Diesel Fumes from 159/158 Units at Waterloo Station

2nd March 2020
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,

Diesel Fumes from 159/158 Units at Waterloo Station

Waterloo Branch submitted the following motion to the National Executive Committee (NEC):

The branch has cause to write to yourself about concerns about the level of diesel smoke and fumes coming from the above rolling stock at Waterloo station, this is because of the excessive time that these units stand idle when berthed at Waterloo and because drivers are leaving their key on within the unit means that the unit will not shut down once arrived, this H&S issue has been raised on numerous occasions with both South West Trains now South Western Railway the tenant and Network Rail the landlord, unfortunately this issue has got significantly worse since it was first raised.

In 2015 a Traction & Train Crew Bulletin was issued to the drivers (copy enclosed) to instruct them to remove their EP key and allow the unit to shut down, this document was never withdrawn until a further bulletin was issued in 2018 which outlined in more detail the process to the drivers in relation to the said units, this document doesn’t seem to be adhered to as the units are running idol for a significant amount of times, sometimes at a weekend up to over 30 minutes and with more than one unit within the station.

On the 15th & 16th January 2019 a Diesel Engine Exhaust Emission monitoring was carried out by SOCOTEC (copy enclosed) within the document there were clear recommendations to be put in place, this was raised with the Head of Safety for SWR at the time that the said recommendations need to be discussed further and enacted on as soon as possible, several meeting have taken place where both Network Rail & South Western Railway except that this is an issue, however the key recommendation is that the engines are to be powered down unless the unit is to depart within 15 minutes. This recommendation has still not been put in place, on the 17th & 18th April 2018 the same test was carried out by SOCOTEC and had the same recommendation that the engines should be powered down, now SWR have stated that they wish to carry out a further emissions test even though they have been told by the H&S rep that this in their view will not change where we are with this and the recommendations within, this further test was due to take place WC 10th February 2020.

It has further come to light that SWR have since been speaking to the Drivers function and it appears that there is a behaviour issue in that the drivers will not do anything different therefore the engines will remain running as some of the Traincrew have their PNB’s on the trains even though there is sufficient PNB points within the station.

The branch believes that both Network Rail & South Western Railway have had sufficient time to address and enact these recommendations however have failed to do so, further this has been discussed and exhausted at all levels within the machinery however neither the TOC or NR are prepared to enforce the process that these engines are to be turned off.

We therefore call on the National Executive Committee to instruct the General Secretary to carry out the following:
• To write to Network Rail asking why they are not implementing their own air emissions processes at Waterloo station in that they state they will put in various control measures one being that engines to be switched off when not in use.
• Write to South Western Railway asking why they are delaying implementing the recommendation to have these engines turned off as they have had numerous opportunities to implement such, however have failed to do so and are saying that this is now a behaviour issue in that the drivers won’t turn their engines off, along with requesting what they are doing to address this to ensure that the engines are turned off.
• To write to the ASLEF General Secretary asking him if he can assist in addressing this with the membership that they represent recognising the huge impact this is having to all members.
• To inform South Western Railway that if they do not abide by the recommendation within the SOCOTEC report by having these engines turned off with immediate effect then we will be in dispute with them with the view to balloting all Rail Operators/Train Presentation grades that work on the platforms at Waterloo for Industrial action and action short of strike.

The NEC considered the motion at its meeting on 18th February and carried the following resolution:

We note the report and concerns from the Branch and we instruct the General Secretary to carry out the four sentiments raised at Waterloo and for a Report to be placed back before the NEC at the earliest opportunity.

All Branches and Regional Councils to be informed.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments. Please make the contents of this Circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary