Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 16:22
Train maintenance, safety concerns conductors
Engineers and conductors are worried about the quality of the trains and the equipment they have to work with, a new study shows. The top concerns are with rails and switches which they say have many flaws, according to a major study by the railway union VVMC. Nearly six out of ten of the 870 surveyed railway workers have no faith in the material or technique they face every day at work. Sprinter trains, tracks and switches were listed as the main culprits for the concerns, according to the survey. "Trains driving around for weeks with defects is unfortunately rather the rule than the exception", says one of the railway employees. Wim Eilert of VVMC calls the situation serious. He finds that more real money should be invested in to better infrastructure. "Everything is outdated and the staff gets an unsafe feeling. At some points the track is so bad that the NS personnel is advised to sit down to avoid injuries." Transport company NS and the rail manager ProRail responded jointly to the concerns of the railway staff and stated that the safety of their passengers and employees comes first. "This survey is a good opportunity to engage with each other and to understand the concerns of the railway workers." State secretary for Infrastructure and Environment, Wilma Mansveld, takes a more critical approach to the issue. In 2015 the NS have to make the trains more reliable and therefore provide less disruptions and downtime of the trains, according to her statement. "ProRail also has to provide a safer and more reliable railway system. Any incident is one too many."