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Train operator dismisses safety fears

PUBLISHED: 04:07 20 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 March 2010

A LEADING Suffolk train operator has insisted that the track to Liverpool Street is safe, despite damning pictures of missing bolts and cracked rails.

But their competitor has described the line from Colchester to Ipswich as "dire".

A LEADING Suffolk train operator has insisted that the track to Liverpool Street is safe, despite damning pictures of missing bolts and cracked rails.

But their competitor has described the line from Colchester to Ipswich as "dire".

Railtrack is now studying the evidence showing the line from Liverpool Street to Colchester, after a national newspaper published photos of the crumbling track.

Peter Meades, a spokesman for Anglia Railways is confident that the track is safe.

But in a leaked report to the national newspaper, Bob Breakwell, director of the First Great Eastern Line was quoted as saying the Colchester to Ipswich line as "dire" with "gauge corner cracking still with us in a big way."

However Mr Meades, has today insisted that he believes the line is still 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 eyes and ears of 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 rail side they report it."

The four lines going into London Liverpool Street, travelling through Essex are one of 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.

First Great Eastern Railways and Balfour Beatty were not available for comment as the Evening Star went to press.

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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