The Department for Transport (DfT) in the UK has urged driver’s union ASLEF to end its plans for strikes after the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) confirmed that Southern Railway ’s plans for driver-controlled trains are safe.
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling also asked the independent rail regulator if it is possible to develop principles for continuous improvement of train dispatch in a bid to further improve the way trains are dispatched across the country.
Grayling said the unions are expected to be involved in this process.
Transport unions RMT and ASLEF claim that plans to introduce trains where the driver controls the operation of the doors, is not safe.
Grayling said: “ASLEF should call off its strike. There are no grounds for the strike to go ahead. The independent rail regulator has confirmed after a further review that driver-controlled trains are safe.
“The government is doing everything we can to limit the impact of this strike on passengers and I have written to the unions again today to offer to meet.
“Additional measures have been put in place to help people get to work but there will be much less capacity than usual and journeys will take longer.”
The HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser has confirmed that driver-only operations (DOO) on trains are safe and suitable equipment is in place with proper procedures.
The ORR made recommendations to ensure that CCTV image quality is high, which GTR-Southern has accepted and is set to be implemented.
Grayling wrote to Prosser if the ORR can develop a set of principles to perform improvements that all train operators must follow where DOO is in operation.