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Rail sewage dumping figures must be revealed – RMT

Rail union RMT is demanding that the Department for Transport to disclose what tonnage of human excrement is currently being dumped on Britain’s railways by train companies every year.

This comes after a recent BBC report highlighted that the issue, which was brought to the government’s attention last year, has still not been dealt with efficiently.

In November, transport minister Baroness Kramer stated in the House of Lords that the practice is “utterly disgusting”.However, RMT’s general secretary Bob Crow has said not enough is being done to tackle the problem.

“It really is a shocking indictment on the state of our railways 20 years after privatisation, and with hundreds of millions of pounds a year being creamed off in private profits, that raw sewage is still being dumped and sprayed across the tracks up and down the UK,” he said.

“The minister has branded the system as ‘disgusting’ but has not lifted a finger to stop it. That is why RMT has repeatedly called on Baroness Kramer and her government to take urgent action and we are reissuing that call.”

According to track workers across the country, some of the UK’s rail infrastructure resembles an open sewer and that the human waste doesn’t simply hit the track bed, it sprays out when trains are travelling at speed posing a health risk to track-based staff.

Crow added: “There is no point the government politely requesting that the private train companies desist, they are the one’s profiting out of this by allowing it to continue in the full knowledge that it is both dangerous and disgusting.”

(Image copyright psd, used here under a Creative Commons licence)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Paul J Meek   06/03/2014 at 18:29

For once I agree with Bob Crow 100% ( off to a dark room for a rest)

Tony Hill   13/03/2014 at 11:03

I find it absolutely astounding that RMT, and the railway owners and Government are still just talking about this issue. Obviously the RMT do not consider the fact that their members get covered in raw sewage to be a real problem or they would have taken action as they did on other issues in London recently! In 1999 when working on the maintenance of the GWR I very frequently raised this issue in defence of our track gangs but neither the unions - TOCs or the owner were very interested at all except at Paddington where toilet waste cascaded down onto the tracks and could be seen and smelled by the public. The RMT should stand up for its members who are on the receiving end of this outrage. The Minister should demand that the RAILWAY OWNER and the TOCs urgently produce a schedule of necessary upgrades The solutions to this problem are well known - 1/ TOCs - fit suitable capacity tanks on rolling stock - if you sell tickets and profit from cramming people into your trains then you must provide adequate capacity for your customer's human needs but not at the expense of the health of track workers- 2/ TOCs - Establish an effective maintenance regime on rolling stock toilets and tanks - 3/ RAILWAY OWNER - Install efficient sludge removal facilities at terminal stations 4/ TOC - Ensure that time is allowed in the schedule to enable this essential maintenance to be carried out. 5/ RAILWAY OWNER - introduce an effective inspection / audit regime to ensure that the TOCs have done what is necessary to protect those working trackside. Not rocket science is it? But I am sure that there will be abundant excuses from all sides.

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