Letter: Transport of delight

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I should like to reassure your readers that the recently reported incidents of Networker trains becoming divided (report, 17 August) present no danger to customers since the trains' braking systems, as well as the signalling, are designed to "fail-safe" and provide complete protection in these circumstances.

In the event of a train becoming divided, the continuous brake brings both portions to a stop and the train is protected fully by the signalling system while standing on the line.

The incident to which Dr Tarrant refers (letter, 20 August), in which the driver continued with the front portion of a train, involved a train which had developed a fault and from which passengers had been detrained. After becoming divided, both parts of the train were brought to a halt under complete protection of the signalling system. There is no possibility of detached coaches continuing and coming into collision with the front portion.

Although safety is in no way compromised, incidents of train division may cause disruption to services, and we are in discussion with the owners and manufacturers of the trains to improve reliability of the couplers. In the meantime, our staff are making extra checks to ensure that trains are properly coupled.


Managing Director, Connex

London SE1