Rail jobs, staff issues and training


RSSB annual report: Membership increases despite DOO dispute

The Rail Safety and Standards Board has released its annual report, showing an increase in membership and greater usage of its developed tools.

Over the past year, six organisations have become members of the RSSB, taking the total from 69 to 75, while its Carbon Tool also has an increased user base.

The news comes despite criticism from the RMT union, which claims the safety organisation is incorrect to say the controversial driver-only operated (DOO) system is safe.

In its report, RSSB bosses said they were pleased with the direction the board had taken, with chief executive Mark Phillips speaking about measures which were implemented from the ORR’s 2016 review.

Phillips said 2016-17 had seen the beginning of a “transformation programme to make the RSSB fit for the future”, and applauded the increased contact the organisation has had with its members.

However, the RMT union, which orchestrated strikes across five franchises over DOO safety concerns earlier this month, says the RSSB cannot be independent because of its close relationship with companies in the industry.

The organisation, which spent £10.6m on research and development last year, is jointly owned by TOCs, Network Rail, and rolling stock and infrastructure owners.

Referring to comments made by George Bearfield, RSSB director of system safety and health, Mick Cash, the RMT’s general secretary, said it was not right that the organisations who stood to profit from the introduction of DOO services should fund reports into its safety.

“He who pays the piper calls the tune,” Cash said, in reference to the RSSB’s assertion that DOO trains can be run safely.

Writing for the safety board in October, Bearfield said: “Unfortunately, the current disputes on the safety of driver dispatch have become emotive and confused.

“In this article I set out a clear evaluation as to why driver dispatch of trains is unquestionably safe according to all criteria and what this tells us about how we need to address safety issues in the future, as more automated systems are brought into use.”

Discussions around driver only trains have caused disputes across the country, however, a landmark deal between the ASLEF union and Southern Rail this month finally ended the organisations’ long running clash.

Representatives agreed a deal which will see drives receive increased pay while DOO operation will be limited to exceptional circumstances when a second safety-trained person cannot be placed on-board.

Top image: Rui Vieira PA Archive

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

16/03/2018Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

Union members working for South Western Railway (SWR) are to go through with a four-day strike running across both bank holidays over the Easter ... more >
NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

16/03/2018NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

Network Rail has been ordered to pay £733,000 fines after a court found that its failure to adequately maintain track had caused a freight ... more >
Network Rail sees more than £200m in retail sales in Q4 2017

15/03/2018Network Rail sees more than £200m in retail sales in Q4 2017

Retail sales at Network Rail managed stations grew by 3.5% in the final quarter of 2017, it was revealed today. Between April and December 2017 ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleeper's' daily blog

How can UK rail become a global leader?

06/03/2018How can UK rail become a global leader?

Alison Dervis, EY director, explains why more diverse thinking, innovation and industry collaboration will help deliver transformative change to the railway industry. From late Georgian steam engines, to the multibillion-pound civil engineering projects of modern day, Britain’s railways have a legendary and inspiring tale to tell of technological revolution, societal change and economic growth. That legacy continues today, but is ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

13/03/2018Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), runs through the nationwide progress in rolling out ... more >
A benchmark year for HS2

13/03/2018A benchmark year for HS2

Jim Crawford, managing director of Phase 1 at HS2 Ltd, discusses the many critical activities set to take place this year as the mammoth high-spe... more >
The North has a plan

13/03/2018The North has a plan

There has always been an incredible thirst for change in the north. Now, there is finally a plan robust and forward-thinking enough to make it ha... more >
EWR: Getting it right

13/03/2018EWR: Getting it right

Peter Austin, delivery director at East West Rail Company (EWRco), argues that completing the link between Oxford and Cambridge as quickly as pos... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
View all News


Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >