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Sidetrack

01 Mar 1999

Play on, play on

IN A BID to brighten up some of its stations, which our correspondent describes as 'architecturally challenging', and improve passengers' perceptions of security, Rotterdam metro has decided to introduce live music. Rules on busking are to be eased, and itinerant musicians will be encouraged to come and enhance passengers' travel experiences. To ensure a reasonable level of quality, RET will require buskers to audition for a pitch, and staff will monitor programme content.

Mosquito alert

VISITORS to New Zealand should not be surprised to find railway staff peering under piles of junk or behind sheds in Wellington's harbour terminal. Tranz Rail's Environmental Manager Kirsty Ferguson has launched a 'bacterial management plan' to improve biosecurity at all railway installations within 400 m of a port.

The move follows a couple of incidents which risked a prosecution under the New Zealand Health Act of 1956. Last year some exotic Asian mosquitoes were found in a freight consignment at Wellington, which required most of the adjacent freight terminal, piles of old tyres and other junk to be fumigated. NZ is very sensitive about mosquitoes, as it is one of the few Pacific countries where the malaria carriers are not found.

Sidetrack readers may recall another episode a couple of years ago, when some second-hand diesel locomotives imported from Queensland were found to have poisonous ants nesting inside the underframe. These had to be fumigated and isolated for a month before being taken for overhaul.

Dieter

Dieter is on holiday this month. But even hidden away in a desert resort somewhere in the Middle East there are some railway worries he has not been able to leave behind entirely