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2000-11-09 DET-001
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


Rail industry brief Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Rail industry brief Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

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2000-11-02 Prescott maintains momentum towards rail recovery (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions)

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2000-10-19 Statement from Railtrack (Railtrack plc)


9 November 2000
source Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
type Press release

note News Release 693

Mike Grant, Chief Executive, shadow Strategic Rail Authority, Gerald Corbett Chief Executive, Railtrack and Richard Brown Chairman, Association of Train Operating Companies today briefed the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on progress in setting up the national track recovery plan, which is intended to provide sustainable timetables for rail services.

The severe flooding that has struck many parts of the country has seriously hindered recovery plans.

Considerable progress has been made in the technical work following the Hatfield derailment to inspect the rail network and establish a programme for re-railing sections at risk from gauge corner cracking. Railtrack confirmed that nearly 3000 sites have now been checked. 150 speed restrictions have been lifted since the Hatfield crash, but over 500 remain in place. Removing them all will require replacing 250 miles of track and 850 points and crossings. Railtrack have established a plan for the re-railing work, but it still requires some refinement and discussion with operators.

Several train companies, such as South West Trains, Merseyrail, C2C, Scotrail and Chiltern are running near normal services. The Hatfield line will be open to passenger services tomorrow. However, the effects of flooding, speed restrictions following the Hatfield crash and leaf-fall continue to disrupt most of the network.

It will not be possible to establish the full extent of flood damage until the waters have subsided and bridges, embankments and other structures have been checked. It is already clear that it will take several weeks to reopen some stretches of line, such as London-Brighton, where an embankment has collapsed, and Swindon-Gloucester, where there is a partial tunnel collapse.

The industry can begin to put together a sustainable timetable, but it cannot be completed with any reliability until the extent of flood damage is known. Subject to any further weather disruptions, they hope that a sustainable timetable will be able to come into force from Monday 20 November. While speed restrictions remain in force services will need to be reduced on the lines affected. Weekends will continue to suffer additional disruption to enable rerailing work to be carried out. But passengers will know which trains will actually run and how long their journey will take.

The industry also reported back on efforts they are making to improve information to passengers. Extra staff have been taken on to deal with enquiries, and steps have been taken to improve telephone and internet access to up-to-date information.

SSRA Chief Executive Mike Grant said:

"The coming together of storms, flooding, leaf fall and speed restrictions has led to a very difficult period for rail passengers. Last week's flooding has made it impossible to establish sustainable timetables yet. But the industry is taking steps to improve passenger information. And everyone is working extremely hard to establish the Track Recovery Programme which will put us on the way back to normal service. We are discussing with the industry the issue of compensation to passengers."

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said:

"Everyone will understand the difficulty that flooding has caused for the railways, as it has for many other aspects of life at the moment. Thousands of rail staff and contractors have been undertaking an unprecedented rail inspection programme which will result in better safety. The SRA will maintain the momentum to keep the industry working together in order to identify the scope of the problem, get the track back in good order and keep the public informed at all stages. We will review with the industry next week the progress they have made and make a further statement on implementation of a sustainable timetable and train services over Christmas and the New Year."


Media enquiries 020 7944 3108; 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 ::: 2000-11-09 DET-001


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