TRAINS were “bouncing” along the East Coast mainline and shaking a nearby home for a fortnight before a five-inch gap was found in the track near York, a local resident has claimed.
Chris Sharp, who lives beside the line in Copmanthorpe, spoke out yesterday after The Press reported claims by the RMT union that the gap had placed passengers and staff at risk of a potentially lethal incident.
The claims were denied by Network Rail, which said that after being notified by a train driver on the neighbouring line, all trains were stopped from travelling over the fault until the track was replaced, and safety issues would never be compromised.
Mr Sharp said the damaged rail was at the end of his garden, about 50 metres north of the Temple Lane bridge over the railway, and he had seen it from his home and taken the pictures featured here, showing rail workers alongside the damaged track.
He said he saw a train pull up and the driver get out of his cab and pick up a chunk of rail, before the arrival of inspectors.
“Trains had been bouncing through this section of rail for a couple of weeks,” he claimed. “It was causing the house to shake far more than normal.”
He believed the ballast below the tracks had subsided, causing trains to bounce and putting pressure on the rails.
A Network Rail spokeswoman said yesterday that a rail defect at Copmanthorpe had been picked up at the start of November and maintenance and inspection planned, as was normal and entirely within standards.
“We will look into the claim about vibration,” she said. “However, we inspect the mainline every seven days and drivers report any rough rides etc, which are inspected as a normal part of our processes, and additional inspection and maintenance was completed as a result of the minor defect being found.”
She said Network Rail’s Community Relations helpline was available 24 hours a day on 08457 11 41 41, which people could ring to report any infrastructure issues. Safety issues go straight to control for action.
• The Press yesterday reported claims by the RMT union that the damaged track was at Colton. Network Rail confirmed yesterday it was further along the line at Copmanthorpe.