RAILTRACK HAS ordered trackside contractors to leave gaps in fences separating their sites from live rails after maintenance contractor GTRM expressed fears for the safety of track inspectors.
Last month GTRM contacted Railtrack assessment and safety director for the West Coast Main Line (WCML) Ian Willits to register its concerns.
It warned the track operator that it would be unable to carry out inspection work unless inspectors could leave track alongside construction sites more easily.
GTRM is responsible for track inspections and maintenance work along the WCML currently undergoing a massive upgrade.
Temporary plastic fencing erected by trackside contractors to separate their sites from live rails is often several hundred metres long.
The contractor feared that such long lengths of unbroken fencing prevented inspectors from getting away from the line when trains approached.
Railtrack has now ordered all its trackside contractors to leave escape gaps every 40m.
Formal rules for using safety fencing are expected to be put in place by December, reflecting maintenance contractors' needs.
Orange plastic temporary fencing used to separate work sites from the track are secured by road pins driven in to the ground.