The TSSA union says it has written to the regulator demanding the immediate withdrawal of all surving HSTs, after new revelations in the Carmont derailment report.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch had said the HST which was derailed at Carmont in August 2020 had shown signs of corrosion. It had continued: 'RAIB considered whether the extent of corrosion may have significantly affected the way the coach structures deformed and in particular the loss of survival space in the leading coach. However, since the forces applied to the collision pillars are not known, the investigation was not able to determine whether or not the original strength of the pillars (that is, without any material loss due to corrosion) would have been sufficient to prevent the loss of survival space that led to the death of the train’s conductor'.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said it was not clear whether any corrosion had been dealt with when Wabtec had been upgrading the trains. He added: 'The fact that there is no photographic evidence that Wabtec carried out the corrosion repairs on the derailed HST is a red flag for every other HST currently running.
'We cannot allow possibly unsafe trains to continue to run on Scotland’s railways. I’ve written today to Ian Prosser, the Chief Inspector of Railways and Director of Railway Safety, calling on him to instruct rail companies across Britain – including ScotRail – to withdraw their HSTs because of the risk they pose to passengers.
'Frankly, it’s time to ban the HSTs. They were great in their day, but that day is nearly 50 years ago now and they simply aren’t up to modern safety standards.'
London Underground celebrates step-free milestone
The six-platform station at Harrow-on-the-Hill on the Underground's Metropolitan Line is the latest Underground station to be declared 'step-free', and the completion of work at Harrow means that a third of the network's stations – a total of 91 – are now fully accessible.
The station was built just before the Second World War, and the concourse is carried on a raft over three island platforms. Four new lifts were needed to provide access up from the street and down to each platform.
Graeme Murray is project manager at the Taylor Woodrow-BAM Nuttall joint venture, which carried out the work, and he described the project as the 'largest and most complex accessibility upgrade' in the Underground's current programme.
He added: 'This has been a remarkable effort by the Joint Venture team and our supply chain partners which will greatly enhance the existing station. From lift installations and modified platforms to steel access bridges, all works have been completed during traffic and engineering hours with no possessions and using the latest digital construction methods. We're absolutely delighted to hand over this accessible station to the local community.'