RAILTRACK WILL exert greater control over contractors carrying out track maintenance work, NCE was told this week.
The company plans to set up an engineering and planning unit for each region that will direct contractors on work to be done and when, though the contractor will still carry out the inspections.
The move follows criticism after October 2000's Hatfield crash that Railtrack had no control over maintenance.
Railtrack will introduce the management system over contractor Balfour Beatty in the Wessex region by June. It will then be set up across the operator's southern region. Railtrack director of maintenance delivery, former ICE chief executive, Mike Casebourne will oversee the changes.
It will submit a new safety case to the Health and Safety Executive reflecting the changes in responsibility. Previously, Railtrack had delegated responsibility for the safety case, which outlines how work is carried out, to its contractors.
Technical director Richard Middleton, who outlined the changes to contractors last week, told NCE that the move was an attempt to 'gain control' and a reflection of the new emphasis on engineering at Railtrack The changes are in line with recommendations that Railtrack should take more control made in a report by the Transport Select Committee last week.
Maintenance spending under the new system will rise by 12% to £900M in 2002/03 while spending on renewals will rise 20% to £1.5bn.
Steve Turner www. nceplus.co.uk/magazine/ rail