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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 15:08 GMT
Train company's 8m train upgrade
A First Great Western train
The window upgrade will cost about 8m
A train operator is to fit laminated windows - currently only being installed in high speed trains - to every train it runs, costing 8m.

Transport firm, FirstGroup, which runs First Great Western trains, announced the move on Tuesday.

The news comes as an inquest into the Ufton Nervet train crash in Berkshire in November 2004, which involved a First Great Western train, continues.

FirstGroup said it was committed to delivering high levels of safety.

The Ufton Nervet crash occurred when the First Great Western high-speed Paddington-to-Plymouth train hit chef Brian Drysdale's car on a level-crossing.

The ongoing inquest has heard some of the seven people who died were thrown out of the windows.

There's a compelling case now to fit laminated glass across train fleets
Andrew Haines, managing director of First Great Western

FirstGroup's announcement comes after a Rail Safety and Standards Board report published on 31 July this year recommended "that breakable windows should cease to be a recognised method of escape for passengers and that laminated glass should be progressively fitted throughout rail vehicles".

Andrew Haines, managing director of First Great Western, said: "We've acted quickly and responsibly.

"There's a compelling case now to fit laminated glass across train fleets.

"Certainly Ufton Nervet was a very tragic event and we've given a lot of consideration to it.

"But the safety and standards board looked at several incidents."

FirstGroup hopes its 8m programme - which will also involve First Capital Connect, First ScotRail, First TransPennine Express and First Hull Trains - will be completed by the end of 2010.

Emergency exit windows

Laminated windows began being fitted on trains in Britain in 1993, however at the time of the Ufton Nervet crash on 6 November 2004 high speed trains (HSTs), like the First Great Western Paddington-to-Plymouth train which was involved, were not able to have them installed.

But all first Great Western trains are now being fitted with the windows as part of the 63m programme, which is due to end by March 2008.

All trains built since 1994 already have laminated windows, except for those windows currently designated as emergency exit windows.

This includes the First TransPennine Express fleet of Class 185s, the Pioneers of First Hull Trains and the Class 170 trains, operated by First TransPennine Express and First ScotRail.

Last Tuesday, speaking on behalf of Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, Peter Randall told the Ufton Nervert inquest that laminated glass windows in trains may have prevented 12 deaths at seven of the UK's recent rail crashes.

First Group Trains are making a number of safety improvements

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