Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Railtrack gives TOC investment plans the cold shoulder

RAILTRACK THIS week revealed that it is unhappy about allowing train operating companies to invest in its core network.

Railtrack head of regulation and government John Smith told a rail conference last week that TOC investment in infrastructure raised many technical and operational problems and should be limited to single-user spurs and stations.

Smith's comments appear directly to contradict shadow Strategic Rail Authority chairman Sir Alastair Morton. He stated in January that Railtrack could not meet the nation's infrastructure needs on its own and called for new sources of investment in Britain's railways.

But Smith said: 'We see pretty severe limitations with respect to the core network. Most of it is multiuser so the notion of an operator undertaking investment in a piece of infrastructure raises a host of contractual issues.

'It could be seen as fragmenting the basic network and involve operational issues such as group safety standards and performance issues. It would lead to a significant increase in the level of complexity.'

He added: 'The integrity of the basic rail infrastructure - rails, signals and operations - are Railtrack's key business as network owner/operator of a multiuser railway. I have difficulty with alternatives.'

Smith said TOC investment was best suited to new connections to the existing network such as freight-only lines where there is no multiuser access. He added there was also considerable scope for TOCs to develop stations to become integrated transport 'gateways' to the railway.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.