The RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) says there is no evidence that drivers (rather than guards) operating train doors increases the risk of passenger harm.
The organisation analyses safety data and provides standards and risk guidance to the industry.
Rail unions have consistently stated that industrial action over the role of conductors on Govia Thameslink Railway has been about protecting the safety of passengers. They argue that a guard opening and closing train doors is safer than the driver managing train dispatch with the aid of CCTV cameras.
However, RSSB Managing Director Mark Phillips said: “We have 30 years of data which we have analysed. We have found that the driver performing the task does not increase the risk to passengers at all.”
The RMT suggested that there has been a greater incidence of passengers caught between closing train doors on Driver Only Operation services, compared with trains that carry guards. It said in some cases passengers have been dragged between improperly closed doors on a moving train, implying that this would not have happened with a guard performing a visual check before departure.
- For more on this story and an in-depth analysis on the latest Southern dispute, read RAIL 808, read RAIL 808, published August 31.