Transport Scotland - Rolling Stock Specification

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ASLEF is pleased to have the opportunity to respond to this stakeholder consultation on future rolling stock for Scotland. ASLEF has consistently championed a stakeholder approach to the modification and procurement of rolling stock, with TOCs working together with train drivers to ensure cabs are safe and well-designed.

Transport Scotland Rolling Stock Specification Stakeholder Engagement - ASLEF Response

September 2020

  1. The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) is the UK’s largest train drivers’ union representing over 20,000 members in train operating companies and freight companies as well as London Underground and light rail systems, including approximately 2,000 members in Scotland.

  2. ASLEF is pleased to have the opportunity to respond to this stakeholder consultation on future rolling stock for Scotland. ASLEF has consistently championed a stakeholder approach to the modification and procurement of rolling stock, with TOCs working together with train drivers to ensure cabs are safe and well-designed. A comfortable driver is a safe driver.

  3. Regarding the question of trains with gangways at the cab ends, ASLEF is strongly against this design. The union would not accept any new train that has gangways at the cab ends as this makes cabs less safe for drivers both while driving and in the event of an emergency situation.

  4. The union does not take a particular view on furnishing and layouts of passenger saloons, beyond wishing to ensure that all materials used are rigorously tested and as safe as possible. ASLEF is aware that there have been projects in which the passenger saloons of legacy units were updated but the driving cabs were left in their original condition. As per the need for safe and well-designed cabs, it would not be acceptable to ASLEF for rolling stock to have updated passenger saloons without consideration being given to also updating the driving cab.

  5. ASLEF is also in support of the stated goal to make rail travel accessible to all. While a large amount of this work also involves the design of stations and platforms, the union agrees that on-train facilities for passengers are also a vital element of making services accessible. The union believes that making as many sets as possible fully accessible to all should be the aim. Where this is not feasible, the union would like to see engineers working with people with additional needs, and making sure provisions from widened gangways to disabled toilets are available on every service.

  6. Along with our policy as a union to encourage the use of public transport by as many people as possible, we would agree with the priority to provide additional facilities in order to continue to make train travel attractive to passengers. Facilities such as charging points, wifi and information screens are becoming a standard and ASLEF would encourage Transport Scotland to adopt these standards and look to the future to make sure as many accessible facilities as possible are available.

  7. Where air conditioning and heating is provided in the passenger saloon, ASLEF would also expect to see these elements being included in driving cabs, ideally with custom control available so that drivers can be comfortable in the cab and able to focus fully on their safety- critical job of driving.

  8. The union is encouraged by this collaborative approach to the specifications for new rolling stock and would be pleased to continue to be involved throughout the process of updating and procuring rolling stock. We have found that where train drivers are involved in the design of rolling stock - and particularly driving cabs - the process runs more smoothly and reaches the best possible outcomes.