UK - SECOND TRAIN ACCIDENT IN 24 HOURS

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Commuters escaped injury when one train ran into the back of another at Glasgow Central Station on Monday afternoon.

The train was moving at slow speed to couple with the waiting carriages, but overran.

Scotrail said nobody was seriously hurt but the driver suffered a "very minor" injury.

It is the second accident at Glasgow in less than 24 hours, after a derailment which injured four people on Sunday night.

Jumped tracks

The accident happened when the engine and front four carriages of the 10.05am Virgin express service from Euston to Glasgow jumped off the tracks at Mossend South Junction at 7.05pm. The train was carrying around 400 passengers.

Police are investigating the possibility that vandalism may have been behind the accident.

Prof David Bigg, director of the Centre for Transport Policy, said early indications from the crash were that it was caused either by a points failure or vandalism on the line.

"When the middle carriages come off they will look much more closely at a broken rail, but where its the front carriages the probability of vandalism is higher, but also problems with the points," he said.

Inquiry

An investigation is now underway but a Railtrack spokeswoman said it was far too early to speculate about the cause was.

Four of the nine coaches derailed but all remained upright, according to Virginís media relations manager Jim Rowe. He said the train was travelling at 15mph when the incident happened on Sunday night.

This comes as Rod Mottram, director of Railtrack, is due to speak at the Ladbroke Grove railcrash enquiry in Westminster on Monday.

'Earthquake'

Railtrack said the stretch of track concerned was not under any speed restrictions or undergoing any emergency repairs. However, the section of track is not normally used by this service - the train had been diverted due to repairs on the main West Coast route.

Dorothy Fenwick, Railtrack's head of corporate affairs, said two passengers suffered shock, one received a slight neck injury and one was reported to have received cuts and bruises. She said Railtrack had "no idea" what caused the derailment at this stage.

One passenger who was on the train described the derailment as "like an earthquake. It was shaking all over the place".

David Grundy, 39, a computer programmer, added there were screams and shouts for help as the train shuddered and luggage went flying.

Chaos to continue

Despite growing public concern about rail safety, new figures show our trains are getting safer. A total of 53 trains were driven through signals at danger in October - 17 fewer than the same period last year. These figures confirm those released recently by Railtrack's safety body, Railway Safety Ltd.

But they contradict reports that the 'go-slow' policy following the Hatfield crash actually increases danger for commuters.

This comes as Railtrack replaced 20 miles of track at the weekend and will now be able to lift more speed restrictions. However, this is just a third of the essential work which needs doing and rail chaos is set to continue into the New Year for many passengers.

The derailment scene

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said the rail industry was losing £2m a day because of the restrictions following Hatfield.

Transport Minister Lord Macdonald blamed the current rail crisis on underfunding by previous governments. "I think all the analysis shows the public blame the privatisation of the railways for the state we are in. We have literally broken into 100 pieces and that after 18 years of under investment by the Tory government. What we have got is an investment plan for the railways so that we can try to bring coherence where there has been fragmentation and investment where there has been neglect."

And there are rumours on Monday over who will fill the difficult role of Railtrack boss. Former Tory transport minister Steven Norris, who failed in his bid to become London Mayor earlier this year, hinted strongly he might be about to take up the post. Asked about the rumour, he said: "Stranger things might happen. You never know."

http://www.sky.com/news/uk/story16.htm

-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), November 27, 2000


Moderation questions? read the FAQ