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Wednesday, 13 October, 1999, 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK
Train drivers take action over safety
Paddington minute's silence
Crash site worker stands in silent respect
The train drivers' union, Aslef, has told its drivers to double-man a train if its safety system is switched off or faulty, in the wake of the Paddington rail crash.

If two drivers were not allowed in the cab in such circumstances the train should be taken out of service, said the union.

London Train Crash
The practice of having two drivers in cabs ended about four years ago.

The union will not ballot its members on industrial action but plans to hold a meeting with the train companies to discuss safety.

It is also telling its members to slow down to 10mph on passenger trains and 5mph when driving freight trains at the 22 signals identified as being passed most often at red.

The union said the action should continue until the signals are improved.

"We are making these instructions because today the railway is still operating in the same manner as on the day of the tragic Ladbroke Grove crash," General Secretary Mick Rix told a news conference at Aslef's London head office.

Aslef's members are angry at Railtrack and the rail operators who, they say, should have introduced Automatic Train Protection (ATP) after the 1988 Clapham rail disaster.

queen at paddington
The Queen visits the scene of the crash
The biggest rail union, the RMT, also said the entire culture of the industry should be examined in the wake of the Paddington crash because workers were "fed up" with being blamed for safety lapses.

The union is expected to announce on Thursday that guards at 23 train companies have voted to take industrial action in protest at plans to "water down" their role.

The death toll in the Paddington crash more than a week ago, when a Thames commuter service collided with a Great Western express train, is likely to be nearer to 30 than 40, police have said.

Police are investigating the possibility of criminal proceedings, including a charge of corporate manslaughter if there is enough evidence to support it.

The last carriage has now been removed and crash investigators are spending the rest of the day combing the site at Ladbroke Grove.

Search teams are planning to conduct a final sweep of the entire area tomorrow, with the help of a human remains sniffer dog, before handing the site over to Railtrack and the Health and Safety Executive.

Paddington Station is not expected to re-open until Tuesday 19 October at the earliest, and when services in and out of the station resume they will still face disruption.

Railtrack has said the line controlled by signal 109, which the Thames train passed at red, will not be in use.

The damaged carriages have been removed and taken by road for examination at a laboratory in Crewe, Cheshire.

Some of the carriages involved in the Paddington rail disaster had been damaged in the Southall crash two years ago.

Lawyers acting for victims of the two crashes have demanded none of the carriages are used again until all official inquiries are complete.

The public inquiry into the Southall crash is to resume on 25 October, but will not examine the Paddington crash at first.

Just how it can deal with events common to Southall and Paddington will be announced later, said inquiry chairman Professor John Uff.

The Westminster coroner, Dr Paul Knapman, says DNA testing is being used to identify five of the Paddington victims.

Blood samples have been taken from five families who fear they lost relatives in the disaster. The samples will be checked against remains removed from the site but may not be known until next week.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
The BBC's Jon Brain: "A search of the underside has failed to find further human remains"
Video
BBC's Robert Hall reports on latest findings at crash site
Audio
Dr Knapman: "We have exhausted conventional methods of identification"
Video
The BBC's Mark Turner: "Later today the detailed forensic search should come to an end"
Video
The BBC's Sian Williams:"Police will be pursuing hoax callers"
Audio
The BBC's Philippa Young: "DNA evidence will now be used"
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