Jarvis wins contracts for Potters Bar work

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The company criticised for its role in the Potters Bar rail disaster was yesterday awarded two contracts covering the area of the crash.

The company criticised for its role in the Potters Bar rail disaster was yesterday awarded two contracts covering the area of the crash.

The state-backed infrastructure organisation Network Rail said that Jarvis would be responsible for the renewal of track in the London North East region, which includes the site of the accident in Hertfordshire in May 2002. The contract includes the replacement of points. Incorrect maintenance of points was identified as the most likely cause of the disaster in which seven people died and 76 were injured.

A Health and Safety Executive report was sceptical about Jarvis's claim that sabotage might have been to blame for the poor state of equipment at Potters Bar. Its inspectors have said management failures were probably responsible.

While Jarvis continues to bid for renewal work, last October it announced that it was voluntarily relinquishing contracts to maintain parts of the system. Following the decision Network Rail decided to take all maintenance work back "in-house".

Unions reacted angrily to the news that Network Rail had confirmed its intention to award Jarvis the London North East region contracts. Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT rail union, said: "It is astonishing that a company still under investigation over Potters Bar should be awarded a new contract for work on the same line.

A spokesman for Jarvis said: "We have assisted in every way and will continue to do so in the [Potters Bar] investigation."

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