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Rail employees have serious concerns about the safety of passengers under options being considered by the state government to operate guard-less trains in its new intercity fleet train rollout from next year.
Alex Claassens, NSW branch secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union met rail employees in Springwood on July 5, and others in Lithgow and Wollongong earlier in the week.
He said there was a great deal of concern for the safety of passengers, particularly those with a disability if a guard was not present.
Mr Claassens had been told stories of guards regularly assisting people with disabilities on the train, who would be left to fend for themselves without a guard. And for the wheelchair-bound there would be no-one to get the ramp out at unattended stations.
He said others had talked of anti-social behaviour on trains where passengers would have less security without a guard present and long delays until police arrived.
“People want to feel secure on their journey,” Mr Claassens said.
“They want to be comfortable and they want to be safe.”
The new trains being built in South Korea and to be running on the Blue Mountains line by mid-2020, will have fixed seats, which has copped a lot of criticism on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance believes the nay-sayers will be “proven wrong” because the fixed seats allow people to benefit from features such as tray tables and charge points.
Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle also attended the meeting with Mr Claassens and said the public was always telling her how much they wanted guards on trains.
“I would like to see what all the options are, but first and foremost we shouldn’t be removing train guards,” she said.
A response is being sought from Transport for NSW.
This article first appeared on www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au
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