The report, commisoned by the government shortly after the tragedy at Paddington last October suggests that 'safety responsibility should be left with Railtrack, but in a subsidiary company.' At the time of the accident in which 31 people died, there was considerable public anxiety about the role of safety being inthe hands of Railtrack, a private company. Concerns were widely expressed about the ability of the company to balance the profit motive with its safety obligations. John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister said that he wanted rail safety to be overseen by an independent organisation.
It is expected however that Mr Prescott will shorlty announce that Railtrack will keep its safety role.
In a vitriolic statement, the shadow transport spokesman, Bernard Jenkin said that the Deputy Prime Minister had been "found out" by the report and described his orignal announcement on Railtrakc's role as "a sordid, petty and irresponsible political manoeuvre". He said "It stank then and it stinks even more now."
It is understood that Mr Prescott remains committed to an independent safety body. This will be one of the the considerations of the Cullen Inquiry into the Paddington Disaster.
The Train Operating Companies (TOCs) are divided on the issue. The Association of Train Operating Companies and South West Trains believe that Railtrack should retain its safety role. Others are less certain. Virgin Trains Chief Executive stressed the need for the independence of the safety role stating " it is important to ensure its independence by distancing it as much as possible from the Railtrack executive."
Railtrack is the organisation that owns Britain's railway infrastructure. It is responsible for maintaining it and controls track access.
Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
Paddington Rail Tragedy
05 Oct 1999
02 Sep 2001
At least 8 killed in Belgian Train Crash
27 Mar 2001
Train carrying empty nuclear flasks derailed
02 Mar 2001
SELBY: Crash death toll "may be lower"
02 Mar 2001
UK: Selby-13 dead in Selby train crash
28 Feb 2001
UK: Several feared injured in Yorkshire train crash
28 Feb 2001
COMMENT: Push - Pull - the Hidden Dangers
by R H State
Seven days . . .
. . . web focus on rail safety and accidents in the last week
Copyright © David Fry 1999