Guard's calm intervention
after sex attack underlines need to scrap driver only plans
THE calm and decisive action of a
safety trained Merseyrail guard in facing down a sex attacker and protecting the
woman passenger he had assaulted and tried to rob underlines the "sheer,
reckless stupidity" of plans to scrap guards, the network's biggest union
As Merseytravel Councillors prepare to vote, on Friday, 16 December 2016, on plans that
could see all guards removed from Merseyrail and the introduction of driver only
trains, RMT demanded that Councillors respect the huge weight of public opinion
to retain guards.
The incident, on 6 December 2016, in which a Northern Line guard led the assault
victim; a woman travelling alone at night; to the safety of his cab, alerted
police and ensured that she was able to get home safely, illustrates exactly why
we need guards, the union says
RMT has, for the 3rd time, written to Merseytravel chair Liam Robinson seeking
answers to key safety questions including what would happen in an emergency such
as a fire or derailment in the network's single bore tunnels if the driver was
The union also points to the incident, on 25 August 2016, in which a Merseyrail guard
isolated the electric rail and evacuated passengers to safety after a car
collided with a train at Crescent Road level crossing in Southport, while the
driver remained in his cab suffering from concussion.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:- "Merseytravel and Merseyrail have
so far simply ignored the crucial safety questions we have raised about the
threat of driver only operation.
Wherever DOO has been introduced there has been a significant increase in
incidents involving passengers being caught in doors or falling under trains,
and we, alongside our colleagues in Aslef, are not prepared to risk any
extension of this fundamentally dangerous mode of operation.
The serious incidents on Merseyrail in the last few months alone should make it
clear that fully safety trained guards are an essential and indispensable part
of train crew, and that Merseytravel must find a way of financing new trains
that does not compromise safety.
We know that the travelling public wants to see guards retained; and so does
Merseytravel, because its own survey made that quite clear.
We have asked Merseytravel to ensure that any new trains are designed to have a
second safety critical crew member aboard, and we have asked Merseyrail, our
members' employer, to assure us that guards will be retained on all its
The bottom line is that we will not hesitate to defend our members' jobs and