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Saturday, 11 May, 2002, 01:22 GMT 02:22 UK
Crash track had 'jolt' say travellers
Aftermath of train crash
Investigators have been concentrating on the track
Regular travellers on the line through Potters Bar say there has been a "jolt" on the track for some time leading up to Friday's crash.

"I have been waiting for this the last couple of weeks," said Tim Richardson.

"Every time we pass that area the carriages have been hitting something on the rail and shaking violently."

Several BBC News Online users contacted the site in the aftermath of the crash to say they suspected something was wrong with the line.


I just shudder to think how many casualties there would have been if the rush hour train I travel on had crashed

Kevin Kirk
Passenger

But Railtrack chief executive John Armitt said he had not previously heard about these reports.

Kevin Kirk, 39, travels the route twice a day from Letchworth to work in west London.

He said: "If I'm asleep, I know where I am because the train starts to jump around when it comes to Potters Bar.

"The train goes across the bridge and seems to hit a set of points and lurches.

"I have an uneasy feeling every time I go through there and I wasn't in the least surprised to hear about the crash.

"I just shudder to think how many casualties there would have been if the rush hour train I travel on had crashed. There are eight carriages instead of four and it is packed."

'Nasty jolt'

Stephen Hopwood said he had had the same experience.

"Just south of the Potters Bar station, there is a set of points which as the train passes over produces a nasty jolt.

"This has been happening for a number of weeks and I have often thought that this may lead to a derailment and the danger of the coaches ending up on the platform. "


Something went very wrong at those points

Richard Hope
Rail expert

And Jonathon Ray, 21, of Baldock, said he was "very worried".

"Yards before Potters Bar station there is a massive jolt in the track, which nearly throws you out of your seat if your at the end of a carriage," said the trainee actuary.

"But it's not the only place.

"There's a similar jolt at New Barnet. I want Railtrack to go straight out and fix it before it happens again."

The observations of the passengers were backed up by rail expert Richard Hope, editor of Railway Gazette magazine.

'Distorted track'

He said "something went very wrong" at the points just before the crash site, where investigators appeared to be concentrating their work.

Mr Hope told Channel 4 News he was in no doubt the derailment began at the set of points because the line showed no signs of damage before them.

"The diverging track is badly distorted, beyond the points, the main line that the train was proceeding down, that is also distorted, which suggests to me that the rear bogie, the rear wheels of the last carriage must have followed that diverging route," he said.

"Therefore something went very wrong at those points."

Railtrack earlier said the points were last checked in January, but Mr Armitt said he was "sure" they would have been checked since then.


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10 May 02 | England
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