Posted 19th May 2011 | 10 Comments

Goodbye to the Guard: McNulty wants 'default' DOO

SIR ROY McNULTY has told a news conference in London that the railways must reduce their costs by 30 per cent within the next eight years, so that they gain a sustainable 'licence to grow'. Sir Roy has quashed fears that the price of rail travel is set to soar, although he is recommending that the balance of peak and off peak charges is reviewed.

His wide-ranging study study into railway 'value for money' has taken fifteen months, and is highly detailed.

But at first glance there are some definite recommendations, including no line closures and no overall increase in fares.

He is warning that pay rises beyond the rate of inflation are not sustainable, and wants staffing to be reviewed. One 'default posiition' being recommended for all trains in Britain is driver-only operation. The report says: 'A second member of traincrew only being provided where there is a commercial, technical or other imperative.'

A new Rail Delivery Group is being set up to bring the industry together, and there will be supply chain improvements.

Sir Roy said: "There is no single silver bullet. Everyone needs to co-operate to bring down costs. Various global solutions were suggested during the course of our study. The trouble is they were different. But there must be better alignment between industry parties, and more devolved decision-making."

Other big changes on the way include trials of vertical reintegration. The most likely candidate at the moment is Anglia, with a target date of 2014.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Morrison, Villereal, France

    So how about Sir Roy's chauffeur, housekeeper et al. Is he going to do that all by himself? After all he'd save money, become economic, and he only has to come out with fatuous ideas like this one now and then. Piece of cake, really.

    A gift to Mr Crow.

  • G, Yorkshire, UK

    Lets see this moron in power thinks he can change the railway for the better but look at the draw backs.

    Is he going to tell the visually impaired, the wheelchair user and drunken how to get on and off the train? no that's right your in an office away from the real world.

    Is he going to check the revenue, because unlike the southerners the northern lot don't have 100% manned stations with barriers that would deter fare evasion, oops I guess that's a few million in the red

    Is he going to perform dispatch duties for larger trains bound for the capital or Scotland? oh well I guess when we see people hanging onto the side of the Mark 3s HST leaving stations we can say "if only Lord Numb Nuts was here he could save them!"

    Is he going to get his HI-VI on when the train is part of a disaster due to the poor maintenance of the track because he decided to reduce staffing levels to track repair? NO again well I guess our "famously safe compared to other modes of transport" as just started to become worse.

    And finally when the unsure passenger gets on the wrong train and ends up in a place they have never been before and are now stranded without anyone to help them on how to get back home will he come to the rescue? No he will be at home because that muppet will work 9-5 and not care about anyone around him.

    And then the unemployment figures get released and they show Britain as become a lot worse, gee I wonder why?

  • SPAD, the north east

    Nuts to McNulty..... don't hear him suggesting that all passenger flights should be pilot only do you, hope he's prepared to take the fall when there is a serious accident as a result of DOO..... how about we scrap HS2 and invest that 32BILLION back into the network.

  • Roy, Regional Railways, paying the price

    There seems to a complete lack of understanding from Roy. He wants to get rid of guards, platform staff and most ticket office staff (i've read this report).
    So what about TRANSEC, yes the industry body set up regarding security. Who are passengers to report things to, who is going to check trains, platforms and waiting areas? Who will put wheelchair bound passengers on and off. Who will give passengers guidence and information? Who can passengers inform drunks to? The list goes on.

  • H Harvey, Birmingham

    Total bonuses taken home by rail management in TOCS ROSCOS ORR DfT Network Rail would pay for a hellof a number of guards.
    There may however be a case for replacing with conductors
    of course conductors fail to collect fares more often than not
    but then this is because management do not support them violence etc.
    nor is it always possible to collect fares - overcrowded trains
    With no station staff barriers that no one wants and do not work
    fare avoidance would be rampant.

  • Lorentz, London

    Just catching up with the times. We now have tehcapability to start removing teh driver and should be looking at this as the next step.

  • Patrick, London, England

    Is McNulty having a late April Fool's joke? Is he seriously thinking trains should be DOO?! Not only will this be unsafe and unpopular but it will cost the railway companies a vast amount in lost revenue. In addition, this will cost £millions to implement. There must be thousands of stations which will now need to be equipped with DOO equipment, such as mirrors and monitors, which aren't cheap and will cause considerable disruption to install. And, it's not just the stations. There are many fleets of trains which will need work done to enable Driver-only operation (which again will cost £millions and disruption as trains have to be taken out of service for this work).

  • Steve Alston, Crewe

    Goodbye guard. Hello to stabbings, rapes, robberies, higher costs as revenue is not checked, and the rest. Logic from a man who has been involved with the railway for a matter of weeks. In modern speak.... "Fail".

  • Paul Reed, New Brighton, England

    They did this on the London Underground when I worked on it. I've never agreed with it, there are so many safety issues involved. The unions werent much help on this when we were fighting for our jobs. Now its the norm on there. Whats the price of safety, they dont care its money not safety that their interested in and they will do it. I know from experience.

  • Lee, Manchester, England

    If the guard is removed from trains, who does Sir Roy propose will sell tickets to passengers at unmanned stations? Has he considered that passengers will be able to travel between un-manned stations without paying fares both intentionally and unintenionally? How much money will this 'saving' actully save considering the potential for revenue loss? Even the ticket barriers at manned stations in Manchester are regulalry over-riden by a member of staff holding them open with their security pass to let consumers through with only a cursory glance at the ticket offered. This must be wide open to revenue fraud and associated losses. removing guards from trains will only increase the potential for fraud.