Anger as trains to dump human waste on Fife tracks again

ScotRail has come under fire from union chiefs after it was revealed that some trains will begin the outdated practice of dumping human waste on Fife railway tracks.

Some trains will now dump waste onto the tracks. Picture: John Devlin
Some trains will now dump waste onto the tracks. Picture: John Devlin

Rail operator Abelio agreed to stop flushing excrement from ScotRail toilets on to the railway tracks in Scotland in December 2017.

However, with newly-refurbished trains being delayed by supplying firm Wabtec, some older trains are being used to cover the service which do not have tanks to store the waste.

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With the updated trains due to connect Scotland’s cities, such as Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh, Fife will be among those routes which will see sewage dumped on the tracks.

ScotRail said it is unable to give a timescale for when the revamped trains will come into circulation.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) says the move breaks an agreement not to dump human excrement on Scotland’s railways.

RMT has written to both ScotRail and the Scottish Government demanding urgent action to honour the agreement with the union to halt once and for all the dumping of human waste on Scotland’s railways.

RMT says that the practice of dumping human excrement on the tracks causes great risk to rail workers.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members are rightly appalled that ScotRail have sought to rip-up a clear agreement to end the filthy and disgusting practice of dumping human excrement on Scotland’s railways.

“This disgraceful and retrograde step must be halted now and the union will take whatever action is required to hold ScotRail to their agreement with the union.

“One minute Scotrail are bragging about their aim to operate the most modern railway in the world and the next they are back to spraying track workers with human waste.

“We want this scandal to be brought to a halt once and for all and our members will not be the ones left to pay the price for managerial incompetence and operational delays on the fleet management that are wholly down to the company.”

A ScotRail spokesman said the use of older trains chas come about due to delays in planned upgrades by another firm.

He said: “The first of our upgraded Inter7City high-speed trains has entered service, and has received very positive feedback from our customers.

“We are working flat out to get more upgraded trains into service as quickly as possible, but our supplier, Wabtec, is behind schedule and has let us down.

“To ensure we can deliver services for our customers we will introduce classic high-speed trains until enough upgraded Inter7City trains are available.

“These classic trains will not have retention tanks, which is far from ideal. We are doing everything we can to mitigate this as soon as possible.”

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