RAILFUTURES vice-president Peter Rayner is calling for a compromise in the current disputes over the future role of train guards and drivers:
Please note our next branch meeting will take place on Thursday 27th April at 7pm, Shakespeare Hall, North Road, Durham City, DH1 4SQ. Guest speaker will be Graham Meiklejohn, Regional Development Manager from Transpennine Express explaining the exciting new plans that TPE have for the region with new trains and new travel opportunities. Click here for map.
RAILFUTURE NORTHERN TOC
Most December 2017 timetable changes are being deferred until May 2018 due to the lack of cascaded units caused by over-running electrification, which has also exacerbated Northern’s rolling stock shortage. The phased withdrawal of Class 158 Sprinter units for “as new” refurbishment will compound the problem. Two are in service on the Calder Valley line; future units will address unsatisfactory aspects of these prototypes, eg with brand new seating. A refurbished Class 150 unit also proved unsatisfactory, and has been returned to the works.
In consultation with industry and the trades union, the Office of Rail and Road, the rail regulator has published six high-level safety principles it expects train companies to follow when rolling out and managing Driver Controlled Operation (DCO):
• Trains need to be compatible with the platforms that they use and the method of operation at these platforms.
• Station platforms need to be compatible with the trains using them and they must support the methods of operation.
• The nature of the operation with the train and platform need to be assessed. This includes consideration of passenger needs and behaviour.
• Staff should be trained and competent.
• The implementation should be planned.
• The system should be managed through its whole life, with improvements adopted.
RMT members vote for action on Arriva Rail North over failure to give assurances on guards - union confirms strike date. Further information can be found at
Please note our next branch meeting will take place on Thursday 16th February at 7pm, CastleGate, Melbourne Street, Newcastle, NE1 2JQ. Guests will be Nigel Harris Managing editor of Rail magazine and transport journalist Christian Wolmar.
The GRIP 2 report on the re-introduction of passenger trains to Ashington envisages heavy rail (not Metro) services from Newcastle running half-hourly in the peak, and hourly or half-hourly off-peak. SENRUG would like to see a station at Seghill, but that is not critical. The £191M cost estimate includes a 40% contingency, and a signalling upgrade that would be required whether or not there was a passenger service. The NCC hopes to commission GRIP 3 by December and GRIP 4 by October 2018, with trains running in 2021
The dispute between Scotrail and the RMT union has been resolved: drivers will open train doors; conductors will close them. Also, conductors will continue to be paid and trained to full train and trackside safety competency. However, the agreement does not read across to Southern, as the Scotrail franchise specifies two staff members on every train.
On the East Coast line, catering services at weekends are poor: often there is no trolley service, and even in first class only sandwiches are available; proper meals have never appeared. It seems that VTEC are not recruiting sufficient staff, and RF North East wonder if VTEC have promised more than they can deliver.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which gave the operations the green light, said they would benefit passengers travelling to Middlesbrough, York, Newcastle, Morpeth, Lincoln, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Stevenage. (4 May 2016, RMT Press Office)
Metro Futures Parliamentary Promotion with TWPTUG Chair, Vicki Gilbert, and NECA South Tyneside Transport Committee members, Cllrs Alan Smith and Gladys Hobson.