The Anonymous Widower

Now ASLEF Joins In!

I take the headline from this article on Rail News, which is entitled Southern dispute: now ASLEF joins in.

This Southern dispute and the related one in Scotland, appear that they may continue until 2017 at least.

I used to travel up to London in the 1990s with a driver-supervisor on the Central Line. We would discuss various technical subjects and the questions of efficient operation of trains and driver only operation came up.

Nothing he said, ever gave me any hint that driver only operation was anything but totally safe, if you have good communication with those on the platform. In fact, he did give the impression, that when problems did occur, it was because communication between driver and platform staff failed. I can remember him saying that with trainees, he always impressed on them, the dangers of not checking properly before starting when platforms are long and curved, as at Bank.

My view as someone, who has seen a lot of industrial automation at work in factories and industrial plants, is that the safest way to drive a train, is let the computer do the driving and the train driver should monitor what is happening.

Effectively, that is what has happened on the Victoria Line since 1967.

It’s about time that the UK’s trains joined the twentieth century, instead of clinging to the nineteenth.

August 4, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. When was the last time you got in a lift with an operator?

    OK so the Duchess of Argyll fell down a lift shaft in 1943, but by and large they seem to operate without hitting the buffers, running away, stopping / opening the doors in the wrong places or while moving.

    Comment by Mark Clayton | August 4, 2016 | Reply

  2. When I went over the new Crossrail station at Canary Wharf during Open House in 2013.

    Before that it must have been Harrods in the 1960s.

    Could there be more trouble on Crossrail, as the trains will turn round automatically, without a driver in the cab?

    By the way, where are you on Oct 15th. I shall be passing through Piccadilly on the way to Blackburn to see Ipswich.

    Comment by AnonW | August 4, 2016 | Reply

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