Contacting both ScotRail and the Scottish Government, the rail union RMT demanded urgent action, stating the company is in flagrant breach of its clear agreement with the union to halt once and for all the dumping of human waste on Scotland’s railways by December 2017.
The union’s statement followed confirmation ScotRail had been forced to introduce a number of vintage high speed train’s onto the rail network in Scotland.
Transport Scotland said the firm had a stark choice to make – either use older trains which do not have controlled emission tanks or cancel rail services altogether until the fleet of new Inter7City trains is ready to roll.
An RMT spokesman said: “These trains are 40-years-old and, due to their refurbishment programme being some months behind schedule, and the fact they are returning a number of trains back to other train operators from December, the human waste onto the track will become an issue at ScotRail again, as nine out of ten of the trains are not fitted with Controlled Emission Tanks.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash added: “Our members are rightly appalled ScotRail has sought to rip-up a clear agreement to end the filthy and disgusting practice of dumping human excrement on Scotland’s railways.
“This disgraceful and retrograde step must be halted now and the union will take whatever action is required to hold Scotrail to their agreement with the union. One minute ScotRail is bragging about their aim to operate the most modern railway in the world and the next they are back to spraying track workers with human waste.
“We want this scandal to be brought to a halt once and for all and our members will not be the ones left to pay the price for managerial incompetence and operational delays on the fleet management that are wholly down to the company.”
Currently the only route that has a train fitted with a waste tank is the service running between Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
ScotRail responded, stating it was working “flat out” to get more upgraded trains into service as quickly as possible, but its supplier, Wabtec, was behind schedule. It The firm addded “To ensure we can deliver services for our customers we will introduce classic high-speed trains until enough upgraded Inter7City trains are available.
“These classic trains will not have retention tanks, which is far from ideal, but we are doing everything we can to mitigate this as soon as possible.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We completely sympathise with unions who quite rightly express these concerns about the classic high speed trains. Like them, we would far prefer to have our fully upgraded, more modern units in service.
“The faster Wabtec can finalise the refurbishment programme the better for staff and passengers. The Scottish Government has directly funded previous installation programmes to eradicate this practice across ScotRail fleets.
“We understand this interim measure is regrettable, but necessary to support more services and jobs across the country while retaining passenger services between our key seven cities.”