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Manuel Cortes Letter to Andrew Haines - Network Rail Chief Executive

9 July 2019

Dear Andrew The tragic incident at Port Talbot on 03 July, brings into sharp focus a number of issues relating to the planning and delivery of safe work that TSSA has been seeking to address with Network Rail over the past two years.

I note the Track Worker Problem Statement, issued by the ORR this year, states that “there is no clear overall leadership or direction”, that “019+ has failed to deliver improvements” and that, if current practices are not improved, “workers will continue to be struck by trains”.

In addition, I am seeking an explanation as to why Network Rail has not implemented the recommendations from recent RAIB reports and how the Company intends to rectify the situation.

I cannot ignore the clear and present risk to TSSA members working lineside, nor the fact that many of our members have management responsibility for the safety of passengers and rail workers.

Neither can I avoid mentioning the ORR statement that “numbers of accidents could rise if the operational focus shifts to ‘getting the job done’ to minimise delays”. This is something which seems to be implicit in recent statements from Network Rail and moves away from the primary focus being on delivering safety as the number 1 priority.

I am therefore seeking an urgent meeting with you to discuss how Network Rail will engage with the TSSA to improve the safety for lineside workers.

Yours sincerely

Manuel Cortes

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