Three Overground stations to be run without staff in 'breach of passenger safety pledge'

dick Murray
A London Overground train: Rex Features

Rail bosses are considering operating three London Overground stations without staff in a breach of earlier pledges, it was claimed today.

Under the plans, the mainline Overground sections of West Brompton, Highbury & Islington and Canada Water which interchange with the Tube would be left without staff. Staff could also be removed later from Blackhorse Road station.

Unstaffed stations provoked passenger and political fury after lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce was murdered at Kensal Green station — now part of London Overground — in 2006.

Donnel Carty, then 18 and Delano Brown, 17, who were jailed for life for murder, had earlier robbed a man at the unstaffed station.

Murdered: Tom ap Rhys Pryce, pictured with fiancée Adele Eastman, was attacked at the unmanned Kensal Green station in 2006

When TfL took over what are now London Overground routes from rail operator Silverlink in 2007, it pledged to provide “staff at every station at all times when services are running”.

The plan to run the stations without staff was revealed in detailed information from internal staff sources.

London Overground is operated by Arriva Rail London on behalf of TfL, which refused to confirm or deny the move. Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member and leader of the transport committee, said: “Having staff present at every London Overground station, from the first to last train, is central to its high level of service and success.

“The policy ensures the stations are safe and accessible for everyone, including disabled people who can use a ‘turn up and go’ service.

“If the Mayor really wants to ensure the London Overground model is extended, he should ensure its unique selling point is defended. Any ideas about ending the policy of all-day staffing at any London Overground stations should be categorically rejected.”

A spokesman for the pressure group Transportforall said: “TfL’s commitment to providing staff assistance at every station gives so many disabled and older people the chance to travel with freedom and independence. Any move away from this would be a hugely regressive step.”

In December, Ms Pidgeon asked the Mayor in an official question if staff would be retained at all four stations.

Mayor Sadiq Khan answered: “Yes. Staff will continue to support passengers at West Brompton, Highbury and Islington, Blackhorse Road and Canada Water London Overground stations from the first to the last train.”

However, Jonathan Fox, TfL’s director of London Rail, said: “We, along with Arriva Rail London, are currently assessing how to ensure appropriate staffing levels to deliver high-quality customer service at interchange stations where both London Overground and London Underground staff are present.

“These discussions are continuing and no decisions have been made.”

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes