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Southern train ‘ran with doors open’, but RAIB not to investigate

A Southern train at Reedham station briefly ran with its doors open on Monday morning in what could have been a potential safety breach.

The operator confirmed that the 05.54 service from Tattenham Corner to London Bridge moved one coach length at low speed as it left the station.

Southern has spent most of the year locked in an industrial dispute with RMT over plans to expand driver-only operated (DOO) services. RMT says the new operating system, where the driver, and not the train guard, has the ability to open the train’s doors, would threaten guard jobs and passenger safety.

The union, which has been accused of “cancelling Christmas” due to its industrial action programme, is planning to hold strikes on 22-23 November, 6-8 December, 22-24 December and 31 December-2 January as the latest in a series of actions protesting the issue.

A Southern spokesperson said: “There was nothing wrong with the train and early indications are this was driver error in releasing the brakes before the doors had shut.

“This was an unusually rare set of circumstances on a train that has run without a conductor for many years and could have happened even if there had been a guard on board.”

The RAIB said it was aware of the incident but was not carrying out an investigation because there had not been an accident.

Peter Kyle, the MP for Hove, said: “I want to know what went wrong. I can’t help but feel that had there been an on-board safety supervisor or a conductor this would not have happened.”

Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company, is currently failing to meet performance benchmarks in its contract with the DfT because of delays and disruptions which have caused chaos on the route.

However, the DfT cannot decide whether this constitutes a breach of contract because it is assessing a claim the company has submitted for force majeure owing to the disruption caused by the strikes.

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Andrew Gwilt   10/11/2016 at 21:33

Oops Southern Trains. Not again. Could of been disastrous as the doors were left open whilst the train was moving and the driver has forgotten to press the button to close the door and the train operator could of been fined for not sorting out the door and taking the train out of service as there was a faulty door. Typical Southern Trains.

Boris   10/11/2016 at 22:57

Andrew, the driver did everything as normal. How could he have known that the door was not fully closed? Btw, if you ever spot that a door is not fully closed on a moving train, DO NOT attempt to close it yourself. Move away from the door in question and pull the emergency alarm.

Huguenot   11/11/2016 at 15:03

Why isn't there an interlock which prevents the train moving with any door open (other than the guard's)? There could be an override control to allow movement of ECS in sidings and depots.

Andrew Gwilt   12/11/2016 at 08:54

Actually I agree with you Boris.

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