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Railtrack faces prosecution for failing to protect track workers


HER MAJESTY'S Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) this week pledged to act against Railtrack for failing to implement track worker safety improvements Inspectors are still deciding what action to take against the infrastructure operator, under pressure from the rail unions.

Options include serving prohibition notices, enforcement action and prosecution.

Railtrack had been due to introduce the new RTDP050 track working standard this week, after abandoning it for the second time last month as it would have reduced performance (NCE 22 November). The standard is intended to restrict maintenance and inspection work on live track.

Rail unions have attacked the HMRI for failing to ensure Railtrack made the improvements.

Five rail workers have died on the network in the last 14 months.

The standard would have implemented some of the recommendations in an HMRI report given to Railtrack last year.

'We are committed to the recommendations made in the report and are very concerned Railtrack has not complied with them, ' an HMRI spokesman said.

HMRI is delaying a decision on what action to take because of the expected national impact.

But union sources claimed the inspectorate was impotent and 'sitting in session seemingly unable to do anything.'

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