Tube staff working on the Bakerloo line are set to strike next month in a row over what the Aslef union says is a safety issue.

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The issue is about how northbound trains are emptied when they terminate at Queen’s Park station before heading into the depot to be turned around to return to central London. Previously, there would be a couple of staff on the platform who check that the train is empty before the driver takes it into the depot.

Transport for London (TfL) now wants to stop that process, letting the driver take the train into the depot after telling everyone to depart the train.

The method is known internally as “flash and dash”, as in addition to the tannoy announcement in the train for everyone to get off, the driver flashes the carriage lights on and off as a visual warning before taking the train into the sidings.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said: “This puts both passengers and staff at risk. Previous experience had shown that removing physical checks means that thousands of passengers are unwittingly taken into sidings or depots.”

“We understand the pressure that London Underground is under to cut costs. But this cannot be at the expense of the safety of passengers and staff.”

ASLEF members will refuse to take trains into sidings or depots without checks at Queen’s Park, and if it’s not called off, Aslef members will walk out on Saturday 4th and Saturday 11th February.

The dates show a shift in behaviour, whereas strikes during the week now have less of an impact as more people can opt to work from home, whereas strikes at weekends are now hitting the days where the tube is pretty much back to pre-pandemic traffic.

The vote was 99% in favour of action short of a strike and 91% in favour of strike action, on a turnout of 81%.

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11 comments
  1. Keith says:

    Considering how old these trains are it’s not even as if they have cameras in the carriages which can somehow use AI to identify whether people are still present in the carriage. If/when the new Pic line trains are capable of this and get rolled out to the Bakerloo line then maybe there would be more of a case for removing those members of staff.

  2. John says:

    This sort of enforced inefficiency is precisely what makes public transport more expensive and less attractive to use.

    I’m all for decent pay, just don’t force inefficient and outdated practices on everyone!

    • R says:

      Is safety an outdated practice?plus again has nothing to do with pay

    • Simmonad says:

      Agreed. “Staff safety”? Seriously?

    • ChrisC says:

      Safety isn’t an outdated practice but some safety practices are outdated and don’t match the current situation and can actually be unsafe.

    • ASLEF shrugged says:

      “Flash-and-dash” was first abandoned in the 1990s after a passenger was carried into the sidings at Liverpool Street, tried to get off between the cars while the train was moving and was killed

      Management re-introduced “flash-and-dash” on the Bakerloo in 2012 but it was abandoned after a 12yo boy was carried into Queen’s Park sidings and managed to get down on the track

  3. Erbi says:

    I take the Bakerloo line on a daily basis to Queen’s Park and you would be surprised how many people are drunk or asleep, and need to be shaken to wake up. For once, I am with the strikers even if it will make my journey home hell.

  4. nickrl says:

    a northern line terminating at Kennington to spin round does the same practice with no staff on the platform although i guess you just end up on the Northbound platform.

  5. Andy S says:

    Absoulte stupid idea especially late at night when people fall asleep on trains all the time.

    The Bakerloo line trains don’t even have CCTV.

    • Van Empset says:

      And some people have medical conditions which might cause them to become unconscious, unable to respond to announcements or flashing of lights. If they are not helped to get medical attention, they might die.

  6. Mike Oxlong says:

    I’d pay extra to visit sidings.

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