Sir - I suggest that the comparisons made between Europe and North America in the article ’Gauge corner cracking becomes a very dangerous beast’ (RG 12.00 p810) miss the mark in a number of respects. For example, Railtrack has no effective data on rail profiles, nor undertakes effective grinding programmes.

There is a wealth of information available on rail management by reference to railway engineering conference proceedings of the past 20 or more years. The issues of optimal rail hardness and management of wear and fatigue are particularly well researched. One of the best recent references relevant to your article and the ’collapse [into] chaos’ (p807) is: Rolling Contact Fatigue of Rails: Characteristics, Causes & Treatments, Grassie & Kalousek, 6th IHHA Conference, Cape Town, 1997.

Fred Mau

Sydney, Australia