Our Ref: HSR/1/12
Head Office Circular: NP/30/20
19th February 2020
To: The Secretary
ALL REGIONAL COUNCILS
Noise Exposure from Track Bed Platforms 20-24 Waterloo
Waterloo Branch submitted the following motion to the National Executive Committee (NEC):
The following concern have been raised with the branch in relation to the above subject matter, this is due to the amount of excess noise that is continuing to come from the track bed when trains enter and exit the station. This area is the old terminal used by Eurostar services which now leave from Kings Cross, these 5 platforms are now used by domestic train services operated by South Western Railway and have been on and off since 2017.
The noise from the track bed has been addressed with both South Western Railway and Network Rail at senior management level with recommendations put in place, which range from ensuring that Network Rail are maintaining the oil greasers at the country end of these platforms that should spread an even amount of grease on to the unit and throughout the track when arriving into these platforms, it has also been agreed that station staff working within this area are to be rotated to ensure that staff are not exposed to the noise on a regular basis, however is of no use as the problem is just being moved around and exposing other employees. The Head of Safety for SWR has stated that as an additional control measure that staff can remain within the refuge huts within this area until the train has arrived into the platform, most recently Network Rail have installed a friction modifier within the terminal that should reduce the noise, there has been numerous noise level testing within the area and at some points the readings are high. This issue has been raised at all levels to attempt to resolve and have now been exhausted.
The situation with this excessive noise has not reduced to a reasonable level, in fact has increased and is causing a high level of track noise in which has been a concern on and off since August 2017 and has been generating high levels of discomfort, stress and anxiety to our members working at this location, as well as having a detrimental effect to the members of staff hearing.
We therefore call on the National Executive to instruct the General Secretary to carry out the following.
• Write to Network Rail and request what permanent remedial measures they are putting in place to resolve this safety concern of excessive noise and what these timescales are as Waterloo is a Network Rail managed station and is their infrastructure that is causing the problem.
• Our members have made it clear to the branch that they have had to endure this excessive noise for a lengthy amount of time and therefore wish for decisive action to be taken to have this matter resolved once and for all as they cannot continue to work in such conditions and to be exposed to such excessive noise that is having a detrimental effect to their health, and will support Industrial action should this be called to get this matter resolved.
• To notify South Western Railway that if Network Rail do not come back with reasonable remedial measures in a timely manner to rectify this then the RMT will be in a dispute situation and will ballot all dispatch Rail Operators/Train Presentation staff/Gateline members at Waterloo for Industrial action and action short of strike (members will not work within this terminal until further notice until this is resolved).
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 instruct the General Secretary to carry out the three 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.