Health & Safety Executive Enquiry into the Southall Railway Disaster
The enquiry into the Southall Railway accident that occurred in September last year opened on Tuesday February 24, 1998. Professor John Uff QC who is chairing the proceedings explained the purpose of the inquiry
...to hold an inquiry into the railway accident which happened near Southall in West London at about 13.15 on Friday 19 September 1997. A High Speed Train, operated by Great Western Trains, collided with an empty freight train operated by English Welsh and Scottish Railway.
The Inquiry is not a court but is set up to inquire into the circumstances of the accident and, if appropriate to make recommendations which might prevent similar occurances in the future. It was adjourned due to pending legal action. With regard to this Professor Uff stated
Although I am not under any formal constraint, the possibility of criminal proceedings arising out of the accident means that the inquiry will not, at this stage, be going into any of the substantive issues.
The accident which occurred on the outskirts of London killed seven people. Professor Uff and Major Tony King (Technical Advisor) have inspected the wreckage of the trains and were left in "no doubt as to the extreme gravity of this accident".
Health & Safety Executive Press Release 24/2/98
Tragedy in West London
Danger Ahead examination of the Southall accident in which 7 people were killed