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BBC's Tom Heap
"Causes and lessons of the tragedy will provide the focus of the public inquiry"
 real 28k

Lawyer Des Collins
"Today is entirely procedural"
 real 28k

Chair of Railtrack Gerald Corbett
"Right now post Paddington the attitude to safety is different"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 07:45 GMT
Paddington rail crash inquiry to open

Paddington crash The inquiry proper into the crash will start next spring

The inquiry into the Paddington rail crash, which claimed the lives of 31 people and injured more than 400, is due to open in London.

No evidence is scheduled to be heard in the preliminary hearing of the inquiry which is being chaired by Lord Cullen.

London Train Crash
The inquiry proper into the two-train morning rush-hour collision on 5 October is expected to start in spring 2000.

The accident happened when a Thames train collided with a London-bound Great Western express train at Ladbroke Grove just outside Paddington station in west London.

Red light

Interim accident reports from the Health and Safety Executive have indicated that the Thames train appeared to pass through a red light.

It carried on for 700 metres before colliding with the express train. Both drivers were killed in the crash.

The inquiry will first attempt to determine what happened on 5 October before considering what recommendations should be made for safety on the railways in future.

A separate joint inquiry into the question of train protection systems and signals being passed at danger is expected to be held later in 2000.

Southall crash

The preliminary Paddington hearing comes a day after the inquiry into another train crash in west London - at Southall - finished.

Seven people died and 150 were hurt when a high speed Great Western train went through a red light and collided with an empty freight train on 19 September 1997.

On Monday the Southall inquiry was told that senior managers at Great Western should take responsibility for the "catalogue of errors" leading up to the crash.

Counsel for the inquiry, Ian Burnett QC, said it was wrong to focus entirely on the failings of the Great Western driver, Larry Harrison.

But counsel for Great Western said the evidence showed that the company was not an "idiosyncratic and rogue" operator at the time of the crash.

The report into the Southall crash should be ready by the end of January 2000 and will be published later in the year.
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See also:
06 Nov 99 |  UK
Crash survivors rally for safety
18 Oct 99 |  UK Politics
New transport body sounds safety warning
07 Oct 99 |  UK Politics
Money no object on rail safety - Prescott
25 Oct 99 |  UK
Rail safety under the microscope
19 Oct 99 |  UK Politics
Prescott calls safety summit

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