BETTER MAINTENANCE management has helped improve the condition of Scotland's rail network since privatisation, an engineer with its maintenance contractor claimed last week.
The improvements were set out in a paper by First Engineering maintenance technical director Steven Bell to the Railway Civil Engineers Association.
Rail maintenance quality on the network was thrown into question by this month's Potters Bar rail crash.
But Bell said that measurement of track line level and alignment by a recording coach in Scotland shows scores higher than those recorded prior to 1994.
Using statistical techniques, a recording coach measures the standard deviation of actual track condition such as level and alignment from the design values for the stretch being measured. A score of -80 represents total failure, while a score of 20 represents the perfect track.
Bell said that scores in Scotland before privatisation in 1994 were 7, falling to 5.5 between 1997-98, but were now being measured at 9.2.
Similar results had been noted around Manchester, and Bell said he expected that the picture would be repeated elsewhere across the rail network.
'We have had improvements due to better prioritising and use of track maintenance machinery technology, ' said Bell.
INFOPLUS www. nceplus.co.uk/magazine/ rail