Track beds at Carlisle station like 'open sewers', claims union chief
Last updated at 11:57, Monday, 12 August 2013
Parts of Carlisle Railway Station have been labelled “open sewers” and so badly contaminated that rail workers have had to destroy protective clothing.
A union has raised serious concerns that the track beds in three of the station’s platforms have become so badly polluted by human waste and oil that it is unsafe for people to work on them.
Craig Johnston, the city-based regional organiser for the RMT, told the News & Star: “We’ve got a problem. They’re turning into open sewers.”
Station managers have been made aware of the concerns, which they say are due to be examined this week, and say action will be taken if problems are found.
Concerns centre on platforms two, five and six.
They are understood to be caused by toilets on-board some trains being flushed while they are stopped at the station, with the waste being emptied on to the tracks.
Problems are not connected to the massive Virgin Pendolino trains that run through the station on the West Coast Mainline. Toilet waste on those is stored in special on-board tanks which are taken for disposal.
They are instead on platforms used by smaller trains such as those operated by Northern Rail on the routes between Carlisle and the north east and the Cumbrian coast.
Contamination concerns have been raised because station staff have to go on to the track to fill water tanks on the trains – and Carlisle is the only place in the area where this can be done.
But such are the worries that Network Rail track cleaners are understood to have refused at times to go on to them to pick up litter.
Northern Rail management are also believed to have been advised about the issue and the potential risks for their staff going on to the track beds and have issued advice.
The RMT has written to Virgin Trains, which manages the station, calling for action to decontaminate the track beds concerned. The union’s health and safety team has also been informed.
Mr Johnston said: “I am expressing serious concerns to Virgin about my members who have to go down there to water up the trains.
“I realise there are logistical problems in terms of who’s going to water the trains because there’s nowhere else to do it. There are no other places for the trains to take on water, other than in the north east.
“I’ve heard of staff who have been on the track bed who have had to destroy their personal protective clothing after being down there.
“Virgin Trains have staff doing down there who are coming back up and dealing with the public.”
Some of the smaller trains which run in and out of Carlisle are thought to have mechanisms fitted that stop toilets being flushed while they are in the station.
A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “We recognise concerns have been raised.
“An assessment had already been scheduled for this week.
“If necessary, we will then ask Network Rail, which is responsible for cleaning the track, to take further action.”
First published at 11:32, Monday, 12 August 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
why not use the same people they use to clean the excrement and rubbish after Appleby fair while paying them only Â£6 per hour.
@Brian, It wasn't the Thatcher government then, with it's Milton Friedman free market economy, deliberately forcing the unions hand to break them. If it hadn't been for the unions, well look what it's like now, there are none. I rest my case.
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