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A DB Cargo UK train in the UK [Image: Flickr].

A DB Cargo UK train in the UK [Image: Flickr].

Another failure of privatisation: The freight trains concerned are owned by a (nationalised!) German company.

They use the same lines as passenger trains, which means if the dangerous practices aren’t stopped, sooner or later somebody is likely to die.

The rules, that mean drivers aren’t getting rest for up to 19 hours at a time, are being enforced by a foreign-owned company that bought into the British railway system when it was privatised.

Solution: Re-nationalise the UK’s railways and bring in proper safety measures. Right?

A highly respected but [previously] completely unnoticed report from Whitehall’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch… followed two cases of drivers last year “momentarily falling asleep ”while driving huge  freight trains on the Great Western main line near Reading.

The report made damning reading of the way DB Cargo UK, the Doncaster based British subsidiary of  state railway Deutsche Bahn, was treating its  train drivers with little concern for their  welfare and for that matter rail safety.

The report revealed that a combination of long shifts – ten hours at a time – and rest facilities which were ” unfit for purpose ” –two sofas in a  brightly lit corridor – meant that drivers had little or no sleep. One driver hadn’t slept for 19 hours when he went over the danger signal. Another came to a halt where a luckily empty high speed passenger train was due to cross its path on the way to London Paddington. It was stopped by automatic train signals.

Source: Are German State Railways exploiting train drivers in Britain to put lives at risk? | David Hencke

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