The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has published a ‘dossier’ which it says exposes the safety risks of removing guards from trains.
The document is a part of the union’s ongoing battle with a number of rail companies, including struggling Southern Railway, over the issue of driver only operation (DOO).
Southern runs services to and from London Victoria
The RMT said it is holding a ‘major protest in defence of guards on Southern Services’ in London and it has called a further strike on Southern services for next week.
On Tuesday the union confirmed a campaign of industrial action over the proposed extension of DOO on Scotrail services, with six 24 hour strikes from 21 June.
The RMT said its dossier ‘exposes in detail the threat to safety on rail services from axing guards from our trains’ and ‘highlights a catalogue of incidents where safety has been compromised on DOO services as well as incidents where the presence of the guard has averted potential disaster'.
General secretary Mick Cash said: ‘This dossier has been produced by RMT as part of our national fight against the introduction and extension of driver only operation on Britain’s railways as the greedy train operating companies look to dilute the safety regime in favour of maximising their profits from the privatised network.
'The dossier sets out a range of examples from across the country that detail the real consequences for the travelling public of axing and undermining the safety-critical role of the guard.’
However, a spokesperson for regulator the Office of Rail and Road told Transport Network: ‘With suitable equipment, procedures and competent staff in place, train operators are able to operate driver-only trains safely.
‘This method of working has been part of train operations in Great Britain for over 30 years.’
Separately, Go-Ahead Group, majority shareholder in Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs the franchise that includes Southern, warned that the recent disruption and strikes will halve the profit margin it expects to make from the franchise.