Northern Line Incident 'Critical' As Trains Approach Each Other On Single Track Again

In the latest incident, which happened at 9.50 on Monday morning (22nd July), the driver was given a target speed and proceeded to depart Finchley Central from platform.

He was already in the process of stopping as he had seen another train heading towards him from Mill Hill East as the Line Control emergency call to stop came through.

The driver was forced to carry out a wrong directional move back to Finchley Central to allow the train from Mill Hill East to continue to Finchley Central, an emergency preventative move that could only be carried out by a driver up-front in the cab.

Platform 1 can only be used for trains to Mill Hill East making a nonsense of claims from LU on the previous incident that the train had not been routed onto the single track, on this occasion it was the only place it could go. London Underground’s own daily review report describes the incident as “critical” leaving them little room to mobilise one of their regular cover-ups.

"RMT will not allow tube chiefs to sweep these serious incidents under the carpet and we are demanding a full investigation by the regulator" - Bob Crow

This action replay of the previous incident reinforces RMT’s claims that a cuts and targets led culture on London Underground is compromising safety and which also exposes the lethal nonsense of driverless operation.

In the first similarly shocking incident on Monday 8th July a train out of Finchley Central was given a target speed to proceed out of the station and after approximately 2 train lengths was asked to apply an emergency brake.

Upon doing this the train operator became aware of a train approaching from Mill Hill which is a single track line. The driver was forced to take emergency action and to reverse and move back to Finchley Central, avoiding a potential head on collision with the train heading south on the same section of track. Both trains were in service and carrying passengers and it was only due to the swift action of the driver that a potentially fatal head on collision was avoided.

RMT has raised the issue of safety on the Northern Line directly with London Underground demanding answers to a range of questions, specifically how two trains could end up routed onto the same section of track into a potential collision environment on two separate occasions just two weeks apart, and calling for a full safety investigation by the rail regulator, the ORR.

So far, London Underground have chosen to ignore the seriousness of both events, attempting to play them down and making a mockery of the stated commitment to staff and passenger safety.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“Nothing exposes the lethal gamble of driverless tube operation better than the two incidents in a fortnight on the Mill Hill line. If it hadn’t been for the swift and decisive action of Northern Line drivers on both occasions we could have had head-on collisions on our hands with fatal consequences. RMT will not allow tube chiefs to sweep these serious incidents under the carpet and we are demanding a full investigation by the regulator to establish just how two tube trains ended up routed onto a single section of track travelling towards each other in two separate incidents in a fortnight.

“With massive cuts in the pipeline under the Government spending review allocations to TFL, RMT is stepping up the safety fight. This union will not allow tube safety to be compromised by a cavalier management that choose to ignore the warnings and questions raised by our safety reps.”

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