Sir - The report on activities of the Eurobalt consortium researching hidden secrets in ballasted track (RG 12.00 p813) was most valuable and permitted some insights into the ongoing battle for reducing maintenance needs.

I wonder, however, why the biggest progress in the recent past, namely the mechanisation of on-track work, was not reflected. Mechanisation has brought much improved uniformity into all parameters, extending even to subsoil-condition if mechanised sand-blanketing is taken as an example. The development of track machines is based on close observation of track behaviour and aims at the common goal of cost reduction.

Railway companies often take little advantage of the most progressive developments and rather claim shortcomings than seek remedies. The Dynamic Track Stabiliser, for instance, has proved its worth in many places and environments, in scientific investigations and practical applications. But companies need to accept, understand and believe research results if they are to harvest the desired improvements.

Prof Dipl-Ing Dr techn Klaus Rie§berger

Graz, Austria