The liability crisis that rail contractors faced earlier this year has eased, according to Network Rail.

A spokesman for Network Rail (formerly known as Railtrack) said that, despite the panic to obtain cover over the past few months, small contractors had eventually managed to acquire it.

In August, Network Rail said it was working with Aon to set up an insurance pool for railway consultants. The contractors were in danger of going out of business as they were having difficulties purchasing liability cover.

The intended launch date for the pool was the end of September. This was delayed, but the spokesman said the project was "still ongoing".

Network Rail hopes to offer statutory employers' liability cover as a minimum, and public liability to a low level of indemnity.

He explained the need for cover had lessened in the last couple of months, making the situation less urgent.

"At the moment the contractors all have insurance - they have managed to get it," he said.

But the company was still looking at devising a comprehensive policy to offer them, he said.

A series of rail disasters in recent years, including Ladbroke Grove, Potters Bar and Hatfield, has resulted in the insurance industry's reluctance to insure rail workers.