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2000-11-02 DET-002
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

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Prescott maintains momentum towards rail recovery


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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Prescott maintains momentum towards rail recovery
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date
2 November 2000
source Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
type Press release

note News Release 670


The Deputy Prime Minister today held a further meeting with representatives of the rail industry to review progress towards the national track recovery plan announced last week.

The industry confirmed that the national track recovery plan would be ready by the end of next week, though the continuing bad weather is inevitably hampering progress. To date 1800 sites have been inspected including all the priority sites. Further intensive work is planned for this weekend and all priority sites will have been ultrasonically examined by Sunday. Passengers should expect to see improvements next week, and a steady improvement thereafter.

Commenting on the meeting Mr Prescott said:

"A considerable amount of work has gone on. Passengers can now have much greater confidence in the state of the track. I am sure everyone is grateful for the tremendous efforts of the thousands of rail staff who have been undertaking this important work in very difficult conditions. Passengers will understand that further extensive work will of course disrupt services. But, weather permitting, delays should be reduced steadily over the coming weeks and a reliable emergency timetable will be in place by the end of next week.

"Railtrack must of course satisfy the Health and Safety Executive that their actions have properly addressed the safety issues raised, and that where there is any reason for concern that any section of track may not be safe appropriate action has been taken."

Mr Prescott stressed the need to get better information to passengers on the timetables now in operation. He said:

"Passengers understand that the programme of track repairs and the bad weather have made it impossible to run to normal timetables. But they must know what the new timetables are. At the meeting today the train operators have agreed to put in place emergency timetables for next week and to publicise them in advance through the media and the National Rail Enquiry Service.

"Information for passengers has not been good enough so far. I have asked the Rail Passengers Council and Committees to discuss with train operators how to improve information for passengers."

Mr Prescott said that he would convene a further meeting next Thursday to ensured that the industry and others were on course to recover from the current disruption.

Notes for editors

The meeting was attended by:

The Secretary of State for Transport, John Prescott
Transport Minister, Keith Hill
Welsh Assembly Secretary for Planning, Environment and Transport, Sue Essex
Chairman of the shadow Strategic Rail Authority, Sir Alastair Morton
The Rail Regulator, Tom Winsor
Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission, Bill Callaghan
Director General of the Health and Safety Executive, Timothy Walker
Chief Executive of Railtrack, Gerald Corbett
Chairman of the Rail Passengers' Council, Stewart Francis


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Media enquiries 020 7944 4671; Out of hours: 020 7944 5925 or 5945
Public Enquiries Unit 020 7944 3000
E-mail: press@dtlr.gov.uk
Web site http://www.dtlr.gov.uk/


Railhub Archive ::: 2000-11-02 DET-002





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