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Media Release: Toddler left stranded on driverless Metro – union warns more incidents will follow on New Intercity Fleet

Aug 27, 2019Update

After a toddler was carried away from his mother on an automated Sydney Metro train today, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW (RTBU) warns that the frightening incident will become the norm unless urgent action is taken to rectify a dangerous design flaw on imported trains.

A fault in the New Intercity Fleet trains being imported from South Korea means the guard cabin doors close at the same time as passenger doors, preventing guards from monitoring the platform to ensure all commuters have boarded safely.

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens says today’s unfortunate incident underlines the crucial role of train guards in ensuring commuter safety on the rail network, but insists it’s not too late to minimise the danger on the New Intercity Fleet.

“Today’s alarming incident on the Sydney Metro demonstrates exactly why automation needs to be moderated by human intervention,” said Mr Claassens. “The driverless Metro train had no staff to monitor the platform and hold the doors so that this woman could board safely with her young child.

“There is no doubt that more children will be torn from their parents by automated train doors in Sydney unless the NSW Government commits to ensuring the New Intercity Fleet arrives in Australia with a door mechanism that allows guards to do their job.

“The RTBU raised this obvious danger to commuter safety with the government as soon as we discovered the design of the new trains. However, the government has refused to confirm whether the new trains can be fixed.

“If the government won’t listen to us, I hope they will listen to Sydneysiders horrified at the thought of losing their child on our railways. Their safety must always take priority.”