An expert in railway signalling has declared that half of the signals on the approach to Paddington station are dangerous.
The claim was made by Roy Bell, an independant railway expert in a report commissioned by ASLEF, the train drivers' union. Mr Bell was formerly director of signal testing at British Rail and then Railtrack.
The report was compiled following a trip in a special train from Paddington. In the report Mr Bell states that 19 signals (8 controlling the approach into Paddington and 11 controlling trains leaving the station) are obscured by overhead equipment and bridges. A further 8 signals require modification.
The report recommends that the 19 signals identified should be taken out of use and that the number of signals on gantries should be minimised to simplify the drivers' task of interpreting them. Mr Bell further recommends that the tracks no longer be reversable (ie used in either direction), but should revert to "one-way" operation. He also recommends that trains should reduce speed to 25 mph on the approach to the station.
The report has been passed to tbe Health & Safety Executive who are to hold a meeting on Wednesday 20 Oct 1999 to decide on the re-opening of the line into Paddington. If the conclusions contained in the report are accepted, the station could remain closed until remedial work is completed.
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