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Rail investment could suffer, contractors warn

RAIL CONTRACTORS this week warned that investment in plant and innovative work systems will be hindered if Railtrack fails to inform them of spending plans.

The comments came in response to last week's news that a review of Railtrack's infrastructure spending had led to a drop in renewal work (NCE 22 October).

While many contractors claim to support Railtrack's desire to use a more business-oriented approach to renewal spending, they say that unless Railtrack shows consistency in its spending they will be unable to plan investment.

Jarvis Rail commercial director Rob Johnson said: 'We need to see a consistent application of money. Peaking and troughing will be detrimental to investment. We need consistent spending so we are able to relate our investment strategy to Railtrack's.'

Railtrack is using management consultant McKinsey to help it develop more objective ways of responding to contractors requests for spending on renewal work. This study coincides with reports of a surprise drop- off in track, signalling and structures renewal work.

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