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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Safety chief calls for action
Ladbroke Grove crash
The Ladbroke Grove crash killed 31 people
The chairman of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has called on the rail industry to show "leadership and commitment" to improve the railways in the aftermath of the Ladbroke Grove train crash.

The HSC commissioned Lord Cullen's report into the crash in which 31 people lost their lives when a Thames Trains commuter service collided almost head-on with a Great Western express near London's Paddington station.


I expect the rail industry to show the leadership, commitment and delivery to achieve a positive safety culture and a safer railway

HSC chairman, Bill Callaghan

HSC chairman, Bill Callaghan, said health and safety management systems had failed.

Speaking in response to Tuesday's report, he said: "The challenge for the future is to get effective systems and make sure everyone from top to bottom in every rail company, meets their safety responsibilities.

He said he would be writing immediately to the rail industry asking them to publish a public progress report, in line with Lord Cullen's recommendation, within six months.

"Action has already been taken following Ladbroke Grove - but I expect the rail industry to show the leadership, commitment and delivery to achieve a positive safety culture and a safer railway."

He concluded: "The commission is single-minded in its commitment to make sure the recommendations are fully implemented."

Safety paramount

The Transport Secretary, Stephen Byers, has asked the HSC to ensure that the 89 recommendations in Lord Cullen's report are acted upon.

He said "safety was paramount" and "at the heart" of government policies on revitalising the railways.

Mr Byers added: "Our railways are safe - but we must never be complacent."


Railtrack's greed and negligence are directly to blame for the loss of 31 lives

Aslef general secretary, Aslef Mick Rix
The HSC's director general, Timothy Walker, added: "We have recognised the need for a firmer approach in dealing with the railway industry.

"New measures are in place designed to increase our effectiveness as regulators."

The leader of the train drivers' union Aslef, Mick Rix, said Lord Cullen's report was a further indictment of the "catastrophic mismanagement" of the railway infrastructure.

"Railtrack's greed and negligence are directly to blame for the loss of 31 lives," said Mr Rix.

He added that Aslef had been campaigning for national standards of driver training for years but the commercial concerns of train operating companies had prevented this "simple and desirable step".

Mr Rix added that every page of the report was an indictment of rail privatisation and "cried out" to take the industry back into public ownership.

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