Paddington station to re-open
: Wednesday, October 20, 1999
Paddington station is to re-open on Wednesday despite warnings from an expert in railway signalling that half of
the signals at the approaches to the station are dangerous.
In the light of Roy Bell's findings and then the decision to re-open the line from Ladbroke Grove to Paddingron, would you feel safe travelling into or out of Paddington station?
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The station will re-open at 23:59 on 20 October 1999 - 15 days after the collision between 2 trains at Ladbroke Grove wich claimed at least 30 lives.
The announcement followed a meeting on Tuesday afternoon between the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Railtrack and Roy Bell who compiled a report which pointed to numerous shortcomings in the signals at Paddington. The HSE accepted Railtrack's proposals for changes to enhance safety at Paddington.
The number of trains operating into and out of the station will be reduced at peak periods, although off-peak services will not be affected. The speeds of trains will be adjusted with the maximum speed reduced to 40 mph in places. The line, which is controlled by signal sn109 which has been implicated in the Ladbroke Grove disaster will not be in use.
Paddington station is completely safe according to Richard Middleton the commercial director of railtrack. He said "We have carried out some alterations of the signalling, we have lowered the speed on the approaches to the station. And I would like to reassure users of mainline services into Paddington that it is completely safe to travel on."
In a report, compiled at the request of the train drivers' union ASLEF, Mr Bell identified 19 signals which should be taken out of use because of sighting difficulites due to overhead equipment and bridges. He also identified a further 8 signals which require modification. Amongst his recommendations, he suggested a speed limit reduction to 25 mph.
Railtrack has announced that a revised timetable for Paddington trains will be available shortly.
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