Britain's railways are to get a new safety system designed to prevent trains from passing a danger signal.
The system called Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is designed to prevent "SPADs" (Signal Passed At Danger). It will automatically stop trains if they pass a signal set against them is likely to cost around £150m.
Railtrack, will be told by Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott to install the system "at key junctions and other danger points across the network". The cost of achieving this will be around £100m and will be bourne by Railtrack. The Train Operating Companies (TOCs) will be required to install the equipment in all their trains and locomotives at a cost of about £50m.
TPWS should be installed throughout the network by 2003 but is a cheaper and less sophisticated system than the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) which was recommended to be installed following an accident at Clapham ten years ago that claimed the lives of 35 people. However, Mr Prescott said that it would "save lives and reduce accidents", poinitng out that there were 593 incidents last year wher trains passed through red danger signals.
TPWS will provide about 70% of the safety benefit of ATP at about 10-15% of the cost and can be introduced in a quarter to a third of the time according to Railtrack.
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