Mick Whelan remembers Hatfield

16 October 2015

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, today paid tribute to those who died – and were injured – 15 years ago in the Hatfield rail crash on 17 October 2000.

Mick said: ‘Today we pause for a moment to remember those who lost their lives, and who were injured, at Hatfield. As an industry we should never forget those who died, and all those whose lives were changed, because of the Hatfield rail crash. And, as an industry, we should never forget the lessons that we learned in what is, and always will be, a safety-critical industry.’


The accident, in which four people died, and more than 70 people were injured, happened when a GNER InterCity 225 train travelling from London to Leeds was derailed, just south of Hatfield station in Hertfordshire, just before 12.30pm.


Mick said: ‘Hatfield exposed the serious shortcomings of the privatised infrastructure company Railtrack.The subsequent inquiry revealed that the company – which put profit before safety – had failed in its duty of care to passengers and workers.


‘As some people talk about privatising Network Rail we should reflect on what that means and where it goes. Private companies put profit – and their dividends to shareholders –before safety and take short cuts which result in accidents, injuries and deaths.


‘In a safety critical industry there is no room for a company, or chief executive, who wants his managers to take short cuts at the expense of fare-paying passengers, and those of us who work in the industry, and put safety, delivery, and public service first.’

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