Railtrack vows to help crash victims

Rail investors at annual meeting urge haste in compensation cases

Railtrack yesterday pledged to speed up moves to compensate the victims of a series of train crashes after coming under attack from shareholders, unions and Government ministers.

Sir Bob Horton, the Railtrack chairman, pledged to take action after the Transport Minister Glenda Jackson wrote to him drawing attention to delays in dealing with claims from a number of residents affected by a train collision in Stafford 16 months ago. Railtrack was also criticised for delays in compensating victims of two other crashes at Bexley, Kent, earlier this year, and at Watford Junction last August.

Sir Bob told shareholders at the annual meeting at the Barbican in London that he would be bringing together all interested parties to try to speed up the processing of claims.

"We will deal with its speedily and get the parties together. It does the reputation of the rail industry no good if these things are allowed to drag on."

Keith Bill, national secretary of the campaign group Save Our Railways, told the Board of Directors that victims of the three crashes were still waiting for compensation, adding: "Every conceivable obstacle has been put in the way of achieving the truth about these crashes."

Outside the meeting Jimmy Knapp, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said fragmentation of the railways had given individual companies the opportunities of avoiding their responsibilities to accident victims.

"You cannot have private companies boasting about their profits while innocent victims of crashes are left destitute," he said.

Railtrack came under fire at the meeting for delays to paying compensation to people at Stafford. Stafford's Labour MP David Kidney said residents living alongside the line where two trains collided had modest claims for compensation, but no one had accepted liability.

Although the meeting was dominated by questions about compensation, the anorak brigade still found time to indulge their obsession, tackling the Railtrack chairman on a range of arcane subjects ranging from infill elctrification schemes to ultrasonic testing of rail tracks.

Sir Bob, perched above the rest of the Railtack board on a high chair looking for all the world like the fat controller, took most of them in his stride.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine