Scotland's Refurbished Trains Still Shit on the Tracks

By Gary Cutlack on at

Bear with us on this one, right, but if the Pope was to visit Inverness and Glasgow on an official visit to Scotland, and let's say he travelled by train and needed a poo mid-journey, then

No let's abandon that sentence and start again. Scotland's "new" fleet of refurbished old Intercity high-speed trains may well be speeding up journey times and enhancing comfort levels along their routes, but they're also bringing back one disgusting old habit from the glory days of 1970s rail – emptying human waste from the toilets out directly on to the tracks.

This practice was supposed to have ended a few years ago, but is back in operation because the newly outfitted trains haven't been kitted out with mobile septic tanks to store the waste from onboard loos. Hence it's literally sprayed out on the rails, like it used to be, which is why old people still hesitate to flush toilets when in stations.

Just one of the ten refurbed HSTs – on the line between Aberdeen and Edinburgh – has a waste tank, with the other nine pumping it out onto the tracks, much to the horror of rail worker unions. ScotRail says it's obviously a "regrettable" temporary situation and is blaming supplier WabTec for the trackside H&S nightmare. [BBC]