The project has taken two years to finish and sees a brand new 470-metre safe walking route from the sidings to the train crew facilities alongside low-level lights and a new staircase on the embankment.
With a fund of £22m to provide safety improvements during Control Period 6 (CP6), The Freight Safety Improvement Portfolio (FSIP) has already seen safe walking route improvements put in place 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 around 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.”
GB Rail freight (GBRf) and DB Cargo operate the site which sees 42 train services run each week from the quarry with cargo such as mortar and aggregates for the global leader in the building materials industry – CEMEX.
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.”