DOO ‘by stealth?’
Paul Clifton states both in print ( RAIL 857) and in his BBC South
Today broadcasts that trains operating through Bournemouth to Weymouth cannot operate under Driver Only Operation (DOO) conditions, as they are not fitted with the necessary equipment.
While he is correct that there are no in-cab CCTV monitors (or body-side cameras), Desiro Class 444/450 trains have been equipped with door controls on the Driver’s desk since the trains were built in the early 2000s, although they have never been activated.
However, both Southern and previously Gatwick Express operate a variety of DOO/DCO, by utilising station staff in the train dispatch procedure. Additionally, other companies use CD/RA equipment operated by station staff and linked to signalling equipment to dispatch trains. While many stations west of Southampton wouldn’t be suitable, primary stations on the route from London to Weymouth could be affected.
While new Class 701 trains being built for metro services may be the early focus of South Western Railway plans, by refusing to ‘guarantee’ a second safety-critical member of staff on every passenger service and replacing it with terms such as ‘plan’, ‘normally’ or ‘guarantee to roster’, all SWR passenger services are involved.
The implication may be that the current dispute does not concern Guards based at South Coast depots. But they are very much involved, and they have resorted to industrial action as a last resort to protect the safety and travelling experience for all passengers who wish to travel, and on every passenger train operating.