Union demands counsellors on hand after BBC Paddington ‘fact based drama’

19 September 2005

The rail company First has agreed that counsellors will be available at London and Reading on Wednesday, after the BBC has shown a ‘fact-based drama’ about the events of the Paddington rail disaster and the subsequent Cullen Inquiry.

The programme, called ‘Derailed’ is due to be shown tomorrow evening. District Organiser Stan Moran says that there is a danger that it will trigger traumatic memories of the events of 5 October 1999. ‘That is why I insisted on the presence of qualified counsellors the following morning,’ he says.

‘While generally we have confidence in the BBC, we naturally fear how the events will be presented. We’re not at all sure that a ‘fact-based drama’ is the method we would prefer for a subject of this kind.’

The BBC says that Derailed examines the issues of passenger safety, corporate responsibility and commercial interest, and asks why such tragic accidents happen. The film retells the events leading up to the crash, including reconstructing the actions that day of Michael Hodder, the driver of the Thames Train.

Stan says the film may be useful if it points out that some of the principal recommendations of the Cullen Inquiry into the causes of the crash have still not been implemented.

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