Cambridge rail worker's health fears over excrement spray

Railway workers on train tracks
Image caption Some train toilets dump waste on to tracks

Rail workers are being sprayed by human urine and faeces from passing trains, putting their health at risk.

A Network Rail worker said staff were "genuinely concerned" about excrement, urine and sanitary towels on the tracks.

Network Rail accepted that train toilets which emptied on the track were "outdated and unpleasant" for track workers.

Greater Anglia said it was hoping to phase out toilets which dump waste.

The man who works across the East Anglia region said: "A train would be coming and we'd stand back the recommended distance.

"It's not unusual to feel a spray, a kind of mist in the air. That's bad enough, but then you walk back to where you've been working on the tracks there's [faeces] everywhere."

'Effort needed'

Passenger waste is discharged from trains not fitted with retention tanks.

The majority of trains running through Cambridge station are operated by Greater Anglia, First Capital Connect and CrossCountry.

More than half of Greater Anglia's trains in the Cambridge area do not have retention tanks. The other two operators' trains do not discharge on to the track.

"We'd like to see them replaced or modified, but this requires effort from across the industry and funding," said a Network Rail spokesman.

The Department for Transport said the government recognised "this is a very unpleasant experience for railway workers and the public" and was "working closely" with Greater Anglia on a fleet upgrade.

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