Clear train tracks of sewage pleads group
A COMMUNITY group is calling for an end to ‘disgusting’ waste dumping on Lochaber train tracks, following concerns about the health of railway workers.
Fort William community council (FWCC) has been in touch with British transport union RMT following a campaign it has championed to eliminate sewage dumping on Scotland’s rail tracks.
FWCC is calling for operator West Coast Railways to implement a similar system on the Jacobite steam train, which runs two trains through the West Highlands four times a day.
The plea from FWCC comes after the union said it aims to have 40 per cent of ScotRail’s trains fitted with controlled emission tanks by April 2016 and the remainder kitted out by December 2017.
At a meeting of FWCC, chairman Neil Clark said: ‘ Workers on the tracks in Fort William and Glenfinnan are getting splattered with human excrement.’
He called it ‘disgusting’ and said the RMT was already offering workers vaccinations to protect them from being infected by untreated human excrement.
Community council treasurer Trisha Jordan added: ‘Although railway staff who work on the tracks are working at night, they are having to work through the mess of the waste released from the steam trains.
‘It was brought to our attention last year when reports of a vile smell were submitted to us. I think the only reason there haven’t been as many complaints is because we have had a lot of wind and rain, whereas last summer was scorching. The heat would only have emphasised the problem.’
Direct discharge toilets have been in use since toilets on trains were introduced.
However, in response to concerns from local public bodies, West Coast Railway has stopped members of the public using the toilets while its trains are travelling.
A spokesman said: ‘It is only very recently that retention tanks have been introduced, primarily on new rolling stock.
‘The Jacobite steam train which runs between Fort William and Mallaig is not the only train which has direct discharge toilets.
In fact, all ScotRail services currently have the same direct discharge toilets, with the exception of the Caledonian Sleeper and Royal Scotsman which have retention tanks.
‘RMT has been running a campaign to stop the use of direct discharge toilets and West coast railways is examining ways of fitting retention tanks to the heritage carriages.’
ON TRACK FOR CHANGE: the Jacobite steam train on the Glenfinnan