Plans to axe guards and conductors from North East trains

Axing guards and conductors from rail services in the North of England could make passengers less safe, MPs have warned.

And they urged the region’s new rail authority, formed by local councils, to pressure the Government to reverse plans to run trains with no staff on board except the driver.

MPs from across the North East issued the plea in an official House of Commons motion.

They criticised proposals to make do without guards or conductors on the Northern Rail and Transpennine Express franchises.

A draft franchise agreement drawn up by the Department for Transport makes it clear that the new franchise, coming into effect in April 2016, will include trains without guards or conductors.

It states that “at least 50%” of services should be run as what is called a “Driver Controlled Operation”.

This means “operation of a train by a driver alone without the need for a conductor (or any other franchise employee).”

But the decision has been condemned by MPs who signed a motion warning it would mean passengers found it harder to get help or travel advice when they needed it, and would also be less safe on trains.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and Easington MP Grahame Morris joined colleagues including some MPs from the North West to protest against the changes.

Full story :  http://northstar.boards.net/thread/106/plans-guards-conductors-north-trains

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