BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 26 May, 2000, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Paddington train lacked safety kit

Emergency hammers were removed from the Thames train three years ago
Passengers trapped in one of the trains involved in the Paddington rail crash had no emergency hammers to smash their way out, an inquiry has been told.

Fear of vandalism on the Thames train meant all hammers had been removed, leaving only a crowbar in an emergency cupboard at the time of the crash.

Kenneth Hamer QC, representing the injured and bereaved, said that passengers were "entitled to expect safety equipment to ensure their safe exit from the carriage".

Thirty-one people were killed in the crash near Paddington, which happened when a Thames turbo train went through a red signal on 5 October last year and collided with a Great Western express train.

Fleet manager for Thames Trains, Robert Pamment, said the hammers had been removed for the safety of passengers.

"There was no obvious provision for passengers to break windows because our experience was that obvious provision led to some horrific damage and risk to the travelling public in normal travelling circumstances," he said.

Vandalism

A Thames Trains representative speaking outside the inquiry, which is now in its 12th day, confirmed that the hammers were removed from rolling stock up to three years ago because of vandalism.

He added that there were more doors and shorter carriages on Thames Trains' rolling stock so passengers were never far from an exit.

The inquiry also heard from Krishnan Karavadra, rail operator supervisor for Thames Trains, who dispatched the turbo from Paddington station on the day of the crash.

He said the Thames Trains driver Michael Hodder, who died in the crash, had smiled at him as he walked the length of the platform to get into his cab.

While he did not know Mr Hodder well, Mr Karavadra said in a statement that "he was always smiling whenever you saw him."

The inquiry was adjourned until 30 May.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Paddington train crash inquiry
Click below for key stories and features

Key stories:

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories