LETTER: Is driver-only ‘perfectly safe’

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In your issue on December 16, you quoted Chris Grayling as saying that “driver-only operation was ‘perfectly safe’”, on the authority of the industry-funded Rail Safety and Standards Board.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch tells a different story. Of 14 accidents involving passengers entering or leaving trains in the past few years, 12 were on driver-only operated trains, and only two on trains with conductors in charge of the doors, and this at a time when, on the network as a whole, only 30 per cent of the trains were driver-only.

Not all incidents were investigated. On June 20, a passenger fell between the train and the platform, and the driver was only aware of this when alerted by other passengers. This was not reported as an accident or investigated because it ‘did not involve train movement’.

I have asked Angie Doll about this, and the minister via MP Maria Caulfield, but I have not received any explanation of how these figures can be consistent with ‘perfectly safe’.

David Hitchin

Wilkinson Way

Seaford