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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Ladbroke families 'want vengeance'
Tony Knox with 'Gerald Corbett: Wanted' poster at a news conference
Survivor holds up a 'Gerald Corbett: Wanted' poster
Key figures in the rail industry at the time of the Ladbroke Grove crash should be prosecuted, say survivors and families of victims.

Their damning attack on the rail industry came after the release of Lord Cullen's report into the collision between a Thames Trains train and a Great Western express in October 1999.

The group said they hoped the 89 recommendations in the report would ensure widespread changes to improve safety on the railways, but insisted they would keep up pressure for action.


Let's follow the aviation example... Let's ground the railways until they can provide safety

Crash survivor Tony Knox
Crash survivor Tony Knox singled out former Railtrack chief executive Gerald Corbett as the man "with blood on his hands".

Mr Knox, 42, used his experience in a casualty department to help the injured in the disaster aftermath.

He gave a lengthy condemnation of the train operator Great Western and Railtrack.

He said Mr Corbett had ultimate responsibility for the Ladbroke Grove disaster, which killed 31 people, and the later Hatfield crash, in which four people died.

"We would like a prosecution," he said.

"It is not a noble sentiment but a little bit of vengeance would not go amiss."

'Arrogance and negligence'

Mr Knox, who suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs in the crash, held up a poster featuring Mr Corbett with the words 'Wanted for serial killings on British railways'.

He said Mr Corbett should be prosecuted for "arrogance, negligence and allegedly manslaughter".

Former Railtrack chief executive Gerald Corbett
Corbett 'has ultimate responsibility'
"We are still waiting for the man to say sorry," he said.

"Nobody has apologised for what they did to us that day."

Great Western had expressed concern about the signalling at Paddington on three occasions, said Mr Knox.

"But they didn't pass that information on to us.

"We are just the mugs who pay good money to die on their trains or be injured on their trains.

"They should be prosecuted on that basis."

'Insane' signalling

Finally Mr Knox called for the railways to be shut down in the event of such as disaster.

"Let's follow the aviation example, when Concorde landed on a hotel, they did not try to blame the driver, they grounded the whole fleet. Let's ground the railways until they can provide safety."


It was not an accident. It could have been prevented

Birgit Andersen

Robin Kellow, from North Yorkshire, whose 24-year-old daughter Elaine died in the crash, said the signal layout at Paddington was "tantamount to insanity".

Mr Kellow said it seemed incredible that the Thames train was not fitted with Automatic Train Protection system (ATP) to match the track.

"If the Health and Safety Executive had done its job properly and said any train on ATP track should have ATP fitted, which is common sense to anybody, we wouldn't have been here today."

'No accident'

He said the only way to ensure the railways were safe were to make the people running the trains responsible for the tracks as well.

American Birgit Andersen, whose daughter Charlotte, 32, died in the crash, said mismanagement in the rail industry led to negligence.

"It was not an accident. It could have been prevented."

Survivor Pam Warren founded the Paddington Survivors Group in the wake of the crash to campaign for rail safety.

"After today we're going to be turning round to those people saying 'here's the report, and we want to see action and we want to see it now'," she said.

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