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Thursday, July 19, 2012

TfL deny "driverless Tube" trials

A number of publications reported about a leaked document which claims TfL are testing driverless trains on the Jubilee Line in overnight trials.  The Evening Standard was one & said "Two Jubilee trains will be converted and run between Stratford and Waterloo stations. Initial testing will take place at night without passengers. If successful, then driverless operation across the entire line, used by 650,000 passengers a day, could begin from 2015."  However TfL have denied that tests are taking place.

TfL denies driverless rain trials

With a slightly confused headline (rain trial???) the BBC spoke to Gareth Powell, London Underground's director of strategy, who said: "Given the technology now available it is very unlikely that London Underground will ever again buy a fleet of trains with conventional drivers' cabs. 


"Safety will always be our top priority and we have made no secret that from the 2020s new trains could operate on the Tube without the need for traditional drivers."

The document was leaked by the RMT whose leader Bob Crow said  "This is Boris Johnson's driverless and de-staffed plan for the future of the Tube and it is a lethal combination of cash-led cuts and ignorance that would leave Londoner's riding a daily death trap.  The proposals seek to rip up every safety rule in the book - having the trains run by remote control from signal boxes."
Unsurprisingly it wasn't long before he threatened strike action "RMT is demanding cast-iron assurances that this whole poisonous cocktail of proposals has been dumped for good and we will have no hesitation in taking the action required to stop this."

A number of Conservatives have been lobbying for driverless trains for some time and Tory Transport spokesman Richard Tracey called Bob Crow's comments an "alarmist rant", saying: "Driverless trains are a fact in 25 cities around the world and are perfectly safe

LU's Gareth Powell stressed that consultation with staff would always take place before driverless trains were introduced: "We will always consult with staff on any changes and, because of the timescales needed to develop and introduce new trains and to phase out older fleets, we will continue to need drivers well beyond the point when driverless operation could come into effect."

By the way, in case I've misunderstood the BBC's headline and they did mean "rain" -  if Tube drivers can do anything to put a halt to the rain I'd welcome these trials.

Related posts
Tube Driver saves fallen Child as Arguments for Driverless Trains continue
Tube MD hits back at Driverless Train Job Loss Figures
RMT in a stew over Driverless Tube Trains by 2021



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