SCORES of rail workers in the region are picking up wages of £1,000 a day to continue track repairs during the Christmas and New Year period.

Some of the staff are expected to pick up £3,000 if they have worked Christmas Day and Boxing Day and go on to work New Year's day.

The incentives come as Railtrack presses to keep up with its repairs schedule. The track engineers are being paid two to three times their normal rate, with an extra cash payment for completion on time.

It is believed thousands of the workers, specialist signal engineers and people who fit the train protection warning systems linking the engine brakes to signals, have taken up the extra cash across the country.

Workers started their festive efforts when passenger trains stopped running at midnight on Christmas Eve and have been toiling around the clock in shifts until the early hours of today.