Latest Rail News

30.11.16

Prosser: ‘Not ORR’s role’ to arbitrate in train company DOO disputes

Ian Prosser, the director of railway safety at the ORR, has reiterated his certainty that driver-only operated (DOO) services are safe and indicated that the regulator will not intervene in the dispute about DOO on Southern rail.

The RMT, which claims DOO will threaten rail guards’ jobs and passenger safety, has led a series of strikes on Southern this year, and Aslef announced yesterday that it will join the industrial action.

In a newly published letter to Louise Ellman, the chair of the Transport Select Committee, written after he appeared before the committee on 14 November, Prosser said he “would like to reiterate” that the ORR believes DOO can be operated safely.

He added that, as with all methods of train dispatch, “suitably maintained equipment, proper procedures and competent, trained staff” must be in place.

Earlier this month, Mick Cash, the general secretary of RMT, wrote to Prosser urging him to support the union’s demand for Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to halt the implementation of DOO.

However, Prosser indicated in his letter that he would not intervene, saying: “It is not ORR’s role to arbitrate or intervene in disputes between train operating companies and their employees, and therefore I want to ensure any further intervention does bring our impartiality on such matters into question.”

He added that he would “consider carefully” the committee’s suggestion that the ORR should publish a further report into DOO because of the public interest in the dispute, but hoped that his letter would be enough to allay concerns.

Prosser also said that the ORR had already found Southern’s proposals to be safe following a detailed risk assessment, and would encourage all parties “to continuously improve safety”.

In another session of the committee’s inquiry into rail safety, Dr George Bearfield, the director of system safety at the RSSB, defended the RSSB’s decision to declare DOO safe despite admitting that train companies would still have to carry out individual assessments.

(Image c. RMT)

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Comments

Jerry Alderson   30/11/2016 at 16:08

Corrected text with word added; "I want to ensure any further intervention does *NOT* bring our impartiality on such matters into question."

Robert Howlett   08/12/2016 at 18:48

DOO trains are an invitation to terrorists

CS   12/12/2016 at 13:11

Ironic that at Haywards Heath last week, early termination of Southern train due to no conductor etc., 1500 passengers crossed the platform to catch a new Siemens DOO train to Brighton. No terrorists in sight.

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