Government says safety 'top priority'

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The Independent Online

The Government has pledged to step up efforts to improve rail safety in the wake of the Hatfield crash, saying it was a top priority.

The Government has pledged to step up efforts to improve rail safety in the wake of the Hatfield crash, saying it was a top priority.

The announcement came as Railtrack revealed 100 more sites have poor quality rails.

Transport Minister Lord Macdonald told the Lords today that it would not be right to make assumptions about the cause of the accident.

But he confirmed that from preliminary findings it did not appear likely that the derailment was caused by a signalling failure or driver error.

Lord Macdonald said the Health and Safety Executive would issue a preliminary report tomorrow and announce further details of the scope of its investigation.

He said the findings would be made available swiftly to Lord Cullen's inquiry into last October's Ladbroke Grove crash, in which 31 people died.

"Tuesday's tragic accident is a sombre reminder that in all we do - whether as Government, regulator or industry - we must redouble our efforts to ensure that safety remains the highest priority," he told peers.

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