Train drivers call off proposed action

01 July 2005

The train driver’s union ASLEF announced this afternoon that it has suspended its call to drivers to refuse to take trains through areas covered by a contentious ‘Interim Voice Radio System’(IVRS) communications system. This would have affected a large part of the UK rail system.

The union’s acting General Secretary Keith Norman says the union is satisfied with the outcome as regards our immediate safety concerns, and has assurances about further discussions to comprehensively resolve the issue.

A meeting at the union’s headquarters involving ASLEF, the train operators and the Rail Safety and Standards Board came to a number of agreements over procedures in the event of a systems failure. 

If a failure occurs train operators must have a control wire available to send messages to train operators who can alert all drivers. Essentially drivers will have instant messaging advising them of potential problems.

The companies have withdrawn previous instructions about ‘working normally’ through systems failures, and agreed to a 40 miles per hour speed limit in areas with suspected IVRS problems.

There will be further talks in the near future about alert systems in general, and there is a commitment from train operators to introduce improved arrangements for safety in this area. 

Keith Norman says he regrets the concern the proposed action caused, but says, ‘I am convinced that it was necessary to protect not only our members but all the travelling public.’

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