Joint Emergency Response Unit launched in Scotland

Joint Emergency Response Unit launched in Scotland

Published: Thursday, 31 July
British Transport Police and Network Rail have launched a joint Emergency Response Unit to help reduce delays on Scotland’s railways during the Commonwealth Games.

Emergency Response Unit

As thousands of spectators flock to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, a specially equipped 4x4 vehicle, carrying a range of specialist equipment on board, will be deployed in Scotland for the first time.

In normal circumstances, BTP and Network Rail attend incidents separately, but during the busy games period they will travel together in the marked police vehicle to respond quickly, allowing the rail operator and national police force to deal with certain types of railway incident, such as trespassing or vandalism, and builds on the successful use of similar teams during the London Olympics in 2012.


Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird, Divisional Commander for BTP Scotland said:

“BTP and Network Rail are extremely well-prepared and taking every measure possible to ensure Scotland’s rail network is kept moving during the Commonwealth Games.

“These resources will immediately respond to incidents which could affect services and ensure trains and passengers are on the move again as quickly as possible.”

David Dickson, Network Rail’s route managing director for Scotland, added: “We have spent months preparing the railway for this summer’s event – refurbishing and renewing equipment and enhancing our maintenance regimes on key games routes.

“We will also be deploying considerable resources, including the new response unit, across the greater Glasgow rail network during the games to respond as quickly and effectively as possible to any issues that occurs.”

Observation from the air

In addition to the new Emergency Response Unit, trained BTP air observers will also be helping to man Network Rail’s infrastructure inspection helicopter – using the aerial vantage-point to survey the network for potential problems and if necessary direct officers on the ground.

Trained Air Observer Nicky is working with colleagues from Network Rail to keep infrastructure disruption to a minimum, by utilising the state-of-the art Eurocopter – call sign Osprey 66 - to survey for potential problems and direct officers on the ground where necessary.

Nicky said: “Our usual sortie takes us over all the main routes throughout central Scotland and we check for anything that could affect services. It’s a great example of partners working together to keep trains and passengers moving during the Commonwealth Games.”

During the first week of the Games the aerial team received a report of trespassers on the line near Holytown station and following communication with their colleagues on the ground the group were located and dealt with accordingly. Also, a 45-year-old man was arrested for trespassing after being observed by the crew on the tracks in the Carmyle area of Glasgow.

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