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Lavatories (Trains)

Volume 180: debated on Monday 12 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what reports he has received on the danger to public health of British Rail trains having lavatories which flush directly on to the track; when British Rail first revealed to his Department the 1957 report on this practice; how many trains have since been provided with containers that can be emptied at depots; and if he will make a statement.

The railway inspectorate has received a report from a senior employment medical adviser of the Health and Safety Executive that the risk of contracting disease from deposits on the track is slight. This matter is kept under regular review by the railway industry advisory committee of the Health and Safety Commission.

Retention tanks are, or will be, fitted to new InterCity stock: mark III sleeper stock, mark IV and mark V stock, which are designed to run at high speeds; to certain Network SouthEast trains, for example, the class 319 which operate through the Thameslink tunnels; and the channel tunnel stock, which will operate both at speed and through tunnel. It is not practicable retrospectively to fit retention tanks to existing stock.