RUSSIAN Railways announced at the end of March that its infrastructure maintenance business is to be restructured over the next two years, as part of the country’s ongoing railway reform programme.The first stage of the process is scheduled to take effect from the beginning of 2008. This will see track material supply departments restructured into four subsidiary companies responsible for ballast supply, sleeper supply, sleeper treatment and pointwork manufacture. This will be accompanied by the establishment of a new Central Board for Track Management, which would then be converted into a freestanding track maintenance company as a second stage in 2009. OAO RZD expects the reforms to open up of the market for track material supply and encourage external investment in modernisation of the national rail infrastructure.n