Dumping Toilet Waste Onto Train Tracks Condemned by Britannia

The chairman of the company behind the first “airline style” equipment for emptying on-board train toilets has condemned the ‘antiquated’ practice of dumping toilet sewage directly onto railway tracks.
Harvey Alexander, chairman of Smith Brothers & Webb, said he could hardly believe that raw sewage was still being deposited on railway lines in the 21st century without any safeguards for railway workers or the public.
“Quite frankly it beggars belief that raw sewage is being sprayed out along railway lines in this day and age and causing an unspeakable mess,” said Mr Alexander whose company is based in Alcester, Warwickshire.
“Let’s not forget that if a train is travelling at speed and the wind is strong then toilet spray from a train can be thrown out in a smelly cloud that can land on rail workers at the side of the track – it is absolutely disgusting.
“And rail workers are not the only people at risk – there has been at least one instance of train toilet waste spraying over the garden of a house that was simply adjacent to a rail line where old-fashioned rolling stock was running.
“It is time this antiquated practice is abolished. You wouldn’t want to be drenched with toilet spray and neither would I. Rail companies should invest in upgrades to fit modern toilet systems onto old rolling stock, with on-board tanks for toilet waste that can be hygienically emptied at their depots.”
The BBC documentary programme Inside Out revealed recently that one in 10 of the UK’s train carriages deposit toilet waste straight out onto the tracks, leading to potential public health risks from the sewage.
Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Lady Kramer described the practice as “utterly disgusting” in a House of Lords debate and the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) is lobbying for change after many complaints from its members.
The Rail Delivery Group that represents train operators said its members were investing millions of pounds in new rolling stock and in upgrading existing carriages.
Smith Brothers & Webb, famous for its Britannia brand of fully automated washing systems for trains, trams, buses and commercial vehicles, has made a breakthrough in the technology for emptying on-board train toilet tanks.
It is the first in the world to use “airline style” technology to make its Contained Effluent Transfer (CET) systems three times faster than conventional models at emptying train sewage tanks. The CETs are built in Alcester.
“It’s a high speed solution for high speed trains, and equally it is a high speed solution for slower trains,” said Mr Alexander. ”Our CETs make it easy for operators to empty their on-board sewage tanks quickly with minimal downtime.
”They make it easier for train operating companies to run trains with modern toilet facilities to a tight timetable.”
Exclusive to Smith Brothers & Webb, the fully automated CET uses negative pressure to evacuate 800 litres of effluent in just eight seconds. This allows a single person to clean out tanks on a 12-carriage high speed train in just 10 minutes – whereas previously the task would have taken half an hour.
The market for CETs is growing, not least because increasingly other countries are passing laws requiring new rolling stock to have modern on-board toilet systems that do not flush straight out onto the track.

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