be deployed without the need for manual locking and opening of doors.

Management at ARN refused a request from Company Council representatives to allow any extra time in the training package for new trains to be dedicated to ASDO/SDO. This was concerning as this technology was brand new to the ARN network and it's staff and also because the deployment of the system relies on the Conductor having to be aware of exactly how many sets of doors will open on each platform as if the Driver stops in the wrong place on a short platform, the Conductor can still in theory open doors that are "off" the platform, which obviously is a risk to passengers.

ARN introduced an ASDO/ System that relies on a internally designed database of platforms, GPS co-ordinates and geometry that in theory should provide a failsafe in terms of train positioning. However, it is still not as accurate as the beacon system such as that used on the south west rail network. We have had Conductors placed in development plans for opening doors when a driver has stopped short and they have subsequently released doors that have been "off " the platform.

This resolution calls on our NEC to approach the RDG/ RSSB/ ORR and engage with them over the different methods of ASDO/ SDO and the subsequent training that is required by operational staff. This issue cannot be left to TOC's whose primary interest is reducing costs at the expense of safety and also placing extra pressure on our members roles and responsibility in the workplace.

While our Union and members welcome responsibility it must be enshrined with the correct amount of training and knowledge and this has been a failing of Arriva Rail North management and we must take every step to ensure it isn't allowed to happen again or at any other TOC. This is a prominent issue at present as 1000s of new carriages are due to be delivered onto the UK network over the next few years and they will all have to have ASDO/ SDO technology.

The National Executive Committee referred this item into their Train Crew Safety Sub-committee and then, at their meeting of 26th April 2021, noted and adopted the following report:

That we note this resolution was adopted under item 70 of the 2020 AGM.

Therefore, the General Secretary is instructed to carry out the instructions listed in the resolution.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you advised on developments. Please bring the contents of this Circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary