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21 December 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT predicts over a million more trains a year to run without guards under rail bosses’ secret plans.
RAIL UNION RMT has predicted that over a million more trains a year will run without guards on the five companies RMT is currently in dispute with, Greater Anglia Railway, Merseyrail, Northern Rail, Southern Rail and South Western Railway.
The shocking news comes the day after RMT announced a further phase of strike action in the New Year in each of the separate disputes and the day before Merseyrail staff take another 24 hours of action in defence of rail safety.
Figures passed to RMT show that on Southern Railway alone, where driver only operation is being rolled out, over 15,000 trains a year are already running fully or partly without a second person and if the same ratio was applied to South Western Railway that would be the equivalent of 32,000 trains a year across that single franchise alone.
However, RMT believes these figures, shocking as they are, represent the thin end of a very large wedge and point to plans on Northern Rail and Merseyrail which the union says are the “cuts template” for the future.
Under the Northern Rail Franchise agreement up to 50% of services must be able to run without a guard, the equivalent of 457,000 trains a year, and it is planned that all of Merseyrail’s 218,000 trains will run without a guard.
The union has calculated that if, as expected, the 50% of services without a guard is eventually also applied to South Western and Southern well over a million more trains in total a year will be given the green light to run without a guard. That figure will also rise even higher if the extension of driver only trains on Greater Anglia takes place.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“These shocking new figures show the reality of the rail bossed plans for driver only trains.
“Once the private rail companies are allowed to change the method of operation that forces the driver to leave without a second person then the all the evidence points to this method of operation becoming the norm and not the exception.
“Even if we presume that 50% of services will still have a guard in the future that’s still over a million more trains a year without a guard with all of the inherent safety and security risks that go with that model of operation.
“That’s a million more services where there is an increased risk to safety and security and reduced accessibility for members of the travelling public. The Government and the train companies should be hanging their heads in shame that their real plans have now been rumbled and they must be forced to halt and reverse the dash to Driver Only Operation on our railways."
Notes for Editors
According to the Office of Rail and Road,
The Northern Franchise agreement requires 50% of services to be able to run without a second person. there were 915, 552 Northern Rail services planned last year. 50% of this is 457, 776.
Southern has 288,000 affected trains a year. 50% of these is 144,000
SWT has 590, 905 trains a year, 50% of this is 295, 452.
Merseyrail have 218,000 trains a year, all of which is intended to be without guards.
It has not been possible to apply a figure to Anglia from the data available due to the mixed of non DOO and DOO services