Cross Track Projection (XTP) Fiasco

From 'RMT On The Trains' newsletter, August 2008

Members may have already heard of Cross Track Projection or XTP as they like to call it. If you haven’t, you will soon. These are the large projector screens that have been installed, firstly on the Victoria Line, and now on the Bakerloo Line. They will be coming to a location near you soon.

The first we heard of LU’s intention to place these large screens and projectors on our stations was at a presentation given to the Trains health and Safety Council almost 18 months ago. The concerns we raised at the time were that we felt these screens with projected images might be a distraction to a driver entering the platform; the Platform Train Interface (PTI) is widely regarded as the highest risk area of the job. Your safety reps also had concerns about the SPAD risk these distractions might cause. Our only other concern was where these screens would be placed; we made it clear that access/egress points to the platform would be unacceptable as crowding near entry/exit points would offer an additional risk to drivers, station staff and passengers alike. Our concerns were alleviated when we were told that the projector would stop screening as the train approached the platform and would not come back on until after the train had departed. We were also given assurances about the positioning of screens.

You won’t be surprised to hear that LU has managed to renege on every assurance given! On the Bakerloo Line, at first, the projector would stay on until the train was well inside the platform, and would only go off when the train was 15 metres from the screen. Many drivers complained about distraction so an emergency safety meeting was called. We were informed at the meeting that, due to the curvature of the platform, this was the best they could do. Despite calls for the projections to be turned off until a solution could be found, our concerns were ignored. It got even worse: sometimes the thing stays on the whole time, as the train enters the platform, sits at the platform and departs. They even positioned them next to platform exits!

We have been told that commands have come from the highest level of LU to keep the screens working. A classic example of profit before safety. Your safety council reps have passed this matter to RMT Head Office to deal with as a matter of urgency. Remember, when they come to your line, don’t believe a word they say!