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Investigators at the scene of the Selby rail crash
10 are killed in the Selby rail crash
2001/2 There are about 9,983 miles of railway routes in Britain and 17,800 passenger services every day.

2000 On 17 October four people are killed and 35 hurt as a commuter train derails at Hatfield. It emerges during the Mitchell Inquiry that Railtrack already knew about the broken line that caused the accident.

Railtrack identifies 81 trouble spots on the network and speed restrictions are enforced. A programme to replace and repair damaged tracks is put into force.

2001 On 28 February 10 people are killed when an express train derails after hitting a Landrover that had slid down an embankment onto the tracks near Selby in Yorkshire.

The Landrover driver, Gary Hart, is convicted of causing 10 deaths by dangerous driving and sentenced to five years in prison.

The court hears that he fell asleep at the wheel after talking all night to a woman he had met on the internet.

The Health and Safety Commission recommends that 10,000 "danger spots" where railways and roads cross or run close to each other be looked at to ensure that they are safe.

The government declares Railtrack to be insolvent and the company is placed into the hands of administrators. Shares are suspended at 280p.

The Strategic Rail Authority is created, following the passing of the 2000 Transport Act, to implement government rail policy over the next 10 years. Part of its brief is to achieve a 50% growth in passenger kilometres and 80% in freight kilometres by 2010.

The rail network is hit by a series of strikes as guards protest at having responsibility for safety stripped away from them.

2002 On 10 May, seven people are killed and more than 70 injured when a carriage of a commuter train derails outside Potters Bar in Hertfordshire. A Health and Safety inquiry blames a faulty set of points for causing the derailment.

On 24 November a high speed train, carrying 450 passengers, derails near West Ealing station, narrowly avoiding a collision with another high speed train. A Health and Safety Executive investigation blames loose bolts on the track.

The SRA unveils a 4.5bn 10-year investment plan to finance new trains, station facilities, track repair and signalling work. Network Rail, a non-profit organisation, takes over the duties of the collapsed Railtrack.

Shareholders are told they will get 2 a share followed by between 52-60p extra later.

As firefighters begin industrial action in November, 22 deep London Underground stations are closed on strike days because of safety fears.

Managers on South West Trains take the place of guards who are striking over safety issues.

2003 Transport Secretary Alistair Darling reveals that the 2010 deadline for fitting ERTMS, recommended by the Cullen Inquiry, cannot be met.

The SRA's budget is cut by 300m and it announces 104 services out of 17,000 will be cut in May to improve punctuality.

Since privatisation there has been a 20% increase in the number of trains, congesting many routes.

The Central Line is suspended in January after a tube train derails outside Chancery Lane, it does not fully reopen until April. A faulty motor is blamed for the accident.

The RMT union ballots its members from 12 train companies over possible strike action in protest of safety responsibility being taken away from guards.

On 15 February a carriage of a Silverlink commuter train derails near Hemel Hempstead, Herts. None of the 35 passengers are hurt.


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