RAILTRACK AND contractor Jarvis have launched an investigation after an undercover Daily Mirror reporter claimed he was given a key safety job on the railway after just ten minutes, despite being colour blind and having no railway experience.
Reporter David Pilditch claims he was made site access manager on a stretch of track being maintained by Jarvis during a possession on the East Coast Main Line in Nottinghamshire, and was responsible for briefing 18 workers.
According to Pilditch, he attended a two day safety course with an agency which gave him a permit to work on the railway.
After arriving on site, he was given a job of briefing men on safety from a hut before they went on the line. During his shift, he also said a machine caught fire prompting a search for fire extinguishers, which were eventually found in a van.
Pilditch said that his experience was frightening, and claimed that an unnamed railway manager said that giving him a job with such little experience was 'madness'.
A spokeswoman for Jarvis refused to confirm whether the company had employed Pilditch.
'We are looking over our records in relation to the matter, ' she added.
Railtrack said that it was carrying out a detailed investigation along with Jarvis, but said that the job he was given was an administrative one.
'He was placed in an administrative role, booking people on and off and giving out prewritten forms, and did not work trackside, ' said a spokeswoman.
However, she admitted that Pilditch did brief workers. 'It would have been a general briefing. The trackside briefing would have been given by someone competent to do that.'