Network Rail completes £600,000 investment at quarry sidings in Derbyshire

Workers at Dove Holes Quarry rail sidings at Peak Forest in Derbyshire are benefitting from a £600k investment to improve safety at the site as part of Network Rail’s Freight Safety Improvement Portfolio (FSIP).  

The two-year project saw the construction of a new 470-metre safe walking route between the sidings and the train crew facilities, including low level lighting and a new staircase on the embankment.

The FSIP is a £22 million fund to deliver safety improvements during Control Period 6 (CP6), which has already enabled safe walking route improvements at Great Heck near Selby, Cliffe in Kent and Angerstein Wharf at the Port of London.

Oliver Paget, Network Rail’s lead route and freight manager for North West and Central (NW&C), said: “This project has made great improvements to working conditions for the drivers and shunters at Peak Forest. Previously they were walking on uneven ballast and with over a quarter of a mile between the quarry and the long siding it could be tough going on the shunters’ and drivers’ feet and knees. There was a history of trips, slips and falls on the site.”

Dale Holford, a driver operator for Victa Railfreight, walks an average of 15 miles a day in his job. He said: “Each train is a quarter of a mile long and my job entails me walking along each side of it, so that’s a lot of time spent on my feet. I lost one and a half stone in the first two months I came to work here.

“The new walking route is amazing; it has made things so much better. Walking on ballast is uncomfortable underfoot and you have to be careful that you don’t turn your ankle. Any improvements like the ones this project is delivering are always welcome.”

Operated by GB Rail freight (GBRf) and DB Cargo, 42 train services run each week from the quarry carrying things like mortar and aggregates for CEMEX – a global leader in the building materials industry.

Mark Grimshaw-Smith, rail and sea Manager at CEMEX, said: “Safety is our number one priority, and we are focused on continual improvement at our locations to better protect our people and those we work with. Part of this means working collaboratively with our industry partners to identify what the issues are, along with the opportunities for development.

“Dove Holes is our largest quarry in the UK, with our busiest rail operation and multiple users on site at any time; making this project especially valuable. Moving forward, we are keen to roll out these safe working routes at our other railheads.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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