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The BBC's Simon Montague
"Only automatic train protection would have prevented the Southall crash"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Memorial marks train crash
Paddington rail crash
31 people died in the Paddington rail crash
Three years after a Swansea to Paddington train went through a red signal and crashed at Southall killing seven people, Welsh survivors and family members are to attend a memorial service in London.

The service comes as a joint inquiry into the Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail disasters begins.


When you hand over your money at that ticket office you also hand over your life

Carole Bell
On Monday, survivors urged the government to adopt the best protection safety system available to prevent further disasters.

They said the government should agree to install the Advanced Train Protection system (ATP) rather than the cheaper alternative, the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS).

The campaigners also called for changes to the law on corporate manslaughter to make it easier to prosecute companies' directors for fatal disasters.

The relatives of victims, along with survivors of the two crashes, dismissed government plans to install TPWS, saying it was not good enough.

Expense

Railtrack and the government have invested 140m in the system.

Railtrack says it will prevent 70% of accidents and will be fully operational by 2003.

But rail safety campaigners say the system only works when trains are travelling at less than 70mph.

They want the more expensive ATP system introduced.

Southall train crash
Seven people died in the Southall crash
Carole Bell, a victim of the Southall rail crash, said financial loss should never be put before the loss of peoples' lives.

"We used to think that travelling by train was safe," she said.

"Now we know when you hand over your money at that ticket office you also hand over your life," she said.

"We need ATP as nothing else will give protection to trains travelling at high speeds," Mrs Bell said.

"Better financial loss than the loss of a loved one."

The inquiry at Central Hall, Westminster, has been ordered to consider three specific topics on railway safety - the future application of ATPs, train protection and warning systems, and prevention measures for signals passed at danger (SPADs).

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