Rail staff given shelter from excrement shower

Meritxell Mir
Meritxell Mir - [email protected] • 21 Oct, 2011 Updated Fri 21 Oct 2011 12:25 CEST

Swiss Federal Railways has agree to put measures in place to protect employees working in an alley below the tracks from faeces and urine dumped by older model train carriages.


The problem derives from the fact that some of the old carriages on Swiss trains use toilets that deposit faeces directly onto the tracks, which became a problem in Zurich station. 

Construction workers operating below tracks 10,11,12,13,15 and 16 had been reporting for a month that they were receiving frequent faecal showers from cracks in the ceiling of the passageway where they were working.

After several unsuccessful protests, employees went on strike on Monday against the “unhealthy and humiliating” working conditions and gave the company an ultimatum: They would not return to their jobs until the company solved the situation.

In a statement released on Thursday, Swiss Federal Railways, union Unia and ARGE Bahnhof Löwenstrasse (the group of companies in charge of the project) said that several measures would be put in place.

By Tuesday next week, a canalization system will be installed to divert waste waters far from the alley under construction.

Furthermore, trains won’t stop in the parts of the tracks located right above the alleyway and, where this is not possible, toilets will be closed before getting to Zurich station.

Temporary latrines will also be installed on the station platforms to meet more urgent needs. If travellers prefer, they will be given a token to access the station toilets for free.

If all these measures end up proving insufficient, the Swiss Federal Railways has said that it is willing to consider further initiatives, expressing understanding that workers will only return to the alley when they enjoy full protection from the raining excrement.


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