RMT raises serious SWR safety breachesRSS Feed

RMT raises serious SWR safety breaches

13 November 2017

RMT Press Office:

RMT raises serious safety breaches during South Western Railway strike action with regulator.

RAIL UNION RMT said today that it has written to the rail safety regular, the Office of Road and Rail, setting out a series of serious safety breaches during last week’s strike action on South Western Railway.


The incidents, which occured on Wednesday 8th November, all involve the use of poorly trained "contingency guards" in an effort to break the RMT strike action and highlight again how the safety regulator the ORR - which is funded to the tune of £2.3 million by South Western Railway co-owner, First Group - is failing ‎in its statutory duty to maintain public safety during industrial action.


The incidents highlighted by RMT in letters to the ORR are as follows;


The contingency Guard of the 1320 Waterloo-Woking (2F33) is reported to have given the Ready-To-Start on a red signal (WM191) at Wimbledon. This apparent breach is then compounded by the fact that:
 
1) The contingency guard reported this unsafe act retrospectively (i.e. after already having departed Wimbledon), when it is a strict requirement that guards must report such an act prior to continuing to work the train any further.
 
2) The signaller at Wimbledon was not made aware of this, which is very serious given the contingency guard concerned is alleging that an equipment failure (falsely lit off indicator) was responsible for their giving the RTS on red. Footage from the train concerned is still awaited, however footage obtained from other trains does not corroborate this and initial investigations have yet to show any faults with the equipment.
 
3) The contingency guard finished working their turn and went home without completing the necessary incident report forms. Again, a serious breach of rules which require all traincrew to complete and submit reports concerning safety breaches at or before the end of their duty.
 
•    2U21, 09:28 Waterloo to Windsor, the PUG activated the door panel early and prior to arrival at Wraysbury and Sunnymeads resulting in the train stopping short at the platform. Despite these incidents, which under normal circumstances would have led to our member’s dismissal. The PUG was allowed to continue because of it being a “minor training issue”.
 
•    05:14 service Waterloo to Guildford service arrived at a gulley platform 6/7 where doors were opened on both sides. Operational procedures are that even in gulley platforms doors should only be opened on one side.
 
•    1P39, 13:30 Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour. A ready to start indication was given to the driver against a red at Petersfield.
 
•    We have a report of the PUG leaving the Guards Operating Panel prior to departure and therefore failed to properly observe the platform in direct contravention of the rule book. I am awaiting further details on the time and service running number.
 
•    We also have a report of another PUG opening the doors prior to arrival at Windsor. I am awaiting further details on the time and service running number.
 
•    We also have a report of a manger despatching a train against a red signal at Waterloo while wearing limited PPE. I am awaiting further details on the time and service running number.
 
 RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
"Once again this union is forced to raise a catalogue of serious safety breaches resulting from the dangerous use of fake guards during industrial action with the official safety regulator.


‎”RMT has warned repeatedly that the use of these ill-equipped individuals is a disasater waiting to happen and yet again the supposedly independent safety inspectorate have failed to act on those warnings.


“We now expect them to take this latest catalogue of incidents seriously and to act accordingly. "
 
 
ENDS
 
EDITORS NOTES:
Copies of RMT letters to ORR below:
 
 
 
Ian Prosser
HM Chief Inspector of Railways
ORR
One Kemble Street
London
WC2B 4AN
 
Dear Ian
 
SOUTHWESTERN RAILWAY – STRIKE DAY INCIDENTS
 
Following my letter of yesterday I have been given details of a further incident which needs investigating.
 
The contingency Guard of the 1320 Waterloo-Woking (2F33) is reported to have given the Ready-To-Start on a red signal (WM191) at Wimbledon. This apparent breach is then compounded by the fact that:
 
1) The contingency guard reported this unsafe act retrospectively (i.e. after already having departed Wimbledon), when it is a strict requirement that guards must report such an act prior to continuing to work the train any further.
 
2) The signaller at Wimbledon was not made aware of this, which is very serious given the contingency guard concerned is alleging that an equipment failure (falsely lit off indicator) was responsible for their giving the RTS on red. Footage from the train concerned is still awaited, however footage obtained from other trains does not corroborate this and initial investigations have yet to show any faults with the equipment.
 
3) The contingency guard finished working their turn and went home without completing the necessary incident report forms. Again, a serious breach of rules which require all traincrew to complete and submit reports concerning safety breaches at or before the end of their duty.
 
Please advise me of any action you intend to take in this regard.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary
 
Ian Prosser
HM Chief Inspector of Railways
ORR
One Kemble Street
London
WC2B 4AN
 
Dear Ian
 
SOUTHWESTERN RAILWAY – STRIKE DAY INCIDENTS
 
You will be aware from our recent talks that Southwestern Railway put out a press release that ORR had “scrutinised” their operational plans for days on which our members were taking legitimate industrial action. You did indicate that you would not have used this word to describe your inspection of the company’s plans. You did however confirm to us that Southwestern had submitted their proposals for independent verification by a third-party entity.
 
You will therefore be surprised that there were a number of failures and incidents yesterday that as was the case with Greater Anglia lead us to question the validity and the safety of those plans in light of poor operational experience.
 
We have had the following incidents reported to us:
 
•    2U21, 09:28 Waterloo to Windsor, the PUG activated the door panel early and prior to arrival at Wraysbury and Sunnymeads resulting in the train stopping short at the platform. Despite these incidents, which under normal circumstances would have led to our member’s dismissal. The PUG was allowed to continue because of it being a “minor training issue”.
 
•    05:14 service Waterloo to Guildford service arrived at a gulley platform 6/7 where doors were opened on both sides. Operational procedures are that even in gulley platforms doors should only be opened on one side.
 
•    1P39, 13:30 Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour. A ready to start indication was given to the driver against a red at Petersfield.
 
•    We have a report of the PUG leaving the Guards Operating Panel prior to departure and therefore failed to properly observe the platform in direct contravention of the rule book. I am awaiting further details on the time and service running number.
 
•    We also have a report of another PUG opening the doors prior to arrival at Windsor. I am awaiting further details on the time and service running number.
 
•    We also have a report of a manger despatching a train against a red signal at Waterloo while wearing limited PPE. I am awaiting further details on the time and service running number.
 
No doubt your inspectors will investigate these incidents and come to the same conclusion that you have with other operators which seems to be that everything in the garden is rosy until we have another incident that might result in a more serious outcome before you finally step in to stops these shoddy working practices.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary

Share on Facebook

Want to receive updates from us? Subscribe to a mailing list

Tagged with: swr, south western railway, first group, doo, dco, driver only operation, guards, conductors, safety breach, strike, orr, office of road and rail