Yesterday RMT disseminated a photo that it said showed a 300mm gap in crumbling track on the InterCity East Coast Mainline at Colton Junction just south of York.
However, Network Rail route managing director Phil Verster denies there was any failure in the systems. He said: “As soon as we knew about the crack in this rail we stopped all trains and rectified the problem. This was managed within all safety standards and was in no way affected by changes to staffing levels.
“A minor defect in the rail – not a crack – was picked up by our monitoring train on 12 November. A rail replacement was scheduled for 9 December and the defect was maintained on 21 November. On 21 November there was no crack in the rail. Weekly inspections of this defect were completed. This is fully compliant with best practice and industry standards.
“The rail deteriorated, which was identified by a train driver on the neighbouring line at 12.01 on Wednesday 28 November. We immediately stopped all trains from travelling over the fault and the track was replaced by 19.37 that evening. Safety issues will never be compromised in the name of managing costs.”
Network Rail said that the speed restriction referred to by the RMT was not on this section of line and has no relation to this fault.