‘Sec­ond per­son’ needed

Rail (UK) - - Open Access -

As a reg­u­lar pas­sen­ger (not cus­tomer) on South West Trains, I have al­ways been glad that SWT has com­mit­ted to hav­ing a guard on ev­ery train. If there is a prob­lem and you need to con­tact the guard, then he or she can al­ways be found on the plat­form at ev­ery sta­tion stop prior to clos­ing the doors.

I am very con­cerned, there­fore, to learn that South West­ern Rail­way will not com­mit to hav­ing a guard on ev­ery train - merely a ‘sec­ond per­son’. Un­like SWT, this does not guar­an­tee that the ‘sec­ond per­son’ could be found should the need arise.

Surely a sim­ple com­pro­mise is avail­able. When the train stops at a sta­tion, the driver - who knows the train has stopped in the cor­rect place - OPENS the doors. The guard - who would be out on the plat­form to check that pas­sen­gers have all boarded and that the train is clear to pro­ceed - then CLOSES the doors.

The odd thing is... last time I trav­elled on a (First) Great West­ern Rail­way lo­cal train, I be­lieve the driver did open the doors and then the guard closed them. If I am right, why can’t this process also hap­pen on (First) South West­ern? Martin James, Egham

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