Our Ref: BR2/0146

25th April 2017

Dear Colleague,


I have received reports from our Conductor Company Council and Lead Officer that in a recent visit to the Stadler factory to see the plans and mock-up of the proposed ‘new’ trains for the Anglia Region that serious concerns have been raised.

During the visit the Greater Anglia Manager leading the project inadvertently let slip that they would be expecting drivers of the new trains to release the doors at all stations on the network. The manager went into further details on the door controls within the train saloon (not cabs) and how they would not have a door release facility, only a door close/local door close and a bell buzzer switch on these controls. The reasons the manager gave for this was because the driver would be required to release the doors, as the trains are fitted with auto-selective door opening, which involves the driver ensuring they stop in the correct place at stations.

This information is incredibly alarming and it can be clearly seen that the design and layout of the trains and driver’s cabs has been made with just the drivers in mind, with no consideration being taken for conductors to facilitate their duties and working environment. It would appear that the company are not taking the conductor grade seriously and are accommodating the grade as a complete afterthought. The new trains have hardly any flat surfaces within the drivers cab for you and your colleagues to utilise and assist you in carrying out your safety critical duties.

The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and has acknowledged the grave concerns our Lead Officer and Representatives have over the company’s intentions and lack of clarity on these issues. The company have failed to provide any written confirmation or assurances on their proposals despite stating verbally in meetings that the safety critical role of the conductor will be retained. Therefore, in line with the NEC’s instruction I have written to the company demanding they provide answers on wherever the new trains ordered have been configured for conventional operation involving the continued use of the conductor. Abellio Greater Anglia has been informed that we expect a response by the 30th April 2017. I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will update you as soon as further developments arise.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary