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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 23:55 GMT 00:55 UK
Train crash pleas five years on
The battered coach after the crash

The families of seven people killed in the Potters Bar rail crash have made fresh calls for a public inquiry, on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy.

An inquest into the crash near the Hertfordshire station is due later this year, but the government has denied requests for a public inquiry.

Seventy-six people were injured when the train left the tracks after passing over a faulty set of points in 2002.

A service is to be held at a memorial garden near the station on Saturday.

Six passengers on the London to King's Lynn West Anglia Great Northern train and a passer-by were killed when the train left the tracks, leaving a carriage on a platform.

Victims
Agnes Quinlivan, 80
Austen Kark, 75
Jonael Schickler, 25
Emma Knights, 29
Chia-hsin Lin, 29
Chia-Ching Wu, 30
Alexander Ogonwusi, 42

Reports following the crash stated it had stemmed from poor maintenance - there were nuts missing from a set of points and the lock stretcher bar, separating the tracks, had fractured.

The CPS ruled no rail staff would face criminal charges.

An inquest into the disaster was due to be held in April, but was postponed following the Cumbria derailment in January.

An initial investigation showed points failure had led to a Virgin Pendolino train derailing - as with the earlier tragedy.

Mr Justice Sullivan said it was not his responsibility to investigate the Cumbria crash but he had to consider whether it could shed any light on the what happened at Potters Bar.

'Incredibly worrying'

Louise Christian, the lawyer representing the families of those killed, has said there should also be an inquiry into the Cumbria derailment.

Ms Christian said: "It looks as if the two crashes were very similar and that is incredibly worrying.

"I think the government has a responsibility now to set up a public inquiry into both incidents."

In 2005, the then Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, said a public inquiry was neither appropriate nor necessary.

He explained: "Three investigations into the accident have taken place, by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the British Transport Police and the Rail Standards and Safety Board.

"The HSE interim reports made recommendations in order to avoid a similar accident in the future and I am satisfied that these recommendations have been acted upon."

'Enhanced inquest'

Novelist Nina Bawden, whose 75-year-old husband Austen Kark died in the crash, was awarded 1m compensation from Network Rail and rail contractor Jarvis, who admitted legal responsibility for the crash.

She has repeatedly called for a public inquiry.

In 2006, the parents of crash victim Taiwanese journalist Chia-hsin Lin, 29, sought a High Court order requiring the transport minister to launch an inquiry.

This was declined by Lord Justice Moses who said "a full and enhanced inquest" would negate the need for a public inquiry.




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SEE ALSO
Family fails in crash inquiry bid
31 Jul 06 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
1m payout for Potters Bar widow
15 May 06 |  London
Coroner queries inquiry decision
09 Dec 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Decision delayed over rail crash
02 Dec 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Potters Bar procedures 'lacking'
12 Apr 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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