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The BBC's Simon Montague
"The warning from Railtrack is that more delays are inevitable"
 real 56k

Friday, 27 October, 2000, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Speed curbs put on rail lines
Checking rails for
Railtrack is checking for fatigue in the rails
Railtrack has imposed speed limits on 14 stretches of line in Scotland following the Hertfordshire crash in which four people died.

They are among up to 350 sites across the UK network where 1,850 hairline cracks on rails have been identified.

The problem of "gauge corner cracking" has been identified only within the past 12 months and is suspected of triggering the Hatfield crash, Railtrack said.

It warned passenger delays could worsen, as a further 150 sites - on top of the 206 already under temporary speed restrictions - are inspected.

Speed limits of 20mph have been imposed on the following 14 stretches of track in Scotland:

  • Rutherglen junction and Newton West junction

  • Lanark junction-Ravenstruther

  • Carluke-Cleghorn

  • Bowling-Kilpatrick

  • Finnieston East-Hyndland

  • Kinghorn-Burntisland

  • Carntyne-Bellgrove

  • Shieldmuir-Garriongill

  • Knightswood North-Finnieston East

  • Ayton

  • Inverurie-Oyne

  • Boundry-Reston (two sections)

  • Arbroath.

Elsewhere, South London's Clapham Junction, one of the busiest spots on the railway, is earmarked for mass disruption this weekend as engineers prepare to replace rails.

Railtrack's announcement follows Thursday's ultimatum of two weeks for train companies to come up with a national recovery plan for the rail network.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said, after an emergency rail summit with leading industry figures, that passengers deserved a much better idea of what improvements can be expected.

Glasgow Central station
The West Coast line was shut
The chairman of the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority, Sir Alastair Morton, said the emergency summit on Thursday had agreed on a four-step programme.

The first was to identify problem areas, which should be completed by next week.

Railtrack pledged to give at least 24 hours' notice before closing any more lines, after apologising for the chaos caused when it suddenly shut the busy West Coast Main Line between Glasgow and Carlisle on Wednesday.

It has now been re-opened ahead of schedule.

Railtrack chief executive Gerald Corbett said the worst should be over by next Wednesday when most of the inspections will be completed.

Meanwhile, GNER has categorically denied that it is planning to drop its Edinburgh to Aberdeen service.

The claim was made by Create, the Campaign for Rail Electrification, based on comments made by GNER's chief executive to a newspaper.

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See also:

26 Oct 00 | Scotland
Delays warning as track reopens
24 Oct 00 | Talking Point
Scotland: Rail line closure - your views
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