THE RMT union’s National Executive Committee has accepted Great Western Railway’s latest offer detailing the operational procedures proposed for the new Inter-city Express (IEP) trains due to start entering service in October. Essentially, this will see the status quo maintained.
Driver-only operation (Passenger) is established procedure on GWR’s Thames Valley suburban services and will continue. It will apply to the Hitachi Class 800 and 802 IEP sets being introduced on the Paddington to Didcot/ Oxford/Banbury and Paddington/ Reading to Bedwyn routes, plus the new Class 387 EMUs.
On the high-speed and West of England service groups, currently operated by HSTs, the drivers of IEPs will release the doors, with the guard responsible for closing them using the control panels in the vestibule area. While the driver will carry out a secondary check of the side of the train before departure using the in-cab television monitors, the guard will remain responsible for door closure and the safe dispatch of the train.
GWR is introducing shortened ‘2+4’ HSTs on services in the West Country to cover for a shortage of DMUs after delays to the planned cascade. On these, which are being retrofitted with power-operated sliding doors, the guard will be responsible for the door open and close procedure. Operation of slam door full length HSTs will continue as at present until the fleet is withdrawn and replaced by IEPs.
Due to the deferred electrification of the Oxford route, IEPs will replace the Class 387 EMUs planned for these services. Trains terminating at Oxford will be DOO (P), while those running onto the Cotswold line will have a guard throughout. GWR notes this is a considerable improvement from the current position, as some services to the Cotswolds currently run without a guard between Paddington and Oxford. Roger Ford