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Monday, 22 May, 2000, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
Rail crash failings conceded
Paddington crash
Passengers "did not have enough safety details"
Passengers trying to escape from the Paddington rail crash did not have enough safety details, the owners of one of the trains involved has conceded.

First Great Western said safety procedures "proved to be inadequate for the customers on the train".

It was just fire from end to end

Colin Paton
Crash survivor

The inquiry - now in its eighth day - learnt that information about hammers for use in emergencies was inserted into pocket timetables issued to passengers.

31 people died and 250 were injured in the collision between the Thames train and the London-bound Great Western express near Ladbroke Grove on 5 October, 1999.

The hearing was told that if passengers knew those hammers existed, they had to rely on information placed beneath the holder outlining the right way to break a window.

Windows had to be struck in the corner in order to break them - but passengers would know this only if they had seen the instructions.

Survivors complained to the inquiry last week that the hammers were of little use.
Paddington aftermath
A conductor recalled seeing carnage

Colin Paton, senior conductor of the First Great Western train at the time of the crash with the Thames train, told the inquiry that only two staff on board had safety training - himself and the driver.

He said: "If the driver is incapacitated, and I am incapacitated, there is no one to take over - no one trained in safety, no one trained in evacuation, no-one trained in firefighting and no one trained in first aid."

He added that under rule changes introduced three days before the collision, drivers were given charge of safety on board trains instead of guards.

There were people upside down

Colin Paton
Crash survivor

Before those changes, he told the inquiry, he would have been able to move immediately without wasting time looking for the driver.

Mr Paton said he had suffered continuous headaches since the accident as a result of concussion.

Recalling the collision, he said: "There were people upside down, there were people cut and bleeding.

"My immediate reaction was there were a lot of people who had been damaged but nothing serious."

Coach in flames

When he reached coach H of the express train he saw it was in flames.

He said: "There was an elderly gentleman who said 'There are people in there, you have to get them out'. I remember saying to him `Be realistic, there is nothing left in there'. It was just fire from end to end."

The inquiry also heard from Dr Gareth Davies, a consultant in accident and emergency medicine at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London, who co-directed the crash scene's emergency services.

He said that emergency staff would have been able to work more efficiently if they had aerial photography.

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