Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rail Strike Boss off to Work by Car; HIS REGULAR RIDE IS A DRIVER-ONLY TRAIN THE SERVICE HE SAYS IS UNSAFE FOR PUBLIC Fall in 'Signals Passed at Danger' since Driver-Only Trains

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rail Strike Boss off to Work by Car; HIS REGULAR RIDE IS A DRIVER-ONLY TRAIN THE SERVICE HE SAYS IS UNSAFE FOR PUBLIC Fall in 'Signals Passed at Danger' since Driver-Only Trains

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy and John Dunne EXCLUSIVE

End commuters' suffering London is sick of it EDITORIAL COMMENT PAGE 14 THE union boss bringing strike chaos to London climbs into a car to be driven to work in comfort.

But the Standard can reveal that Aslef 's general secretary Mick Whelan more regularly rides to his office on trains where drivers open and close the doors the very system he condemns as too unsafe for long-suffering Southern passengers.

Moreover, figures released under Freedom of Information rules show a fall in dangerous incidents since driver-only operated trains were introduced on key lines of London Overground, the network that Mr Whelan uses to get about the capital. The disclosures raise new question marks today over Aslef's claim that safety fears over driver-only trains are behind the Southern strikes that will halt services for 300,000 people next week and cause road gridlock and delays for many others.

Yesterday the independent rail safety watchdog approved Southern's driver-only services as safe for passengers and rail staff.

With the RMT union planning a Tube strike on Sunday night and all day Monday, the capital faces a week of havoc unless the two unions call off the actions. Business groups estimated the cost to London as tens of millions of pounds. Thousands of passengers have protested on social media that they will lose pay and family time.

Mr Whelan yesterday rode to Paddington from his PS500,000 Wembley home at 6.40am in the passenger seat of his silver Nissan Juke hatchback, driven by his wife Lorraine.

Asked if he was enjoying his relatively smooth Continued on Pages 4 & 5 Continued from Page 1 commute, he said: "I do not even drive. I support the public transport system, which we want to make greener. I use the same overcrowded trains as everyone else."

He told the Standard: "My usual journey is from Wembley Central on the London Overground train to Euston." But he continued to insist the strikes are about safety not cash. …

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