BRITAIN'S RAILWAY network has seen a 10% rise in the number of broken rails.
The increase runs contrary to predictions made earlier this year in Railtrack's Network Management Statement.
Figures to be published in the Health & Safety Executive's 1998 rail safety report next week show that broken rails have increased from 731 to 801. The increase on Railtrack's lines is from 701 to 756.
This contradicts the network manager's own figures published in March this year, which showed an expected constant level in broken rail figures as part of an overall decline.
The HSE report will also show that there has been a slight increase in broken rails per million miles of rail travel, from 2.34 to 2.46.
'The reason for the discrepancy is that we were wrong with our original estimate,' said a Railtrack spokesman. 'Since then we have had an accelerated programme for broken rails.'