Crash train operator makes £2m a week

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The Independent Online

FirstGroup, operator of one of the trains involved in the Paddington rail crash, today unveiled profits of over £2 million a week for the first six months of the year.

FirstGroup, operator of one of the trains involved in the Paddington rail crash, today unveiled profits of over £2 million a week for the first six months of the year.

The record profit is set to spark a storm of protest similar to that faced by network operator Railtrack when it reported half-year profits of £236 million last week.

Moir Lockhead, chief executive of FirstGroup, said the results announcement had been overshadowed by the Paddington crash of October 5. The death toll stands at 31.

He added that the findings to date indicated that the First Great Western train involved in the crash had been proceeding under a green light and that its driver was not at fault.

"We have implemented safety recommendations after previous inquiries and we will implement any recommendations from this inquiry as quickly as possible," he said.

Mr Lockhead added the group was investing heavily in safety, spending £210 million over three years.

The owner of First Great Western trains reported profits before tax of £55 million for the first six months of its financial year, up from £45.4 million in the same period last year.

Investors will share in the group's improved profits with a interim dividend of 2.7p a share, up from 2.4p.

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