Terrifying near miss on London tube’s Northern Line on Monday evening

On Monday evening, 8th July, a London Underground train out of Finchley Central on the Northern Line was given a target speed to proceed out of the station – and after approximately 2 train lengths was asked to apply an emergency brake.

Upon taking this action, the train operator became aware of a train approaching from Mill Hill – which is a single track line.

The driver was forced to take emergency action – to reverse and move back to Finchley Central, avoiding a potential head on collision with the train heading south on the same section of track.

Both trains were in service and carrying passengers and it was only due to the swift action of the driver that a potentially fatal head on collision was avoided.

This terrifying near miss has led to the RMT Union asking for answers from London Transport to its allegations that massive breaches of safety enabled this near miss, claiming that a ‘cuts and targets led culture’ on London Underground is compromising safety, exposing what the RMT describe as ‘the lethal nonsense of driverless operation’.

This indicates the possibility that the train coming form Mill Hill was a driverless service.

RMT has raised the issue directly with London Underground demanding answers to a range of questions, specifically how two trains could end up routed onto the same section of track into a potential collision environment and calling for a full safety investigation by the rail regulator, the ORR.

So far, London Underground are playing down the incident, which, given the potential catastrophic consequences of an underground collision, demonstrates a questionable set of priorities.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow says: ‘Nothing exposes the lethal gamble of driverless tube operation better than the incident on the Mill Hill line on Monday night.

‘If it hadn’t been for the swift and decisive action of a Northern Line driver we could have had a head-on collision on our hands with fatal consequences.

‘RMT will not allow tube chiefs to sweep this serious incident under the carpet and we are demanding a full investigation by the regulator to establish just how two tube trains ended up routed onto a single section of track travelling towards each other.

‘With massive cuts in the pipeline under the Government spending review allocations to TFL, RMT is stepping up the safety fight. This union will not allow tube safety to be compromised by a cavalier management that choose to ignore the warnings and questions raised by our safety reps.’

The fact that this incident is a hostage to union position-taking should not discount its seriousness.

Had matters turned out differently – with, say, the Finchly Central driver not having enough time to reverse or not having sufficient presence of mind to do so, there would be no issue here of union opportunism, only of national shock, personal grieving and governmental intervention.

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13 Responses to Terrifying near miss on London tube’s Northern Line on Monday evening

    • You seem to believe that Argyll people don’t travel and are irretrievably parochial – for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

      • Oh come on Newsie, that’s a poor defence of Iain’s point.
        Of course Argyll people travel and not just commuting to London.
        Next time a Boeing has to make an emergency landing at Gatwick or an overloaded Indonesian ferry capsizes are we going to get the full story on here as we Scots travel further afield than the worlds epicentre, London.
        This does seem like a strange choice of travel news to feature although I will admit the cuts issue is relevant.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        • Maybe the MVA Consultant’s report is suggesting, as an outside option, extending the Northern Line Mill Hill branch up HS2 etc to a tunnel from Gourock to Dunoon. Unlikely to satisfy DFAG.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  1. Steady on, Newsroom! I’m away to London next month and I’ll be travelling on the Tube, but I still don’t expect an incident on the Northern line to feature in ‘For Argyll’ any more than I’d expect the landslip warnings on the Rest and be Thankful to appear on the TfL website.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • yes it’s very strange for local London news of a near miss to appear on here, a site called ForArgyll — I read it expecting there to be some reference to Argyll’s MP or perhaps an SNP MP or MSP to make story even vaguely relevant but no!
      What next … delays on M25? roadworks in Bristol?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. I still have friends who live/work in London and as a former tube user myself, this incident is very worrying.

    However, what’s more worrying is that there has been virtually no mention in FA about the approaching deadline (19th July) for submissions to Highland Council about the horrendous proposed fare increases on Corran Ferry – Dunoon would be screaming in agony if they were facing them.

    Corran just doesn’t contribute to lives in Ardnamurchan and Morvern (don’t let’s forget the historical links with Argyll) but impacts on Lorn and Mull and these areas are still part of Argyll! Have people forgotten the ferries review when many people on Mull fought hard to correct the rubbish put out by civil servants about the Fishnish-Lochaline ferry. Corran is an integral part of links for those heading north or getting goods from the north; it’s a vital link not just for the locals but for tourists and those of us who object to being forced to use Oban.

    So let’s have local transport news, please or is London more important than Argyll?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  3. Strange no mention that senior Danish politicians have indicated that Scotland’s acceptance to NATO and EU will be automatic. Watch out Newsie you may get tarred with the same brush and lack of credibility as the BBC

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Isn’t the truth closer to that one politician has said that whilst the other two have said that Denmark would support the application (which is clearly something different).

      Personally I think Scotland would be accepted in (and see no reason why they shouldn’t be if they wanted to be) but one Danish poltiican’s claim is no more credible than any counter claim.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. Is it perhaps time for us to have thumbs up/down for news stories? Or is this going too far?
    Perhaps 3 thumbs – Like, Dislike, Irrelevant (to the reviewer)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

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