Runaway train: Money before safety

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Wed, 08/12/2010 - 18:18,

In a leaked memo, TfL has admitted that a series of 'flaws' led to the potentially-fatal runaway train incident in August. No shit Sherlock.

Here's how it happened, apparently. In the small hours of the morning of Friday 13 August, a rail grinding unit broke down at Archway station. An empty passenger train went to pick it up and was connected to it with an emergency coupler and headed north.

But the coupled trains went a little too fast, the emergency brake system kicked in and the force broke the coupling and the grinding unit rolled back south. On its downhill roll, it reached 32mph and got within 500m and 49 seconds of a passenger train.

The leaked report admits that people could have been injured or killed. Probably only the swift and professional actions of LU staff saved the day. What's the chance of the company remembering that when it comes to cutting jobs?!

The very same rail grinding unit had broken down a month earlier at West Hampstead, begging the question as to why it was still in service. Why? Because of 'flawed emergency coupler design' and a 'flawed approvals processes for the emergency plan'. So who will be help accountable for that, we wonder?!

Even more revealing, the report points the finger at 'time pressure for service resumption affecting decision making'. Tube workers have long known that companies cut corners in their determination to clock up the train miles and avoid 'abatements' (fines) for delays. Now we have that admitted in writing.

The problem: Profit before safety.

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