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Railhub Archive
2001-11-23 RSA-001
Railway Safety


Independent study supports the safety of Driver Only Operation (DOO)

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Railway Safety

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Railway Safety

Independent study supports the safety of Driver Only Operation (DOO)

23 Nov 2001
source Railway Safety
type Press release

Railway Safety has accepted the overall conclusions of an independent study into the safety of Driver Only Operation (DOO) of trains which was commissioned from ERM Risk.

The extensive report concludes that there is no safety reason for excluding further applications of DOO and there is no case for current Driver Only (DO) operations to revert back to operating with a guard.

However, the report also recommends that train operators with driver only schemes must undertake a thorough review and risk assessment of their controls to demonstrate that they fully understand hazards and that risks are properly managed with elimination of any such hazard being the first priority. The operating arrangements must also be continually improved when reasonably practicable. The findings state that these factors have a much greater influence on risk than whether a guard is deployed or not.

Railway Safety’s chief executive, Rod Muttram thanked ERM Risk for its input and the valuable assistance offered by all the train operators and other transport companies who contributed data to the study.

He said: “Railway Safety believes that all on train staff should be trained in evacuation procedures regardless of their role. The competence of staff present and the overall safety arrangements of the operator are much more important than whether the train is operated in driver only or non-driver only mode.

“The prime focus for the rail industry must remain with the diligence of individual train operators and Railtrack in operating safely and continuing to monitor their safety performance, in order to react to changes and provide a quality, reliable service to the travelling public.

“This important research will assist train operators in submitting their safety cases to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for acceptance.”

The report looked at a wide range of operating circumstances and the risk assessment analysed two types of accident namely, major train accidents and single person incidents eg slips, trips and passenger assault. The following results were found:

For most single person accidents, the incident rate is broadly comparable between DOO and non-DOO.
There is some evidence to suggest there are circumstantial factors, such as location, that appear to have a stronger influence on the incident rate that the mode of operation.
For the major train accidents, the overall risk without TPWS is marginally higher in DOO than non-DOO. Following the introduction of TPWS, DOO is assessed to be safer than non-DOO.
The ERM Risk report is in three parts. The first reviews the history of DOO which began on passenger and freight trains in the 1980s in the UK and considers the extent and acceptability of DOO in other countries and transport modes. The second includes a thorough risk assessment and the third is a summary of the whole report and presents its findings and recommendations on DOO.

The review covered normal operations and what happens when there is an accident. Information was gathered from European operators and other modes of transport such as airlines, trams and buses where emergency response, safety information and passenger behaviour were also examined. The review was conducted from October 2000 to September 2001.


For further information contact Railway Safety Corporate Affairs on 020 7904 7524 or visit the website on

For further information please contact
Cathy Gilleece on 0207 904 7524

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-11-23 RSA-001


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