Railway safety and crime

29.10.18

Emergency track work in Bristol cancelled due to chemical emergency risk

Emergency track work, part of rail upgrades across Bristol, has been abruptly cancelled after a local resident told Network Rail that it’s plans put hundreds of people at risk in the case of a chemical emergency.

Network Rail were planning to carry out emergency work on the tracks in Avonmouth overnight on Saturday 27 October alongside longer engineering work running between Temple Meads and Parkway stations.

The maintenance work would have involved a track renewal system (TRS) train blocking the level crossing in Gloucester Road by Avonmouth train station, but on Friday one resident protested the planned work on Twitter.

Ian Robinson, who lives nearby on the one of the streets affected, responded to a Network Rail notice on Twitter by pointing out the potential safety issue.

The nearby Severnside Industrial Complex is home to a number of sites that have to follow the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations because of a threat that they could cause a chemical emergency.

Fuel companies Valero and Esso both have upper-tier bases, which measures the amount of dangerous substances the business uses or holds in storage, a short distance from the train station.

Robison said that closing the road without providing another exit route would potentially put residents at risk, saying that “if someone dies, your directors and supervisory staff will be in court as will ASP, Fire and BCC staff,” and urging the company to “make provisions.”

Network Rail responded on Saturday, informing Robinson via Twitter that the work had been cancelled.

It said that the engineering work would be rescheduled for a time when suitable alternative access arrangements could be put into place for residents.

Across the rest of Bristol, Network Rail are carrying out upgrade work and is laying a new track for two additional railway lines which will aim to reduce congestion and delays between Bristol’s main stations.

Image credit - violettenlandungoy

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