Tube incident ‘highlights need for drivers’

01 March 2012

An incident on the Jubilee line on Sunday evening has underlined how the Mayor of London’s obsession with driverless trains is ‘irresponsible, callous and opportunist’ according to ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan.

On Sunday evening a child about five years old fell between the train and the platform at Finchley Road as he ran to try to board a train that was ready to depart. All the train-borne safety devices in place showed the platform was clear and it was safe for the tube train to depart. But the driver, on a final visual safety check saw a tiny hand reaching up from the track. The train remained in position and a young life was saved.

‘The Mayor has been playing politics with the issue of driverless trains,’ Mick says. ‘He thinks he is currying favour with voters with this stand. How many votes are a young child’s life worth? How would he explain to those watching horrified parents that his proposal is a good one?’

‘On Sunday all the train-borne safety devices showed the platform was clear. Only a driver could have averted a potential tragedy.

‘Boris Johnson is wrong to continue to push his policy for driverless tube trains when it can threaten the lives of London’s travelling public. I want him to accept that it is a mistake.

‘Anyone can make an error, but only an irresponsible person will persist with it.’

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