Latest Rail News

08.07.13

Guards to be cut from London Overground trains

The RMT union has pledged an “all out fight” and strike action over TfL’s confirmation that guards will be cut from London Overground services, which are to become fully driver only operated (DOO).

The changes will come in on the NLL and WLL by the end of this year, and on Gospel Oak to Barking by July 2014.

It is thought that 104 posts will go. The RMT blamed cuts announced in the recent spending review – though TfL denied the plans were anything to do with that.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The news that millions of passengers are to be put at risk through plans to throw the guards off London Overground trains on north London routes will send shockwaves through transport services.

“We can expect many more of these attacks on jobs and safety as TFL slash hundreds of millions from their budget at Government behest. They will be met with the fiercest possible resistance from RMT as we link up the groups of workers in the firing line.”

The Class 378s that make up most London Overground services have door monitoring cameras and security systems, with screens in the cab.

TfL told the BBC that “trains which do not use guards have a better safety record of those that do”.

One driver posting at railforums.co.uk said: “The trains are busy at all times of day, they are well lit, they have clear CCTV and above all the fact that they are open carriages the whole length of the train makes for a pretty safe environment.

“As a driver I might prefer to have a guard for other reasons. If things do go wrong it is indeed nice to have someone else to make announcements to passengers and keep them reassured whilst you remain focussed on safety critical issues, etc. It's always good to have someone else there (and indeed for them to assist in safety critical matters in the event of accident, evacuation, etc). These are rare events however and whether in this day and age a company can justify two different methods of operation across their network without valid reason I don't know. LOROL inherited guards on those sections of the network where they are employed rather than created them. I felt it was only a matter of time.”

(Image copyright TfL)

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