Make the Most of Summer on the Rail Network

With the hopes of a bright and sunny British summer just around the corner, David Gilmour, Business Manager, Built Environment Services, SOCOTEC, has put together a summer checklist for all the rail-related tasks that are ideal for completing during the mild weather.


Drainage Surveys and Cleaning

Summer time can give the ideal conditions for conducting track drainage and depot drainage surveys which aren’t always conducive in cold, wet weather.

To ensure a drainage system is properly mapped, a drainage survey can assess the integrity of the system and provide reassurance that it is functioning effectively. Further to this, a drainage survey can also help to identify possible issues, such as blockages and cracked pipes, as well as reducing the risk of trade effluent discharge failure.  

To reduce the risk of non-compliance, cleaning drainage systems can remove excess contaminants and maintain the optimum conditions for the system to flow. As part of the application process for trade effluent discharge consents, regulators will require information such as the various types of drainage, associated outfalls and sampling locations. An accurate survey is essential to providing this information.

SOCOTEC can assist with conducting drainage surveys, drainage cleaning and a wide variety of trade effluent consultancy such as progressing consent application, monitoring and sample analysis.


Fuel Tank Inspections

Fuel storage facilities are vital for any depot and poor fuel storage conditions can lead to reduced fuel quality. Elevated levels of contaminants, such as water and microbiological growth, pose a major risk to rolling stock operations and service performance.

With vast experience in laboratory analysis of oils and fuels, our technical experts are able to conduct inspections of fuel storage facilities to ensure compliance with current legislation.


Environmental Noise Surveys

No one likes a noisy neighbour! With many depots located in towns and cities, often with residential properties nearby, there is a responsibility to ensure that both daytime and night-time operations on the depots have minimal impact to the surrounding area.  

The summer period can provide ideal conditions to conduct an environmental noise survey in line with the requirements of BS4142: 2014. Certain processes such as engine maintenance, train washing and train positioning, which all create noise, should be assessed. By conducting environmental noise assessments, SOCOTEC’s experienced team of technical staff can evaluate the impact on the surrounding environment and consult with depot management on noise reduction control measures, if necessary.


Vibration Exposure Assessments

Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, an employer must evaluate the risk presented to employees using vibrating equipment. There is close monitoring on tools that are used regularly, but less focus on tools that are only used seasonally, such as grounds keeping equipment. The risk and potential harm doesn’t disappear with the seasons, so all vibrating equipment needs to be assessed.

Our occupational hygienists are equipped with the necessary skills, experience and equipment to assess and advise on controlling the risk posed by vibrating tools.


COSHH Assessments

A wide variety of chemicals are used across most depots for daily tasks, such as servicing, cleaning and maintenance. During the summer period across the rail industry, the application of weed killer is used to control the growth of unwanted vegetation but this is an area of chemical use that can often be disregarded.

To ensure the risk to staff is controlled and minimised, it’s important that chemicals are correctly used, handled and stored, as well as the use of appropriate PPE. Our occupational hygienists can offer on-site or remote consultancy by producing COSHH assessments tailored to client’s specific requirements. In addition, MiPortal, our digital management system, offers an online service for clients to access all COSHH assessments easily and effectively.



In summer, the increased vegetation around drainage outfalls, culverts, rivers and streams will require regular clearing in order to visually monitor and safely obtain samples.

Summer is also a good time to look at reviewing and replacing pollution control measures, such as oil booms. So why not make a start on your summer rail check list now?


If you would like to find out more information about how SOCOTEC can help you with your summer rail check list, please get in touch.