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Sunday, 19 November, 2000, 15:03 GMT
Sleeper link back on track
Gauge corner cracking
Gauge corner cracking is being investigated
ScotRail sleeper services between Scotland and London are expected to resume for the first time in a fortnight.

The services were halted due to an emergency track maintenance programme and flooding in parts of England.

But ScotRail was expected to restore its link from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London from Sunday night.

The company said the trains would take two hours longer than normal because of speed restrictions in place following the Hatfield crash.
Passengers
Passenger journeys have been hit

And services from Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William are still suspended.

The new service will leave Glasgow and Edinburgh earlier than normal, with passengers facing longer journey times.

ScotRail has been unable to produce a timetable for northern sleeper services because the extended journey times would breach safety rules for staff.

"We are examining ways of restoring the Highlander as soon as possible," said managing director Alastair McPherson.

The move came as a number of speed restrictions were being lifted on Scotland's main rail lines following progress to improve the track.

Speed limits

Railtrack confirmed that its rail recovery programme had advanced well over the last few weeks.

That meant temporary restrictions on the West Coast Main Line were being removed on Saturday, while speed limits on the track between Sheildmuir south and Garriongill will be lifted on Monday.

One restriction on the east coast line will also go this weekend, but the Edinburgh to Glasgow service is still subject to a 25 minute delay. It will not return to normal until late December.

The speed restrictions have heavily affected services and inconvenienced passengers.

But Railtrack said they were necessary in order to tighten up its criteria on gauge corner cracking.

Line closed

The company introduced temporary speed limits in the wake of the Hatfield crash, which killed four men.

There was chaos when the west coast line was closed between Glasgow and Carlisle at short notice on 25 October.

After the line was re-opened Railtrack announced it was introducing the speed limits on 14 stretches of Scottish track.

They were among the 350 sites across the UK where the company identified hairline cracks on rails.

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See also:

08 Nov 00 | Scotland
Trains face new speed limits
04 Nov 00 | Scotland
Rail woes continue for passengers
04 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Rail misery continues
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