Train Driver Saves Child's Life

Last weekend on the Jubilee Line a drivers quick actions saved the life of a young child. Just as the driver was about to leave the platform at Finchley Road, he spotted a small hand coming up from the track on his CCTV and realised that someone had fallen from the platform.

Had it been a driverless train, then it would have departed as all the sytems indications were that it was safe to do so, and this story of heroism would be one of tragedy.

London Underground has recently altered the rules regarding departing a platform without CCTV. It used to be that if the CCTv is not working then a member of station staff would watch the platform as the driver departs. Now that LU wants to get rid off station station staff the rules have been changed and the driver leaves the platform blind.

RMT balloted to disregard these new rules so that we can follow the previous rules which our members believe to be safer.

Following the incident London Underground’s network services director Nigel Holness said: 'In this case our staff followed their established safety procedures to bring the incident to a safe conclusion and without injury.

'The whole design and operation of the network would be different with driverless trains and therefore we cannot compare the two.'

Any improvement in safety is to be welcomed, but in light of these comments it's worth noting that on the Jubilee Line, the system to stop automatic trains on the Jubilee using an emergency plunger on the platform was never completed, a safety system that has been in use on the Central Line for years.

Boris Johnson has also waded in saying that trains would always be staffed even if driverless. If this is his plan, how does it fit in with his arguement that the disruption caused by strikes would be stopped? Or indeed with the LU 'Operational Vision' document that details unattended trains as being the completion of a plan for a destaffed underground?

Bob Crow, RMT's General Secretary said "The lethal reality of Boris Johnson's driverless trains plan is exposed in this one incident."

"From 7/7 through to a child rescued from the tracks by a vigilant driver, Londoners need to understand the truth that you cannot play politics when lives and safety are at stake every minute of the working day."