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10Feb94 UK: RAILTRACK BOSS VOWS TO GET TOUGH ON SUBBIES. 10Feb94 UK: BARKING BREAKTHROUGH - BALFOUR BEATTY/GEC ALSTHOM JV.

By Mark Court.Railtrack chief Gil Howarth this week warned he will throw off site any contractor caught using unapproved subcontractors when he takes over British Rail's £1 billion maintenance programme in April.Mr Howarth, director of major projects at Railtrack, warned he would not tolerate Dutch auctioning.He said: 'I have evidence that main contractors are putting in bids to British Rail with a particular list of approved subcontractors.'But once they win the work they haul the work around the industry to get a better price. That will be banned.'In a stern warning to contractors, he said: 'If there are any main contractors working for Railtrack not using approved subcontractors, I will stop the job and if necessary I will stop the whole railway.'Mr Howarth was speaking to an audience of more than 200 contractors and consultants hoping to cash in on Railtrack's massive track maintenance programme.But they reacted positively to Mr Howarth's tough line.One consultant said: 'It augurs well. He's going to keep contractors and consultants on their toes. And it will stop a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon.'Railtrack's uncompromising approach to tendering comes as top-level leaked documents from British Rail reveal concerns over the safety training of private contractors.In a memo to senior BR managers, British Rail's head of safety audit, Chris Dickinson, warns that 'many contractors undertaking safety training of would-be on-track staff have no knowledge of the standards involved and have no mechanism to obtain them officially'.Mr Dickinson is concerned about the lack of procedures for vetting organisations providing contractors with safety training.He says: 'We must ensure there are mechanisms for approval of training organisations and that these are supplied with the necessary information.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS