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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 12:25 GMT
Southall crash survivor remembers
The scene of the crash at Southall
Carnage: The scene of the crash at Southall
A survivor of the Southall rail crash has spoken for the first time about the effect the accident has had on her life.

Janis Stuttard from Barry, south Wales, has relived the journey for a BBC documentary to be shown on Tuesday.

Janis Stuttard
Southall survivor Janis Stuttard

Seven people were killed in September 1997 when a Great Western Express from Swansea to Paddington collided with an empty goods train at Southall, west London.

More than five years on, Ms Stuttard from Barry is one of the survivors to speak for the first time about the crash in the BBC documentary Collision Course.

Ms Stuttard said: "It was a complete change-around in my life.

"It sounds dramatic - how can eight-and-a-half seconds change a life?

"I was 53 when the accident happened.

"How can I live 53 years and then change in that eight-and-a-half seconds, but I honestly believe I did."

Moved

Ms Stuttard got on the second carriage of the train at Bridgend, but later moved to the first.

The programme shows how this chance decision could have saved her life.

In the head-on collision, the first carriage was derailed and the second bore the brunt of the crash.

A 1999 inquiry into the crash heard that the train from Swansea was full to capacity.

The locomotive travelled through Southall station at 125mph, missing a red signal.

Seconds later the eight-carriage Great Western-run train smashed into the side of a goods locomotive that had been crossing its path.

How can I live 53 years and then change in that eight-and-a-half seconds, but I honestly believe I did

Janis Stuttard

The impact derailed four packed carriages, crushing many of those inside.

Seven people were killed and 151, including Ms Stuttard, were injured.

The death toll was the worst in nine years, since the Clapham Rail disaster in which 35 people died.

Warning system off

The inquiry was told that an in-cab automatic warning system, which had been recommended by the Clapham inquiry, was not operating properly on the train.

Another safety system, Automatic Train Protection (ATP), was not switched on.

The report into the Southall crash, published in 2000, criticised Great Western Trains and made 93 recommendations, including better driver training.

Collision Course is being shown on BBC 2 Wales at 2100 GMT on Tuesday.

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