Thirty reasons why passengers are unhappy

HERE ARE just 30 rail incidents which have taken place in Britain so far this year. There are many, many more which could have been selected.

1The Health and Safety Executive launches an investigation after it is revealed that tens of thousands of passengers are potentially at risk from 250 "lightweight" Pacer trains which, it is feared, are less able to withstand high-speed impacts.

2Railtrack and its contractor, First Engineering, blamed for the derailment of a coal train on the main Edinburgh-to-Aberdeen line at Burntisland, Fife, after failing to spot faulty track that had moved apart.

3 Central Trains has to re-evaluate its proposed new rolling stock after one of its test trainswas jammed at Stamford near Peterbrough.

4Five people seriously injured and another 31 hurt in the Winsford train crash in Cheshire when a Virgin Express passenger train ran into the back of a stationary train during the morning rush hour.

5Thousands of holidaymakers' plans thrown into chaos when the computers of Motorail, the UK booking arm of French Railways, collapsed, leading to double bookings and incorrect tickets. More than 4,000 ticket applications were kept in shoeboxes while the 12-year-old computer system was repaired.

6 A head-on collision involving two passenger trains carrying hundreds of commuters was only prevented at the last minute when a trackside rail worker waved down the drivers.

7Connex accused of missing out stations on a South-east commuter service into London in order to meet 100 per cent timetable targets. Passengers claimed the 6.20am from Ramsgate to Charing Cross missed out at least three scheduled stops because it was running late.

8 Engineering group Balfour Beatty fined pounds 500,000 at Chelmsford Crown Court for breaching health and safety regulations following the derailing of a train in Essex in September 1997.

9 More warnings for Railtrack from the Health and Safety Executive which issued it with improvement notices on its 82 miles of line between Carlisle and Settle following a landslide near Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria which derailed a passenger train. The derailed train was then hit by a freight train.

10Connex warned it will face heavy fines after failing to produce an Easter timetable for passengers. This follows criticism of 25 train operating companies for not producing clear information for passengers. Connex blamed the non-existence of the Easter timetable on "computers".

11Five people injured after two commuter trains collided at 5.35pm near London Bridge station after one came off the rails. The crash caused huge disruption.

12South West Trains completed paying a penalty of nearly pounds 3.7m to the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority for missing targets on punctuality, capacity and timetable changes.

13Widespread disruption caused by the closure of the 130-year-old Severn Tunnel linking England and Wales for repairs for three weekends in May.

14 A rail worker left a cleaner to operate signals for rush hour trains at London Bridge station while he went off to play pool. He was later sacked by Connex.

15 The Connex 12.06pm Charing Cross to Ramsgate service left early after a signal from a ticket collector on the platform was misinterpreted as the train being "waved off".

16Virgin Trains said Railtrack's planned upgrading of the West Coast Main Line to accommodate high-speed tilting trains will cause chaos for three years. Birmingham to London services reduced to one an hour at weekends when work finally starts on a date to be fixed.

17Transport minister Glenda Jackson admitted buses could provide "infinitely better" services than trains after bosses at Cardiff Wales & Western said their rail route would be better served by buses.

18Connex announces a pounds 2m scheme to shave off half an inch from 40 platforms after it emerged new trains it had ordered were too wide for its ageing south-east commuter network.

19The pounds 3billion Jubilee Line Extension is held hostage by workers who threaten industrial action unless they are offered up to pounds 3,000 each for finishing the project on time for the new Millennium.

20Tens of thousands of commuters face nine weeks of misery after the City branch of London Underground's North London Line is closed for repairs.

21London Underground bosses are forced to close down the busy Circle Line after attempts to run a reduced service while engineering works is carried out ends up in chaos for its 220,000 daily users.

22Hundreds of passengers are left stranded 20 miles outside Birmingham after their Virgin train ran out of fuel. The service from Newcastle to Bristol had to be towed to Birmingham after grinding to a halt near Stamworth, Staffs.

23Rail regulator warns Railtrack it could face unlimited fines after it fails to meet targets for reducing delays to trains caused by its track and services.

24Farmers are upset by Railtrack leaflet that praises the spread of the Oxford Ragwort thanks to Railtrack - the plant is poisonous to cattle that graze near rail lines.

25Passengers travelling in the North-east mistakenly told of unfeasibly large detour when a Railtrack poster warns that York-to-Newcastle trains will go via Stockport. The poster should have said Stockton-on-Tees.

26Rail freight's renaissance appears to be fading following road haulage firm Eddie Stobart's desire to run rail freight on the west coast. It ran just four trains and sources said Stobart was now "cool" on the idea.

27Outdated rolling stock and slam door trains used by long-suffering commuters attract the ire of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. He tells rail firms to phase them out by 2004, three years ahead of schedule.

28 GNER forced to modernise old rolling stock because the Government will not stump up millions required to bring in rolling stock after growth on the line exceeds company forecasts.

29Bank worker Tim Middleton escaped with his life - and 60 stiches - after roofing at Temple Meads station in Bristol came off during repairs and hit him.

30A report blamed Railtrack and other rail companies for the serious Bexley accident in London in 1997 in which four workmen were injured

Do you have your own story of a railway fiasco? Write and let us know about it at:

Great Railway Fiascos

The Independent Newsdesk

1 Canada Square

Canary Wharf


E14 5DL

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific