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Railtrack refute safety risk claims

PUBLISHED: 05:58 21 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 March 2010

RAILTRACK today refuted allegations that the line to Liverpool Street is a danger to passengers.

The Daily Mirror published pictures of the line between Liverpool Street and Colchester showing cracks in the track and missing bolts.

RAILTRACK today refuted allegations that the line to Liverpool Street is a danger to passengers.

The Daily Mirror published pictures of the line between Liverpool Street and Colchester showing cracks in the track and missing bolts.

But Railtrack has said that the faults do not represent an immediate safety risk.

A statement from the company said: "Experienced and senior engineers have studied the photos and although they show the track in a less than ideal state they do not represent an immediate safety risk.

"Railtrack and its maintenance contractor, Balfour Beatty, are presently conducting an investigation into the allegations, checks are being made and where necessary work will be undertaken."

The statement also reported that Balfour Beatty carry out weekly track patrols on this section of track and any safety issue is acted on immediately.

Peter Meades, spokesman for Anglia Railways also reassured passengers today that the track was safe.

He said: "As far as we are concerned that track is safe.

"Rail is still the safest from of transport and we have a very close day-to- day relationship with Railtrack."

It is Railtrack who is responsible for the state of the railways but Mr Meades said train drivers were the people keeping their eyes and ears on the track.

He said: "If there is any part of the track that we believe is unsafe then it is reported immediately so they can take the necessary action.

"One of the key functions of a train driver is the safety of the train and the passengers and if they notice any problems on the rail side they report it."

Train operators First Great Eastern also highlighted their confidence in Railtrack despite a leaked document to the national newspaper quoting Bob Breakwell, the firms director as saying the Colchester to Ipswich line was "dire" and gauge corner cracking was "still with us in a big way."

A statement from First Great Eastern today said: "(the company) has no reason to doubt that Railtrack is maintaining the Great Eastern main line to the highest standards and the company has every confidence in Railtrack's ability to provide a safe infrastructure."

The four lines going into London Liverpool Street, travelling through Essex are among the busiest in Western Europe.

But today's Mirror has claimed that the railway is crumbling, with missing bolts, broken sleepers, missing safety clips, buckled tracks, gauge corner cracking and dipped rails.

A rail worker from Balfour Beatty had taken the photos.

Many of the faults could lead to derailment and it was a missing bolt that has been pinpointed as the cause of the accident at Potters Bar last week, which left seven people dead.

And it was gauge corner cracking which caused the accident at Hatfield two years ago which killed four people.

Sabotage has still not been ruled out as the possible cause of the Potters Bar tragedy and Jarvis, the firm in charge of the line maintenance said that someone with knowledge of track mechanics might deliberately have vandalised the set of points.

Rail services today resumed at Potters Bar station for the first time since the tragic train crash 10 days ago.

The first train stopped at the reopened station at 5.08am - the 4.01am service from Peterborough to Kings Cross.

n Rail engineers discovered a faulty section of track during a routine inspection yesterday morning, causing train services between Ipswich and Felixstowe to be replaced by buses.

The problem was found close to the Derby Road station in Ipswich and was repaired before noon with services returning to normal in the afternoon.


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