OREANDA-NEWS. Network Rail and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have teamed up to test emergency rescue plans from a 100ft high South Wales viaduct.

Last Friday (16 September) the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Level 3 Rope Rescue Team joined Network Rail Wales and their principal contractors to complete some practical emergency rescue training at Cynghordy Viaduct in Llandovery.

The 850ft long viaduct is currently covered in scaffolding whilst Network Rail complete refurbishment work to the pillars and arches to maintain the original features of the 150 year-old structure which forms part of the Heart of Wales line.

The training day began with a first aid and patient trauma session to demonstrate the importance of stabilising a patient and the challenges faced when evacuating a patient from a scaffold structure like the viaduct. This was followed by a practical demonstration from fire fighters who abseiled from the top of the 100ft high structure to perform a mock rescue. In the afternoon a practical demonstration was conducted with a trauma patient rescued from the top of the 13 flights of scaffolding by stretcher, using rope and winch techniques, with Network Rail engineers on hand to support.

Chris Howchin programme manager at Network Rail Wales said: “Safety is at the heart of everything we do and this invaluable training day was a great success. It has not only enhanced our emergency planning but has also provided a practical demonstration for the onsite team of engineers if an injury was to occur whilst working on the viaduct. This structure itself also provided the fire service with a unique opportunity to complete this practical rescue training.

“We plan to build on this partnership working with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and our principal contractors and hope to conduct similar training days in the future at other Network Rail sites.”

Roger Thomas, corporate head of response for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Multi agency training exercises, such as this one at Cynghordy Viaduct, is essential to us as a Fire and Rescue Service to provide an effective operational response. It is our intention to build on this relationship with Network Rail Wales to maintain and improve our training programmes which will allow our crews to operate in unique and demanding environments.”

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.