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2000: Crash survivors attack Railtrack
Survivors of the Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail crashes have accused Railtrack of putting costs before safety.

They were speaking at the joint public inquiry into the disasters which opened today.

Both the accidents - which killed a total of 38 people and injured hundreds more - happened after trains passed signals at danger.

The inquiry has been set up to investigate whether the installation of equipment which automatically stops trains at red lights could help prevent future tragedies.

Rail companies are already spending 0.5 billion to fit the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) by 2002.

The more sophisticated - and more expensive - Advanced Train Protection (ATP) will be installed later and on high speed lines only.

There is going to be another crash
Southall disaster survivor
But campaigners argue the TPWS is not effective if the train is travelling at more than 70 mph (113 kmh) and have accused the industry of simply choosing the cheapest option.

A survivor of the Southall crash, Carol Bell, said ATP should be fitted on all networks immediately.

"There is going to be another crash - there is no doubt about that - unless they fit this... There's going to be hundreds of people injured again and again and again," she told the BBC.

The inquiry will sit for four weeks and report its findings next year.

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Fireman hoses down a wrecked carriage after the Paddington crash
31 people were killed in the Paddington rail crash



In Context
This public inquiry was in addition to separate investigations into the Southall and Ladbroke Grove crashes.

It concluded that all trains travelling above 100 mph (161 kmh) should be fitted with the European Train Control System (ETCS) by 2010.

The ETCS automatically stops trains at red lights and is to become the Europe's standard train protection equipment.

But in February 2002 the government was accused of abandoning this deadline. Many people in the rail industry fear the system may not be fitted until 2015 at an estimated cost of 3bn.

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