Rail engineers and rapid response staff are now travelling to incidents in a dedicated police car compete with red and blue flashing lights and two-tone siren.
The emergency intervention unit has been commissioned and funded by the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance in partnership with British Transport Police. The car is driven by experienced BTP officers and is being used to respond to incidents on the Wessex route out of London Waterloo and has already had a positive impact on disruption levels.
Says Superintendent Jason Bunyard, from BTP’s London South area, ‘Passenger safety will be improved by using the new vehicle to get engineers and equipment to the scene of incidents and to get trains moving again as quickly as possible. Because we understand the frustration caused to passengers who are held up by incidents on the railway, our aim is to get an officer there as soon as possible in order to get stuck trains moving again quickly.
‘By getting the line moving sooner, there will also be fewer crowd safety issues in and around stations. Once at the scene, the officer driving the EIU vehicle will perform regular policing duties and work alongside colleagues to resolve any crime or safety issues and help get the network moving.
This is an excellent opportunity for BTP officers to work with South West Trains and Network Rail colleagues, in a bid to keep the railway a safe place whilst operating to its best capacity.’
The vehicle has been modified to carry essential railway repair equipment and is police marked with Network Rail and South West Trains branding. It will be based at London Waterloo station and will cover the Wessex route as far as Epsom, Chessington South, Oxshott, Weybridge, Shepperton and Feltham.