Monday, 12 April 2010

Snow clearing gear fails the test.

News Release: Immediate Use
12 April 2010

Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands has challenged Network Rail to account for a missing snow blower and failing to patrol the highland line with a snow plough.

Following publicity last week in the P&J Rob has been contacted by former railway workers from the Inverness depot who used to service snow clearing gear.

He said,

"Railway workers were employed over many years to service the snow ploughs that sit outside the Inverness railway depot for most of the year. But in the past when snowy weather threatened an engine with plough fitted would patrol the main Highland line as far south as Blair Atholl and back to keep the trains running."

"Also there used to be a snow blower stationed at Inverness in more recent times. Yet this key piece of equipment was removed for use in Kent and never returned. It was used to remove hard-packed snow that can easily block cuttings. When Kent had the 'wrong kind of snow', they got the blower. Network Rail has to account for its whereabouts and why it was not returned to the area of Scotland that most often suffers snow storms."

"My enquiries with rail companies has sparked a number of constituent calls. The issue for future hard winters is to keep the railway open. Some explanations as to how this will be achieved are required from Network Rail. Highland passengers deserved as good a service as anywhere else on the network. Last winter was a hard one that showed lack of preparedness and lack of equipment."

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