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Electric effect

I was surprised to read Nick Pollard's claim (NCE 29 October) that electrification of the East Coast Main Line was carried out 'on the cheap' with little work to improve the track.

There are others who were more closely involved in the project who can speak with greater authority than I, but it is my recollection that a considerable amount of work was done within the limits of the existing formation to improve speed.

One result was the achievement of London to Edinburgh in 3 hours 59 minutes, a feat seldom equalled and certainly not bettered since.

Chris Polack (M), 25 Wigginton Road, York YO31 7HJ.

Bridge slide

The article in last week's NCE included a map purporting to locate the Dorney Bridge site within the extent of Maidenhead & Windsor flood relief scheme. Unfortunately it is incorrect.

The map actually shows the location of the 4,500t bridge slide at Chalvey which was completed earlier this year by Geoffrey Osborne using the licensed Autoripage technique. The bridge at Chalvey will also form an important part of the flood relief scheme by taking the channel beneath the Slough to Windsor railway line.

DC Hughes (F), engineering director, Osborne Rail, Geoffrey Osborne, Chichester PO19 2LL.

Getting the message

I was encouraged to read the synopsis of Trevor Allen's paper to the BEIT conference on the reduction of bureaucracy and the need for co-operation (NCE 29 October) in construction.

At last there is a realisation that Latham, Egan and CDM are all saying the same thing: that team approach, co-ordination of information, and a raising of standards generally will bring economies and also improve health, safety and welfare.

We have already introduced the philosophy of Latham/Egan into our health and safety plans by highlighting welfare provision, and requiring detailed appraisal of likely accidents to be undertaken at the start of a project.

As for unnecessary bureaucracy, I recently proposed reducing the scale of all plans by 50% - a sweeping statement but the fact is many are rendered worthless by virtue of their size. We have a long way to go.

Finally the Joint Board of Moderators realises the need for a proper emphasis on the teaching of health and safety and has recently issued guidelines to universities.

John Carpenter, Symonds Group, Clarendon House, Stamford New Road, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 1BY.

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