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Speed restrictions may be unsafe

 DA! : Friday November 24, 2000
photo : bbc online
An Intercity 225 train was derailed at Hatfield by a broken rail

is to seek to remove more train speed restrictions amid claims that the safety measure is endangering rather than increasing passenger safety.

The embattled rail infrastructure company will discuss lifting restrictions with the Health and Safety Executive on Monday.

Sir Alastair Morton had privately told Government ministers that passengers would be safer if speed restrictions were removed and trains allowed to run normally. Other experts said drivers could pass through danger signals as they were preoccupied with pages of speed-restriction data.

Government sources have attempted to play down the fresh safety fears, explaining that the number of signals passed at danger (SPADs) had fallen last month compared with October 1999 and that the November 2000 figure was also expected to be lower than the same month last year.

So far, about 200 speed restrictions have been lifted and Railtrack has re-railed around 90 miles of track. But a further 200 miles of re-railing is still needed, although the company hopes to do much of this around Christmas and the new year.

BBC Online: Speed limits danger claims rejected 25/11/2000
Annanova: Railtrack seeking to lift speed restrictions 24/11/2000
BBC Online: Speed limits 'threaten rail safety' 24/11/2000

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This file last updated: Monday, 27-Nov-2000 13:10:56 EST
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