Tube Union RMT today demanded a full investigation after it was revealed that the doors opened between stations on a packed Piccadilly Line train heading towards Heathrow on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, the driver was alerted to the fault by a signal in the cab and was able to bring the train to a halt and ensure the safety of all passengers. The seriousness of the incident is reinforced by the fact that a baby in a buggy was close to the door that partially opened at the time.
The incident, which happened late Sunday afternoon between Hounslow West and Hatton Cross, has led to union calls for a Full Investigation Report – a top level inquiry looking at all aspects of the incident and producing recommendations to prevent a repeat.
RMT says that the incident raises questions about the reliability of the aging fleet on the line which is now 40 years old and not due for replacement for another decade. It also rams home the challenges of maintaining aging fleet and infrastructure against a background of cuts to schedules and staffing, a point reinforced by the threatened cuts package currently being drawn up by tube bosses.
Finally, the incident, and the way it was handled by the driver in the cab, nails once and for all the nonsense of suggesting that the tube could run on a driverless basis. All stock, old and new, can be subject to malfunction and a driver in the cab is absolutely essential to delivering passenger safety.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“Sunday’s incident on the Piccadilly Line must serve as a wake-up call to tube bosses and Boris Johnson. Once again, it was the sharp and decisive action of the driver in the cab which prevented a possible disaster on a packed tube train travelling at speed. Anyone who continues to press for the policy of driverless operation should look at this incident and hang their heads in shame.
“Clearly , there now needs to be a formal and detailed investigation conducted at the highest level as this is not the first time our members have reported door malfunctions on the aging Piccadilly Line fleet.
“While staff are out there at the sharp end dealing professionally with these kinds of emergencies, TFL bosses are locked away with their accountants looking at more cuts which we know full well will compromise safety and risk lives. RMT is determined to stop them and incidents like the one on Sunday will be instrumental in shaping public opinion.”