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Virgin threatens Railtrack with £10M fine

RAILTRACK FACES a fine of up to £10M if any more delays are caused to Virgin Rail services, it was revealed this week.

Virgin Rail has agreed to give Railtrack until 24 September before issuing a formal performance order for failure to properly maintain the network. The action follows an incident at Euston station, where a power cable was cut, causing massive delays to services.

The performance order is part of the Virgin Railtrack West Coast Main Line upgrade contract. It states that if Railtrack contractors cause delays, Virgin can sue for up to £10M a year.

This is the first time Virgin has threatened to use the option.

The incident happened at Euston station on 16 August, during part of the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme works. An operative from Clough-Smith Rail, subcontractor for Westinghouse Signals, damaged the cable while removing old signalling.

It was the latest in a number of similar incidents at Euston and at Proof House junction near Birmingham.

Railtrack has organised a conference in early September to review procedures.

Virgin said it would support any measures that reduce risk of delays. A spokesman said it had agreed to hold off until 24 September so that decisions from the conference could be implemented.

Virgin Train chief executive Chris Green said 'I recognise that Railtrack is now taking action needed to rectify unnecessary delays on the West Coast Main Line. They can be assured of our fullest support in implementing the measures.'

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