RAILTRACK WAS this week on course to beat targets to cut the number of broken rails following publication of the latest Health & Safety Executive (HSE) figures.
HSE data shows that the number of broken rails fell to 721 in the year to April, compared with 949 in the previous 12 months.
Last year's regulatory review stated that Railtrack will have an extra £1M added to its regulatory asset base for every broken rail it fixes beyond the Regulator's target.
Regulatory targets state that the figure must be lower than 765 by April and down to 615 by 2006.
HSE figures also show that last year signals passed at danger (SPADs) reduced from 568 to 446, although the number has risen again this year prompting the HSE to write to operators in July demanding improvements (NCE 5/12 July).
Track buckles dropped from 60 to 27, mostly due to weather changes. Buckling occurs when there is a sharp rise or fall in air temperature.
In the six months to last October's Hatfield crash, 202 broken rails had been detected. In the second six months, post Hatfield when the network was extensively checked, 504 were found.
There has been an emphasis on track inspections since Hatfield and over 880km of the network has been re-railed.