U K Railways - Privatization

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U K Railways - Privatization

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:44 am

We have members more informed of these issues than am I; so I leave this with the link to this New York Times opinion piece, and an accompanying Fair Use quotation:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/opin ... alism.html

Fair Use:

.LONDON — If how the railways run is a guide to the state of a nation, then it tells you something that Britain is in the middle of its biggest railway strike since 1994. Not coincidentally, that was the year the national rail network was privatized by the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Major.

A labor dispute has been simmering for nearly a year on the routes managed by Southern, a train operator that, as the name suggests, runs crucial commuter services between London and the South Coast. In December, the crisis escalated when around 1,000 train drivers joined in a strike action against Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway, whose network also includes the Gatwick Express airport line.
...
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby george matthews » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:20 am

There's a new policy favoured by the franchise owner to cut the role of Guards on the trains, leaving the driver to operate the doors. The RMT union says this is not safe.

The drivers say they have too many other things to do and that it is difficult for them to monitor the safety of closing the doors, whereas the Guards have a better chance.

Drivers - ASLEF union (Amalgamated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen)
Guards - RMT union (Rail Maritime Transport)

Presumably the franchise owners hope to reduce costs.

The Tory government favours the franchise owners.
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby talltim » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:49 am

The requirement is in the franchise contract (actually this one isn't a franchise, it's a management contract) so GTR has no choice. It's a very cleverly worked play by the government, they are the ones calling the shots, but it's the staff/unions and the operator that take the flack from the public
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby george matthews » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:03 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:We have members more informed of these issues than am I; so I leave this with the link to this New York Times opinion piece, and an accompanying Fair Use quotation:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/opin ... alism.html

Fair Use:

.LONDON — If how the railways run is a guide to the state of a nation, then it tells you something that Britain is in the middle of its biggest railway strike since 1994. Not coincidentally, that was the year the national rail network was privatized by the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Major.

A labor dispute has been simmering for nearly a year on the routes managed by Southern, a train operator that, as the name suggests, runs crucial commuter services between London and the South Coast. In December, the crisis escalated when around 1,000 train drivers joined in a strike action against Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway, whose network also includes the Gatwick Express airport line.
...


One should note that although the Tories privatised the infrastructure as Railtrack it went bust and had to be renationalised. It remains state owned, as Network Rail.
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby David Benton » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:54 am

Are they proposing to eliminate or reduce the guards position?. Cant see any benefit otherwise.
Though have to say , the train is standing still while the doors are closed , what else is there for the driver to do at that time? Check timetable work orders etc , I guess , communicate with control , but that would not be all the time.
I suspect it may be to give the guards more time to collect tickets, perhaps they have used their other duties as a reason for not been able to check all tickets, and this is the response.
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby johnthefireman » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:47 am

Driver Only Operation: DOO - Analysed & Explained

I think the point would be that even if a second staff person is on the train, mainly to act as a ticket collector (or revenue protection officer or whatever the latest jargon is), that person would not need to be trained and qualified as a guard, and therefore can be paid a smaller salary, thus saving money for the mainly foreign-owned railway companies for which they work.

Amongst the important duties that a guard carries out is protection of the train in the event of an accident, particularly if the driver is incapacitated.

David wrote:what else is there for the driver to do at that time?


Modern British commuter routes operate a very intense timetable, often on very complicated track layouts, especially during the rush hour. Drivers often report that on a journey from Brighton to London, for example, which takes about an hour and covers about 80 km, they never once see a green signal or even a double yellow - the traffic is so intense that they run on single yellows for the entire journey, ie the signal in advance is always potentially at danger and they have to be constantly prepared to stop while at the same time trying to keep time. Station dwell times are very, very short indeed and there is again pressure to keep them short in order to maintain the timetable, and a commuter train will often have very frequent station stops, very close together. Before the doors can be closed the operator needs to ensure that no passengers are still trying to get on and off the train, and that nobody on the platform is in any danger, which can be very difficult if the platform is already crowded with passengers waiting for the next train. A guard can usually simply step onto the platform and look up and down, whereas the driver will usually have to rely on a mirror, a platform-mounted video screen or an in-cab screen, all of which take up her/his attention; if the platform is curved or if it is foggy, s/he may have to look at several screens to cover the whole length of the platform.

It's not that operating the doors is in itself such an onerous task, but it is just one of very many things which the driver has on her/his mind all the time, and this significantly increases the danger of distraction, of mental overload, of forgetting or mixing up things. There would be much less pressure on the driver of a longer distance train with fewer stops and longer station dwell times.
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby george matthews » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:29 am

t's not that operating the doors is in itself such an onerous task, but it is just one of very many things which the driver has on her/his mind all the time, and this significantly increases the danger of distraction, of mental overload, of forgetting or mixing up things. There would be much less pressure on the driver of a longer distance train with fewer stops and longer station dwell times.


The attempt to make drivers solely responsible is unreasonable and would lead to greater dangers of error.
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Re: U K Railways - Privatization

Postby johnthefireman » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:43 am

george matthews wrote:The attempt to make drivers solely responsible is unreasonable and would lead to greater dangers of error.


Precisely. And on a railway, safety is supposed to be a priority over cost-saving.
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