Union says last week’s Bakerloo near-miss shows the importance of having drivers on trains
The RMT today demands an independent investigation into cuts on the Tube after fears of a safety cover-up following last week’s incident on the Bakerloo Line.
The union says photographic evidence suggests the train that hit the buckled lining in Thursday morning’s rush hour came within inches of being ripped open like a sardine can with potentially lethal consequences.
And it has accused London Underground chiefs of breathtaking complacency for trying to play down the seriousness of the incident, pointing to political pressure to cover up safety failures in the run up to the Olympics and the fact that the Bakerloo Line is the service that Boris Johnson intends to switch first to driverless operation despite the fact that it was a driver who sounded the alarm on Thursday morning potentially saving lives.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “It is grossly irresponsible for London Underground to make politically and financially motivated statements about the seriousness of Thursday’s incident as it is clear from the pictures that if the buckled tunnel lining had moved another few inches it could have ripped open the train that hit it like a tin can with potentially lethal consequences.
“It was pure luck that the train lights hit the serious tunnel defect and the damage to the train roof shows just how close we came to a disaster, we will not accept a tube safety regime that relies on luck and an ad-hoc emergency response unit cobbled together ill-equipped and ill-trained during the Tube Lines strike. The case for an independent investigation into the real impact of staffing and maintenance cuts is overwhelming.
“We do not believe that it is a coincidence that the senior management tried to play this incident down on the line where Boris Johnson plans to bulldoze through driverless operation within the next few years. It was a driver who sounded the alarm on this serious incident once again proving the safety critical significance of the role they play as the networks eyes and ears down the tunnels.
“RMT is monitoring the safety situation across the tube system in light of the recent heavy rain and the impact of staffing and maintenance cuts and we are also compiling evidence of safety breaches during last weeks Tube Lines strike action. The travelling public have a right to know the truth.”
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