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  3. Carlisle train station plagued by 'open sewers'

The RMT union recently raised concerns that three of Carlisle Railway Station’s track beds have such high levels of contamination that they are effectively open sewers.

The beds are now so full of oil and human waste that working without PPE would seriously damage health. The risks to human health are so severe, that without any protective workwear, any work on rail beds would be impossible.

Taking about the issue at Carlisle, the regional organiser of the RMT for Cumbria, Craig Johnston, said:

“We’ve got a problem. They’re turning into open sewers.”

The major issue is with three of the station's platforms, but station managers are clear as to what they think the problem is.

The build-up of human waste is thought to have come as a result of a high number of on-board toilets being flushed whilst in the station. This waste is then emptied onto the tracks.

This causes an issue for workers having to refill the water tanks of Virgin Pendolino trains. Carlisle is the area’s only station that has the facilities needed for such an operation.

Johnston said:

“I am expressing serious concerns to Virgin about my members who have to go down there to water up the trains.”

However, the issue with the track beds is not caused by Virgin trains, which do not empty waste onto the tracks.

As a result, Virgin has said it will make the concerns known to Network Rail following an inspection, which has been scheduled to delve into the issue further.

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