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RMT Calls For Safety Regulator Intervension As Yet Another Incident Exposes Need For Train Guards

Rail union RMT today called for an urgent intervention from the safety regulator as yet another serious incident exposes the need for guards on Southern Rail trains – just a week before the next phase of RMT strike action.

The incident, which has just come to light from internal reports, occurred late on Friday the 20th October on the Victoria to Brighton service where a potential tragedy was averted by the swift actions of an ex-guard, who, luckily, happened to be working the train in an OBS capacity.

As RMT points out in the letter to the Office of Road and Rail, the safety regulator:

RMT are aware of an incident that occurred at East Croydon station on Friday 20th October, on the 23:48 Victoria – Brighton train 2A00, units 377b22. 

A passenger had exited the Southern train and was walking along the platform when they fell between the train and the platform onto the track area, this was observed only by the ex guard who was working the train in an OBS capacity, station platform staff didn’t notice and the driver didn’t notice. 

The training and experience of guard duties and an ability to work in an observational capacity ensured that the event was seen and action was immediately taken to prevent further incident or distress. The passenger was I understand unhurt and was taken into care by BTP, verbal pressure was given to the OBS to get the train moving and out of the station, as you can imagine, my train crew member was herself shaken by the event. 

Once again the risk at the PTI has been highlighted and only the actions of the Train Crew member prevented a further serious incident from occurring. 

Have you been made aware of the incident by Southern/GTR? Are you aware of similar incidents taking place across the Southern network? I ask that you do a full and thorough investigation and make the findings available to me. 

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“It was pure luck that an OBS who happened to be an ex-guard was on board this service. Safety on our railways should not be left to luck and this is just the latest in a catalogue of incidents that proves that the Southern plan to hack back on safety competencies and run growing number of trains Driver Only Operation is a lethal gamble with passenger safety.

“The incident also exposes the clear and present dangers for drivers who are being told to accept a new deal which would leave them out on a limb when these kind of Platform Train Incidents occur on services for which they have sole responsibility.

“RMT is demanding both action and answers from the Office of Road and Rail and we also demanding again that Southern row back from their dangerous plans and sign up to the guard guarantee which is now a fact of life in Wales and Scotland.”

Source: RMT press release

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