Anger over NS plan to remove conductor whistle
The board of rail company NS plans on removing the warning whistle of the conductor, which is blown to warn travelers the train is about to depart, and wants the driver to take over the job by watching the train doors with video cameras. The union for NS-employees, VVMC and the worker’s union FNV Spoor do not agree with this decision.
The NS thinks that by removing the train conductor from the equation, trains will be more punctual, gaining time that will be valuable in running trains closer together. The sprinter to Schiphol is planned to depart every six to nine minutes starting in 2023, for example.
For now, the NS is only considering this option for the sprinters between Amsterdam Centraal and Schiphol, but some see this as the beginning of the end for the train conductor’s job altogether. “The train conductor as we know him is vanishing. It's time to let the alarm bells ring,” Wim Eilert, president of the VVMC, told Trouw
According to trade union FNV, removing the train conductor poses an increased risk of a train missing a red signal or even dragging along a passenger. “What happens when someone gets caught in a closing door? Every driver knows that technology becomes aware of this much later than a person”, Henri Janssen of the trade union said.
The NS does not share the concerns of the unions. The rail company assured that safety will not be compromised and that train conductors will be able to still perform their job. “It is not necessary to save time on other routes”, said an NS spokesperson.
NS is moving ahead with its plans, but not without push back from the unions. “FNV Spoor will try to prevent this by all legal means”, said Janssen.