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Rail workers have raised safety concerns on the New Intercity Fleet of trains after it was revealed emergency alert buttons on the fleet wouldn’t patch passengers through to the driver or guard on the train.
Instead, commuters on the trains — currently being tested at night on the Richmond line — will be contacting a call centre tasked with managing 55 new trains, 550 carriages, and announcements across the network.
The change to how emergency systems operate comes as new crime statistic data revealed a whopping 962 incidents of assaults on trains were recorded during 2019, in the first three months of this year alone, 277 people were assaulted on our rail network. While incidents of sexual and indecent assaults reached 358 cases in 2019.
Some of the new carriages for the intercity trains are unloaded in Newcastle.The new fleet of trains will run on intercity lines linking Newcastle, Mt Victoria, Lithgow, Gosford and Wollongong to Central Sydney.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman confirmed help buttons on the train will direct commuters to a “co-ordination centre located within the Rail Operations Centre at Green Square”.
“The New Intercity Fleet has enhanced safety features including eight internal and four external CCTV cameras per carriage, linked to a dedicated co-ordination centre,” she said.
“A Customer Service Coordinator will be the first point of contact for on-board customers — as part of their role they will provide real-time support taking calls via on-board help points, monitor customer conditions on our network via CCTV, and provide information to customers, drivers and crew including on-board announcements.”
The spokeswoman said the CCTV meant guards didn’t have to lean out of the door of the train to inspect the platform.
“These cameras allow drivers and guards to easily monitor the entire length of the train, even on curved platforms and in bad weather,”she said.
“This provides a more contemporary method for monitoring train platforms which is used around the world.
“The trains are also equipped with Automatic Selective Door Operation, which ensures only the customer doors adjacent to a platform can open and sensitive door edge technology which reopens doors when it detects an obstruction. Traction interlocking on doors also stops the train from moving while the door is open.”
Alex Claassens, NSW Secretary and National Executive Member of the RTBU said members are fearing for commuters on the new trains.However, rail union boss, Alex Claassens, said the South Korean-built trains are designed as “driver-only”, with the proposed operating model removing safety responsibilities from the guard and placing them on the driver.
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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