I WAS surprised while watching a TV programme recently about Paddington station to learn that wooden railway sleepers are still in use – to use a cliche, I thought they had gone out with the ark.

Apparently a passenger train had derailed at one of the platforms because a wooden sleeper had rotted and become unstable, and consequently unable to support the rails and weight of the train.

Thankfully no one was hurt, but it raised the questions – had this been missed in a check and how often are checks on these platform lines carried out, and why are wooden sleepers still in use?

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As an ex-signalman, I know that main lines and branch lines are maintained to the highest of standards, but I have to raise my concern over the maintenance of platform lines at stations. No doubt rail officials will refute my concerns, and I know that passenger safety is always first and foremost at all times.

This programme, however, was certainly an eye opener.

Geoff Gregg, Tursdale