NEWS.CATEGORY: Health and safety

Cortes - We must address problems climate change causes our railways to avoid more deaths

The Palace of Westminster

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes today thanked rail workers keeping Britain and Ireland moving and called for proper funding for rail infrastructure as Storm Francis battered the UK

Cortes’ call comes just 13 days after a train was derailed at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire by a landslip caused by heavy rains.

Cortes said, “On a wild and wet day like today most people will want to stay indoors as much as possible. But our members are hard at work at stations and on the tracks across Britain and Ireland, keeping the trains moving, warning drivers of problems on the tracks, and performing essential emergency repair work. My heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of them.

“It is essential that we address the problems caused by climate change to our railways. More severe weather events like today’s storm and the one two weeks ago, are likely in the future and we need our rail infrastructure to be able to cope. Historic drainage systems in earthworks -embankments, soil cuttings and rock cuttings - across the network simply may not be up to the job anymore.

“Network Rail has over 190,000 earthworks assets and it is essential that they and their Irish counterparts receive enough funding to repair and maintain the drains if we are to avoid more landslips and potentially more tragedies in the future.

“I raised this point as part of our submission to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch on the Stonehaven tragedy. But the time to act is now. The Tories need to undo the damage they’ve caused with a decade of underfunding of Network Rail and invest properly in rail infrastructure. Without it there is a real risk that we will see more people dying on the railway in the future.”

- Ends

Notes to Editors

Earthworks assets are embankments, soil cuttings and rock cuttings.

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