Train crash: Railman may be charged

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The Independent Online
A RAILWAY worker is the subject of a report to Edinburgh's Procurator Fiscal after a runaway locomotive crashed head-on with an InterCity express, injuring 59 people, writes Lesley Gerard.

The 100-ton diesel locomotive with no driver on board rolled more than a mile from Edinburgh Waverley station before it collided with the InterCity express in the Abbey Hill district of the city. A train driver has been interviewed by police and suspended from duty pending an inquiry. He has not been named.

The InterCity train's driver, Tom Campbell, whose legs were crushed in the smash, managed to stop his train just seconds before impact, it emerged last night. He had two minutes' warning from signalmen, giving him time to stop his train and to get to the back of his cab, said Paul Prescott, director of Railtrack Scotland. Mr Campbell, 65, who is in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, is not the subject of the police report.

Mr Prescott said no one had noticed the locomotive as it rolled out of Waverley and picked up speed on a 1:80 gradient out of the station. He said the signalling system was not implicated in the accident. Nor was sabotage suspected. 'We will be looking particularly at whether the brakes were fully applied and were fully functioning,' he added.

All 59 InterCity passengers were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after the accident, which happened at 8.35pm on Saturday night. Most had suffered shock, minor cuts and bruises, and were discharged.

Labour's transport spokesman, Brian Wilson, said the accident illustrated the negative effect of breaking up the railway service. He said five new companies were involved and questioned how compensation claims could be made when the issue of responsibility had become so confused.