Memorandum by David Dalton (FOR 118)
THE FUTURE OF THE RAILWAYS
I have been in correspondence with Network Rail
concerning the condition of a heavily used section of railway
line at my local station, Kings Norton, Birmingham. The track
is used by Virgin intercity trains and also Central Trains fast
and local services. Approximately six to eight trains pass over
this section of track each hour.
The track is jointed and I have noticed a deterioration
in its condition over some months. I drew specific faults to the
attention of Network Rail back in June and have had to pester
them for adequate answers which I have never received a detailed
A Temporary speed restriction was imposed by
Network Rail on the section of track a few weeks after I wrote.
I have been told that this was because of faults found by the
Track Condition Recording Train.
There are three points that concern me.
(a) Would the speed restriction have been
imposed if the Track Condition Recording Train had not made a
run over this particular section of track?
(b) I witnessed a Virgin Voyager train pass
over the section of track at what I considered was an speed IN
EXCESS of the Temporary Speed Restriction. When I wrote to Virgin
Cross Country I was informed that no Temporary speed restriction
(c) With the recent hot weather I understand
that there was an increase in the number of rails buckling. The
section of track I wrote about has clearly not had the required
pre-hot weather maintenance carried out by Network Rail's contractors
and I wonder what proportion of track buckles this year have been
on jointed track and continuous welded track and what steps Network
Rail are taking to ensure that the pre-hot weather maintenance/destressing
that used to happen in British Rail days is being carried out?
I may add that I am a former member of British
Rail's Civil Engineering Department, Having had 30 years' service.
I have pleasure in placing this statement before