Passenger reveals Potters Bar warning

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The Independent Online

A worried passenger was trying to raise the alarm in the hours before seven people died when a train derailed, an inquest heard yesterday.

Peter Prime, a company director, told jurors how a train he was travelling on "lurched" near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, on the evening before the crash.

He said he told a train buffet car steward of his concerns minutes after the incident, then made two calls the following morning in an attempt to alert the train operating firm, Great North Eastern Railway (GNER).

The inquest in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, has heard that four men and three women were killed when the 12.45 London to King's Lynn train derailed as it hit faulty points south of Potters Bar station at around 1pm on 10 May 2002. Six passengers were killed, along with a pedestrian, Agnes Quinlivan, 80. More than 70 people were hurt.

Mr Prime said he had raised his concerns with the steward and was told that the train manager would speak to him before he got off – but no one made contact.

The following day – only hours before the fatal crash – he telephoned GNER twice. When they called him back, they said the train had a "tracking" problem caused by wheel imbalance which was being dealt with.

The hearing continues and is due to end later this summer.