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Dumping toilet waste on tracks slammed

Redditch Editorial 29th Jan, 2015 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

SPRAYING raw sewage on to railway lines has been slammed as a ‘disgusting’ and ‘antiquated’ practice by an Alcester businessman.

Harvey Alexander, chairman of commercial washing specialists Smith Brothers and Webb, said he could hardly believe waste from trains was still being deposited on lines in the 21st century without any safeguards for railway workers or the public.

His comments come after a BBC Inside Out programme recently revealed one in ten of the UK’s train carriages deposit waste straight out on to the tracks, leading to potential public health risks from the sewage.

He added: “Quite frankly it beggars belief that raw sewage is being sprayed out along railway lines in this day and age and causing an unspeakable mess.

“Let’s not forget that if a train is travelling at speed and the wind is strong then toilet spray from a train can be thrown out in a smelly cloud that can land on rail workers at the side of the track – it is absolutely disgusting.

“It is time this antiquated practice is abolished. You wouldn’t want to be drenched with toilet spray and neither would I. Rail companies should invest in upgrades to fit modern toilet systems on to old rolling stock, with on-board tanks for toilet waste that can be hygienically emptied at their depots.”

A London Midland spokesman said just 18 of their 153 trains discharged waste on to the track and the number would continue to fall. He added they locked toilets on some routes where the level of the track was above garden fences.

“We don’t defend it – discharging toilets on to the track is very unpleasant for maintenance staff and colleagues who have to walk the track.”

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