Alpha, bravo makes Dutch railways unsafe

The Dutch railways are likely to become more dangerous with the introduction of a new communication alphabet, supervisors at track operator ProRail say in a letter to management.

The letter, which the Volkskrant has obtained, says the introduction of the Nato phonetic alphabet is creating confusion between track supervisors and train drivers.

Workers are no longer allowed to say ‘platform 14B’, but must spell it out as ‘platform one four bravo’. This leads to pronounciation mistakes, unnecessarily long conversations and unsafe situations, the letter writers say.


Another criticism is that everything said must be ended with the word ‘over’. ‘Absolutely exhausting, and it distracts from what is actually being said,’ a train driver told the Volkskrant.

ProRail and train operator NS say the new, unambiguous communication system makes the railways safer. By using it, they are following European guidelines, they told the paper.



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