Much is made by politicians and the media of a lack of investment in railways during the British Rail era, and they seem to imply that more investment in new infrastructure is the answer to the railway's problems.
Of course it is not. Apart from major route improvements such as the West Coast Main Line, this new build investment applies to only a small fraction of the total route mileage. The remainder of the network needs to be maintained in a state fully fit for the traffic using it, which of course includes renewal of assets when necessary.
Many seem to forget that the new assets also need to be maintained along with infrastructure not subject to new investment.
Today, Railtrack is failing to maintain many of its assets adequately and badly needs to get a grip on its problems.
Could this be, perhaps, in part due to Railtrack's lack of senior posts designated 'Engineer'?
It was not so in British Rail days. I can speak with authority for Western Region of which I was chief civil engineer from 1975 to 1983. With the money available, my staff achieved a structurally sound, tidy, and smooth riding railway.
P Rees, 27 Glenavon Close, Claygate, Esher KT10 0HP