Tractor driver caught using railway as ‘personal sewer’ during floods

A tractor driver has been caught on video dumping suspected floodwater into a railway station car park - forcing the closure of a North West train station.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 7:00 am
Tractor dumping at Hartford station in Cheshire. Storm Christoph had already forced the closure of several key rail links in the North West, but this act added Crewe to Warrington to the list

The brazen act was filmed at Hartford Station near Northwich in Cheshire on Wednesday January 20, as floods ravaged the region.

The footage shows a tractor towing a slurry trailer being reversed into the station entrance. The driver then gets out to release thousands of litres of filthy liquid which cascades down the station access road and onto the West Coast main line below.

Storm Christoph had already forced the closure of several key rail links in the North West, but this act added Crewe to Warrington to the list, making life tougher still for Network Rail frontline teams battling against the elements to clear sections of flooded railway.

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Floodwater can wash away the track foundation stone – known as ballast – making railway lines unstable.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “When we were already struggling with Storm Christoph, this cynical opportunist decided to use the railway as their own personal sewer.

“Seeing this video made my blood boil. We will be working with police to take the strongest action possible against this tractor driver for damaging the railway, delaying people and goods, and potentially putting the lives of passengers and workers at risk.”

The video was sent to Network Rail and then passed on to the British Transport Police who are now looking into the footage.