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Constructive meeting in Christchurch

Constructive meeting in Christchurch

The meeting today in Christchurch between Tranz Rail managers and members of the Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) to discuss heat restrictions, was constructive said Jeff Heisler, Tranz Rail General Group Manager of Change Management and HR.

“We made good progress today and the dialogue was productive. The RMTU asked for more information on the issue of heat buckling and we have provided it. We were able to give union members the same level of information and assurance that we gave to both the LTSA and the Minister of Transport. Namely that a safety management system is in place and the risks associated with Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) have been contained within the current heat restrictions.”

In addition both parties agreed to the following three-step programme:

There will be a joint meeting between local Tranz Rail management, Transfield maintenance engineers and the RMTU to review the data and ensure there is a shared understanding of the issue. Tranz Rail will re-emphasise via the Locomotive Engineers Council the existing operating rule which expects that people will act professionally and use their discretion on site. The parties at today’s meeting will reconvene in late January to review the situation.

Tranz Rail also gave a commitment to the union that the destressing of the Midland line will be completed over winter.

“We have a far better destress process and control than ever before, much better knowledge of actual track condition leading to much better continuous welded rail management.”

Mr Heisler said that the union appeared to be reassured by the information provided. He also reiterated that the risk in relation to continuous welded rail remains the lowest it has ever been.

Tranz Rail remains committed to providing a safe and efficient rail network for both staff and customers alike.

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