UK rips up its rail test track

14 November 2005

Keith Norman professed himself astounded and bitterly disappointed at the news that the government isto close the UK’s only railway test track. ‘This step formally announces that we have abandoned any involvement in the evolution of new rail services and technology,’ says Keith. ‘It is a sad day for British rail innovation, once the envy of the world.’

Asfordby - the only test track in the country – runs for 12 miles between Melton Mowbray and Nottingham. It was the track on which the Advanced Passanger Train was tested in the 1970s and was subsequently upgraded to test the Pendolinos. ‘If it is abandoned, it demonstrates that the government has no commitment to UK rail research. It is the loss of another major British sphere of achievement.’

There is a suggestion that a test track could be hired somewhere in France – but in ASLEF’s view the damage to research morale would be devastating.

‘Even more appalling is the fact that Alstom, the current owners of the track, have offered the facility to the Department for Transport for nothing,’ Keith said as he promised that the union would ensure that the test track will not go away quietly.

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