Paddington approach signals 'dangerously obscured'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A new report from an independent expert warns that 24 signals on the approach to Paddington station are dangerously obscured.

A new report from an independent expert warns that 24 signals on the approach to Paddington station are dangerously obscured.

An investigation by Roy Bell, a former director of testing for British Rail and Railtrack, examined signals near the station in the area where two trains collided after one went through a red light on October 5.

According to BBC Radio Four's Today programme, his report found 24 signals were dangerously obscured by bridges, overhead cables and other obstructions.

All the signal lights were working, the programme reported.

However, Mr Bell said it would be safer for the obscured signals to be taken out of service.

The report, commissioned by the train drivers' union Aslef, threw into doubt Railtrack's reported plans to reopen lines outside the station tomorrow.

Rail regulator Tom Winsor told Today the report was 'an important matter', but the decision on when to recommence services would be made by the Health and Safety Executive, which had yet to decide.

Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, where another, more minor, train crash occurred last night, said of the report: 'We need a full and convincing rebuttal from Railtrack and an all-clear from the Health and Safety Executive before Paddington can reopen.

'We can't take any chances,' he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

Graham Stringer, a Labour member of the Commons Transport Select Committee, told Today: 'Railtrack should say openly and publicly how they intend to respond to this report and how they can ensure the public is safe.'

Jonathan Bray, of pressure group Save our Railways told Today: 'This is very disturbing. 'I think the Health and Safety Executive need to look at this report as a matter of urgency.'

Comments