Mode Rail
Reference No. RR201500003
Date reported 13 January 2015
Concern title An operator not removing a train driver suspected of possessing drugs immediately
Concern summary

The concern related to an occasion when a suspicious substance was located in a driver’s compartment and the driver was not removed from his position immediately to ensure that the public were not put at risk.

Industry / Operation affected Rail: Passenger - metropolitan
Concern subject type Rail: Operations

Reporter's concern

The reporter advised that after a suspicious substance was found in a driver’s compartment, instead of the train being stopped immediately and the driver removed from service, it was allowed to continue to [location] Station before the driver was removed to be drug and alcohol tested.

Reporter comment: This is not the first time a decision putting performance ahead of safety has been made. Clearly the tone of decision making has been set and it is imperative that this is changed.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

I refer to your REPCON report regarding allegations that we:

  • Allowed a train to continue to [location 1] station after a suspicious substance was found in a driver's compartment; and that
  • This is not the first time a decision putting performance ahead of safety has been made.

I cannot respond to the second issue raised due to the lack of any detail in the allegation.

In response to the first issue I can advise the following:

  • The first call to network control came when the train was between [location 2] and [location 3] travelling towards [location 1] on the up Local line.
  • A substance was found in the driver's cab, it was suspicious, however not yet identified.
  • There was no definite known owner of the substance; however it was suspected that it could belong to the current driver.
  • Immediate arrangements were made to have the driver checked at first opportunity; this was at [location] station.
  • The Duty Manager (OM) at [location] checked the driver for any obvious signs of being under the influence. Following this assessment the OM advised network control that the driver was okay to continue.
  • The train was routed to a platform where it could stand at [location] whilst the situation was investigated.
  • All arrangements were made for driver's relief, an Incident Response Commander and Crew Shift Manager to attend and investigate the matter on arrival at [location]. The driver was drug tested at [location] Station, with the results being negative.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has reviewed the report, and we are satisfied with the response supplied by the operator.

In reviewing the response supplied by the operator, the ONRSR is of the belief that the operator responded in a manner that was reasonable.

We note the concerns raised by the reporter and the ONRSR will consider the content of the report for further planning of compliance activities within upcoming audits and inspections.

Last update 19 March 2015