Two trains a day pass red lights, claims report

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The Independent Online

Solicitors for rail crash victims today said they were "extremely worried" by reports that 76 trains passed through red lights last month.

Solicitors for rail crash victims today said they were "extremely worried" by reports that 76 trains passed through red lights last month.

Karen Darbyshire, from Collins solicitors which represents casualties of the Paddington, Southall and Watford rail disasters, said passenger fears had not been addressed.

"This situation urgently needs to be looked at and the situation reversed. It seems the lessons have not been learnt from as far back as the Watford accident," she told PA News.

"I think it's fair to say that passengers are no longer confident about train safety. We are all extremely worried about these figures."

A report in The Times newspaper said the Health and Safety Executive found 76 trains, the equivalent of two a day, did not stop for red lights in October.

The number is the same as last year and shows little improvement since the Paddington crash which has been blamed on a driver passing a red signal.

The Times also reported punctuality was suffering in the wake of the accident in which 31 people died.

Rail managers are said to be blaming "nervous drivers" especially among 500 new recruits.

Drivers are also refusing to operate trains with defective equipment and there are speed restrictions of less than 40 miles per hour on some stretches of track, it was reported.

The Health and Safety figures, the first since Paddington, were expected to be officially published within the next few days.

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions said she was unable to confirm them.

"The figures are speculation. Results at the moment are being analysed and they will be published very shortly," she said.

The Government have already said there will be a root-and-branch inquiry into safety after Paddington, conducted by Sir David Davies.

Last week Railtrack came under fire after it was found 937 broken rails were discovered on tracks last year.

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