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Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 16:33 GMT
Crash report 'weak on safety'


Survivors believe crash could happen again


The damning report into the Southall rail crash has been welcomed by victims' families, but they have condemned government plans imposing safety requirements.

The report, chaired by inquiry head Professor John Uff QC, makes 93 recommendations for improving rail safety in the wake of the collision in 1997.

But Maureen Kavanagh, whose son Peter, 29, died in the collision, said it should insist on the blanket introduction of new safety equipment.

Key recommendations
Great Western lines to use ATP
AWS to be regarded as vital
Trials of airline-style safety briefings
New safety authority should be set up
Railway Inspectorate to investigate serious accidents
Railtrack to make annual signal checks
Improvements to driver training
"I would have liked for Professor Uff to have been able to say that automatic train protection (ATP) must be put in across the board.

"He has said it must be put in on Great Western, but that's not enough."

Mrs Kavanagh joined other relatives in condemning the recent decision by Deputy Prime Minster John Prescott retain Railtrack's partial supervision of rail safety.

Following last year's Paddington crash, in which 31 people died, Mr Prescott had insisted a new body would be established to act as an independent watchdog.


We feel it is a complete waste of time if John Prescott is not going to have any regard for what Professor Uff has to say
Joan Petch, wife of victim
Joan Petch, whose husband Anthony died in the crash said Mr Prescott's decision had caused a sense of "outrage" among the families.

"We have waited two-and-a-half years to get some recommendations and we feel it is a complete waste of time if he is not going to have any regard for what Professor Uff has to say," she said.

Dr Michael Hillier, who survived the crash, was also angry.

Carol Bell: survivor
He said the report "clearly spells out what changes need to take place", and that "we all feel very strongly that ATP would have prevented Southall".

He said ATP is very expensive, which was "all the more reason" why a private company should not control health and safety.

And fellow survivor Carol Bell issued a warning of another rail accident, unless prof Uff's suggestions were implemented.

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See also:
24 Feb 00 |  UK
Driver blamed for Southall crash
27 Jul 99 |  UK
Southall: The crash that killed seven
22 Feb 00 |  UK
Railtrack keeps safety role
27 Jul 99 |  UK
Record fine over Southall crash
21 Feb 00 |  UK
'Never again' say train crash families
10 Oct 99 |  UK
Railtrack to be stripped of safety role
11 Oct 99 |  London train crash
Analysis: Is profit to blame?

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