Travel emergencies and safe evacuation after a fire on a Virgin train show once again the crucial role of the guard and other safety-critical staff threatened by McNulty Rail Review
RAIL UNION RMT said today that the weather-related travel chaos over the past 24 hours, and specifically the safe evacuation of a Virgin Voyager train after a fire, has once again demonstrated the safety-critical role of the guards and other groups of rail staff threatened with the axe by the McNulty Rail Review which has now been adopted in a Government Command Paper.
The floods, derailments and landslips that have hit services hard in the north and Scotland, including the Tyne and Wear Metro, are the most graphic recent demonstration of the kind of emergency situations that are thrown at rail and transport staff without any notice and which only skilled and trained staff in adequate numbers can safely deal with.
The 5.20pm Birmingham to Glasgow Virgin Trains service yesterday was forced to stop near Moffat, in Dumfries and Galloway, at about 10.20pm last night.
The fire was isolated to the front of the train, and all of the passengers were moved to the rear before an emergency evacuation took place under the direction of the train crew.
Passengers caught in the transport chaos have expressed their thanks to rail staff. Gerry Hassan tweeted: "15.5 hrs from London to Glasgow, flooding, landslides & fire.
"When we had to climb out of the train and leave all our bags (which we got back) I thought I have seen this disaster movie. Staff were v helpful & I have lots of new friends."
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“Once again rail and transport staff have been battling in atrocious conditions to get services running and to support passengers caught in this chaos and have shown their guts, skill and sheer commitment to keeping Britain moving.
“The safe fire evacuation in Dumfries and Galloway last night should serve as a warning to Sir Roy McNulty that his cash-led plans to throw the guards off the trains would put lives in immediate danger and those politicians supporting his proposals would be well advised to look at what has been happening over the past 24 hours and think again.”