Don’t close South Queensferry plant!

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has called on Network Rail to revise its decision to buy safety-critical rail crossings made abroad and buy ones made in Scotland instead.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 6:44 am
The Progress Rail United Kingdom manufacturing site in South Queensferry. Photo: Google Maps.

The intervention came after Network Rail awarded a five-year contract to overseas suppliers, putting the South Queensferry foundry and three other British plants at risk of closure.

The South Queensferry facility can produce castings up to five tonnes in weight in a variety of steels from austenitic manganese to Argon Oxygen Decarburisation (AOD) refined stainless steel.

Manuel Cortes from TSSA said: “The South Queensferry foundry acts as a library of the over 1700 pattern moulds for the unique crossings in our British rail network.

“No other foundry in the world has the skills, knowledge or expertise found in South Queensferry and it makes no sense to sacrifice that knowledge on the altar of supposed cost-savings.

“Safety critical rail crossings are essential for the safe running of our railway. If there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated, it is the importance of robust supply chains.

“By sending the contract overseas, to foundries with no experience of manufacturing British rail crossings Network Rail is making itself a hostage to fortune and risking unacceptable delays in the maintenance and repair of our rail infrastructure.

“For the good of the workers in South Queensferry facing an uncertain future and for the good of everyone using our railways, Network Rail must review their tender and revise their decision.”