August 2009 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Scrap rail and debris lying along the railway is of concern to a reporter. After infrastructure maintenance work is complete, scrap rail and other materials, such as bags of ballast, haven‟t been cleared away for recycling or scrap.
Materials have also been left lying around opened, unused and abandoned. One such example is that packets of materials used to fix rails at Clapham junction were left in the 10-foot near a signal following recent track work. The driver has noticed this going on for many years across the whole railway infrastructure.
Three risks are highlighted by the reporter:
The amount of rail and debris along the railways gives the reporter the impression that Network Rail are inefficient in their use of resources and do not have effective systems in place to ensure worksites are cleared up and left in a good, clean state.
The reporter would like to see worksites properly cleared at the end of the job and for waste to be recycled appropriately.
Could NR please clarify the following:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing this issue to our attention.
Network Rail does have procedures for controlling scrap material and it is standard practice for our maintenance teams to clear away scrap at the end of the job. We set similar expectations for our contractors. These are captured in the company standard NR/SP/OHS/0108 Contract Safety Assurance Requirements.
Where customer requirements demand short possessions, we do, on occasion, need to do a job in several stages with site clearance being done after the main work. We then return, in a subsequent possession to complete this vital step. This does from time to time mean that there will be some scrap material visible on the lineside. In such circumstances we secure it, so that it cannot be moved by vandals.
We have also put in place clear incentives for the local delivery unit teams by including the removal of hazards as part of their Safety League Table score. As a result of this and other initiatives, the volume of scrap on the lineside has reduced dramatically. Since April we have removed over 17,600 tonnes of scrap from the network. On an annualised basis this weight of scrap metal would be equivalent in weight to a row of cars, parked bumper to bumper, stretching from London to Crewe!
Railway workers such as train drivers, who have concerns about scrap at a specific location, should report their concerns through to their operational control centre. The control centre will record this as a fault or pass the information onto Network Rail for the infrastructure maintenance team to deal with the issue.