RMT slams bid to spin tragedy as case for DOO

RMT slams bid to spin tragedy as case for DOO

19 January 2017

RMT Press Office:

RMT slams bid to spin tragedy as case for driver-only Merseyrail trains.

RAIL UNION RMT condemned highly misleading references to a Merseyside fatal rail-accident report as an effort to justify driver-only trains on Merseyrail.

The union expressed disappointment that the report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) on the tragic 2011 James Street accident was being cited by Liverpool City Region leaders as a reason to remove 220 safety trained guards from Merseyrail trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“The James Street  report recommended that the person responsible for the train dispatch – currently the guard – should be able to ‘observe the platform-train interface without interruption for as long as possible, ideally until the train has left the platform, and be able to stop the train directly and quickly in an emergency’.

“The idea that this could be done by the driver of a Driver Only Operation train is not only completely impractical, but is also reckless.

“No-one can seriously suggest that a train driver, when driving away from a station, instead of looking ahead at the signals and making sure the track is clear, should be watching a bank of CCTV screens instead.
“Train drivers are required by the railway safety rules to observe the railway signals and the track in front of them at all times when the train is moving.

RMT Regional Organiser John Tilley – a former signaller of 26 years’ experience – said;

“To comply with the RAIB recommendation, either the new trains must have a drop-down window for the guard to physically observe the platform-train interface, or the CCTV screens should be sited in the guard’s compartment.

“This would enable the guard to monitor the dispatch throughout, without distraction, and to be able to activate an emergency stop should it be necessary.

“This can easily be done – and is already being done by Stadler, the very company that is building the Merseyrail trains, on similar trains it is making for another Abellio-run franchise, Greater Anglia.
“To misrepresent the RAIB recommendations and use the terrible tragedy at James Street in this way is a spin too far.

“And to spin the James Street report to suggest that the union is trying to reject trains that could save lives is beneath contempt. We welcome any new technology that can make rail travel safer – as an addition to a properly crewed train, not instead.”


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Tagged with: merseyrail, merseytravel, doo, driver only operation, raib, james street