Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 12:37 UK

Grayrigg crash was 'very sad day'

Sir Richard Branson at Grayrigg
An emotional Sir Richard Branson visited the crash scene

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson described it as a "very sad day".

He was close to tears when he saw the wreckage of one of his Pendolinos, which crashed near the Cumbrian village of Grayrigg on 23 February 2007.

Margaret Masson, 84, from Glasgow, died when the London to Glasgow express carrying 120 people, came off the rails at 2015 GMT. Many others were hurt.

Driver Iain Black, 46, was praised for his actions at the controls, despite suffering a broken collar bone.

West Coast Main Line services only resumed after a month-long operation to rid the remote landscape of the nine carriages.

None of the carriages broke up - a testament to the updated design of the Pendalino - an interim report found.

The same report hinted at failings in track maintenance procedures and blamed defective points for the crash.

The incident was likened to the 2002 Potters Bar disaster, with relatives saying the two were "incredibly similar".

Grayrigg crash scene
One person died and many others were injured in the crash

The Class 390 Pendolino had left Euston station at 1715 GMT on 23 February, derailing some three hours later at a set of points at Lambrigg as it was travelling at 95mph.

The leading carriage tumbled down an embankment to the west of the track, spinning through 180 degrees.

Grayrigg parish church became a focal point for survivors, rescuers and later recovery workers.

Locals, who suffered huge disruption, were praised by police and Network Rail for their patience and efforts.

Three people were subsequently arrested. After a lengthy police investigation two rail workers were told they would not face charges. A decision on the third man is to be taken soon.

Westmorland and Lonsdale Lib Dem MP, Tim Farron has called for a full public inquiry into the crash.




SEE ALSO
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