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Inspections leave network in disarray

TRACK RENEWAL contractors were this week still carrying out extensive rail replacement work following the massive inspection operation launched after the Hatfield crash two weeks ago.

Last weekend 20,000 operatives were at work on emergency inspection and repairs across the entire network, which had largely shut down. In all 38.2km of track was relaid at 150 locations as train services were heavily disrupted.

Railtrack and the train operators also announced that next week they would would introduce a new timetable to take into account delays caused by speed restrictions imposed after the Hatfield crash.

This will mean passengers can only claim refunds for delays if their trains fail to run according to new train times. It will also reduce the compensation Railtrack has to pay the train operating companies.

Railtrack engineers and maintenance contractors have now inspected the whole network. A risk assessment was done from the inspections and a re-railing programme drawn up.

Significantly, a Railtrack statement said inspections had revealed no other sites with the extent of gauge corner cracking that was found at the site of the Hatfield crash.

The infrastructure operator admitted it made a mistake closing the West Coast Main Line in Scotland at short notice last week.

It promised to give at least 24 hours notice of any further line closures. Speed restrictions at 50 locations were were lifted after the weekend work.

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