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Old 30-11-2017, 10:54 AM   #1
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Default ... and RailTrack have a bad reputation amongst some!

Or direct without the background story:

I know some of you have worked on the railways in real life, but my money is on you never having to do this regularly in your day job.

Last edited by ians; 30-11-2017 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 30-11-2017, 12:37 PM   #2
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Look at any railway track through a magnified lens and the straight rail look bent and bowed.......
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Old 30-11-2017, 02:26 PM   #3
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We've had that video on here before. The track is very bad but I doubt as bad as it looks, foreshortening can play tricks to eyes.
NURSE,the screens!
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Old 30-11-2017, 02:44 PM   #4
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Railtracks reputation were not actually their fault as when the railways were privatized, the concept was to get as many small companies involved as possible for the good of fairness, and helping the economy of the country etc.
Now while we had many new train operating companies, they created Railtrack as a private company which was responsible for the track network and signalling etc. Now Railtrack were paid by the train operating companies for the passage of trains... This money they used to maintain the rails and pay wages of their signalmen etc. If a train was late due to its own doing (E.g. broken down or passenger of freight issue) then it would be fined, and if trains were late due to the infrastructure or track repairs etc, then Railtrack would be fined. It was all done with everyones best interest at heart.
However, issues started arising as to encourage as many companies as possible to get involved, Railtrack themselves were not allowed to do any rail work, and it all had to be contracted out. So far so good in theory. A company who put in a tender to complete a repair in good faith, could have another more urgent repair to be called out to fix, for example a broken rail. The original repair could be contracted out and the contractor who was now not able to do the original repair (To keep things fair) could still earn itself a small amount in profit by having another completing the work for a lesser price should another company wish to take on the work. So far it is not a big issue, but in reality, a few companies soon learnt that they could earn money by doing nothing, and as the system had to be seen as fair, the subcontractors could subcontract themselves and at extremes, for every 1000 spent by Railtrack, sometimes only 100 reached the cost of the labour and materials used on the repair itself. Clearly the system wasn't working, and unfortunately things came to a head after a couple of unfortunate accidents.
A serious look at what led to the accidents was able to uncover the root issues as to the shortcomings of the system and the result was Network Rail which now was government run and all repairs and maintenance were brought under Network Rails control. Problem solved...

Regarding the rails in the picture and video, there are a few areas in the UK that have similar issues and it has nothing to do with a lack of maintenance. Notice the sleepers (Rail ties) are wooden sleepers and sectional rail sections are used. This is the only way to deal with rails layer in problematic marshy conditions. Laying a railway over a marsh sometimes could not be avoided. Some railways settled down well and one or two became the smoothest sections of railway around. Some other places, however have been constantly problematic. For example, if you leave Carmarthen and head towards Swansea, just after passing the signalbox and nearing the river all was well for about 150 years of railway. Then around the 1980's the trackbed started to sink. They could no longer use the modern concrete sleepers with continuously welded rail for two reasons. One is that concrete sleepers need to have a level bed to lay them on to avoid them breaking, (Wood sleepers have a degree of flex, why they are preferred for pointwork) and due to the constant need to put new ballast down due to the marsh claiming what it put into it, sectional rail is used as it can be taken up and relayed easily every time they correct the level of the ballast underneath. Over the years, they have put thousands and thoustons of tons ofballast and tried membranes etc and they still have to work on it as the track starts to sink. The narrower sections of rail bend better and so prevent the rails fracturing. The area near Carmarthen has a noticeably low speed restriction over the area to prevent the movement of trains from disturbing the ballast too much, and to prevent any track sinking from causing a possible accident.
So when you have put the video up, it is not necessarily the rail companies fault, but I agree that the line has sunk again and needs more work (With some difficult marshy sections the rails can end up looking in a state like that in less then a week of running!).
Of corse, it could just be a lack of maintenance in the area or even a combination of both marsh and lack of maintenance, but I doubt it due to the sheer huge costs should a train ever leave the rails.

Last edited by Mountain Goat; 30-11-2017 at 02:46 PM.
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