Railtrack warned over broken rails

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The Independent Online
RAILTRACK WAS given a stern warning by the industry's regulator yesterday to improve safety on lines because of fears over the high number of broken rails.

Tim Winsor, the rail regulator, has written to Railtrack's chief executive, Gerald Corbett, to express his concern that 937 broken rails were discovered on tracks last year. The number of broken rails far exceeds Railtrack's own forecast for 1998-99 of 600. In his letter to Mr Corbett, Mr Winsor questions the effectiveness of Railtrack's asset management. "I can accept that several influences may be at work, but it is imperative that Railtrack plans, and succeeds in carrying through, actions to reverse the recent trend and significantly drive down the number of these incidents," Mr Winsor said.

Mr Winsor said he now required further evidence from Railtrack - responsible for the infrastructure of the rail network - to show how the company was tackling the problem.

Railtrack said it was doing all it could to rectify the problem of broken rails and pounds 90m was being invested on improving the track. "Together with the regulator we recognise the importance of a safe, reliable railway," a spokeswoman said.