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Hatfield evidence may indict managers

Senior rail managers could still face manslaughter charges over the Hatfield disaster in October 2000 after fresh evidence was submitted yesterday to the Crown Prosecution Service.

A new dossier from the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) assessing the Hatfield tragedy, in which an express train was derailed on a stretch of track maintained by Balfour Beatty, was given to Crown prosecutors. The HSC said the Hatfield accident happened because a train travelled over a rail "that had been identified as in poor condition and which should have either been replaced or a temporary speed restriction applied".

Although the HSC's executive arm, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced interim accounts of what happened at Hatfield, no full report has been published yet because of the possibility of legal proceedings.

Senior executives at Balfour Beatty and Railtrack could face manslaughter charges should the CPS decide there is sufficient evidence.

British Transport Police (BTP) are still investigating the Hatfield accident, in which 70 people were injured and four killed when an East Coast main line London to Leeds express operated by the GNER train company came off the tracks in Hertfordshire.

Following the Hatfield crash, a rival company, Jarvis, was awarded responsibility for that part of the east coast main line. It includes the Potters Bar area, where seven people were killed in a crash on 10 May.