Rap for rail firms on safety

Railtrack and train operating firms have been told to stop dragging their feet over investigations into the growing number of breaches in railway safety. The Health and Safety Executive has given them a deadline of 1 October to devise plans to tackle the backlog of investigations into trains running through red signals – the number […]

Railtrack and train operating firms have been told to stop dragging their feet over investigations into the growing number of breaches in railway safety.

The Health and Safety Executive has given them a deadline of 1 October to devise plans to tackle the backlog of investigations into trains running through red signals – the number of such incidents rose 8% to 643 last year – or face prosecution.

The failure to stop at red signals has led to fatal accidents, most recently the 1997 Southall crash, when seven were killed and 147 injured.

The HSE says guidance on investigating these incidents is available and accuses firms of not spending sufficient time and effort on the investigations. The regulator also wants quarterly progress reports from Railtrack and the train operators.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said its members were developing best practice and improving driving techniques.

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