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Railhub Archive
2001-06-12 ATO-001


Rail strike not justified - ATOC

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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Rail strike not justified - ATOC

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12 June 2001
source ATOC
type Press release

The Association of Train Operating Companies is resisting a demand that would undo safety improvements introduced in October 1999. ATOC stressed that the safety of passengers and staff is paramount in the rail industry, and it could not support any move that would compromise it, whatever the duress.

Commenting on the RMT's announcement of strike action on the railways, Director General of ATOC, George Muir said:

"There is no good reason to threaten strike action. The Union should follow the established procedures for making changes to the rules and should not try to hold a gun to the heads of the industry and the passenger.

We want to find a peaceful solution to these issues and are ready to continue talks. Passengers have suffered enough from recent disruption.

"Train Companies and their passengers are caught in the middle of a dispute which is mainly about the Rule Book. If the Union wants changes made, it should make its case to Railway Safety, supported by a risk assessment. If the risk assessment supports their case, it will be adopted. If the risk assessment does not support their case, the change can't be made. The train operators do not control the rule book."

" Driver Only Operation (DOO) is a perfectly legitimate and safe form of operation which has been in place on some routes for around 20 years. There has been no significant increase in the use of DOO since privatisation. Indeed, train operators are mostly increasing the number of on-train staff to look after passengers."


1. The current rules on these issues were put in place in 1999 after a lengthy risk assessment and consultation process in which the unions were fully involved.

2. The Unions are in dispute with the Train Operators but the train operators do not write the rules. That is the responsibility of Railway Safety . There is a process for putting forward rule changes and as stakeholders in the industry, the unions have the right to make their proposals directly to Railway Safety for consideration. They do not need our support to take the process forward.

3. Driver Only Operation (DOO) is a tried and tested method of operation, first introduced by British Rail in 1982. It is currently in place on all Thameslink, West Anglia & Great Northern and Gatwick Express services. On the many of Chiltern Railways services, Connex South Easten and Connex South Central Metro services, the majority of First Great Eastern services, the majority of Thames Trains services, ScotRail services in the Strathclyde PTE area, Silverlink Metro services. Since privatisation, only two operators have moved to DOO - Gatwick Express and C2C (the latter has not yet completed the transition).

4. The introduction of DOO followed a rigorous risk assessment process and a number of safety enhancements, including radio contact between drivers and signallers and passengers, and the installation of platform monitors to allow drivers to ensure that they can safely close the doors and depart from the platform. There have been no significant accidents attributable to DOO. All London Underground services are DOO.

5. A detailed review of DOO and of whether it has proved to be more or less safe than driver plus guard operation is currently being carried out by Railway Safety. Their report will be ready in two to three months time.

6. DOO means Driver Only Operation. The principle things the driver does on a DOO train are to open and close the doors, observe the train as it pulls away from the platform (using mirrors or CCTV), make on train announcements and take all train protection measures in the event of an accident.

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-06-12 ATO-001


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