May 2012 in Train Operations
The depot is currently undergoing refurbishment work, but as Northern are still storing trains there, Drivers are having to work trains to and from this location. The concerns raised are as follows:
'Inadequate' lighting: The low level lighting on the driveway used by Drivers to access the depot, is controlled by a sensor. However, the lights go out before they have walked the entire length of the driveway. This often results in Drivers walking parts of the driveway at night in darkness, posing a slip, trip and fall hazard.
'Poor' condition of the road and walking areas: The main road to the depot and the walking areas within the depot have not been resurfaced. As a result there are large pot holes which pose a slip, trip and fall hazard. Metal barriers have been erected down the main road and Drivers have been informed that they should walk on one side because of moving machinery on the other. However, as the floor is so uneven on the side where Drivers have been asked to walk, large sheets of wood have been laid as a temporary measure. They are not effective as they wobble and move on the uneven ground. These areas also flood when it rains, increasing the risk to Drivers.
Authorised walking routes not fully completed:The authorised walking routes between roads within the depot have not been finished. This has resulted in metal rods sticking out of the ground by about half a foot. The reporter is concerned that should a Driver trip and fall onto one of these rods they could be seriously injured. At night, if an incident did occur, there would be no one around if a member of staff needed help.
Could Northern Rail:
Response from Northern Rail
Allerton depot has been reinstated as an operational depot and substantially upgraded by Network Rail as part of the Department for Transport HLOS funded increase in the size of Northern's fleet. The huge scale of work undertaken meant that not everything was completely finished in time for the opening of the depot. However, arrangements were made to ensure safety was maintained during the transitional period, and the local Engineering and Train Crew Representatives were fully consulted at each stage of the process and were briefed on all planned work.
Addressing the specific concerns raised in this report:
'Inadequate' lighting: The depot entrance/exit walkway lighting is controlled via two Passive Infra-Red (PIR) detectors - one located on the walkway outbound and the other located at the depot entrance. The PIR was originally installed at the request of local residents, as the walkway lighting was illuminated all night.
After checking the operation of the walkway lights our investigation revealed that the lights currently stay illuminated outbound for 1 minute 19 seconds and inbound for 1 minute 43 seconds. After walking the route several times it was agreed that this time was not long enough. The average walking time over this distance was just over two minutes. Therefore the entrance/exit walkway light timing has now been set at 2 minutes 30 seconds which was found to be more than sufficient when tested.
This work was carried out by Network Rail on 22 February 2012.
'Poor' condition of the road and walking areas: The entire road surface and depot pedestrian walkways have now been completed at Allerton depot. The main depot roadway has been fully resurfaced with tarmac from the depot entrance off Knavesmire Way up to the depot main entrance door at depot reception.
Authorised walking routes not fully completed:The authorised walking routes at the Allerton end of the main shed between one through to six road have now been fully concreted and completed. The reported metal roads have all been removed. We have checked with Network Rail and all the authorised walking routes around the depot are now fully completed.
In response to the suggestion that no-one would be around if a Driver had an accident, this is incorrect - the depot is staffed 24 hours a day/seven days a week. In addition the depot has a full CCTV facility that covers the entire depot and sidings.