Paddington Signal

26 January 2006

ASLEF said today that Network Rail is on the point of re-commissioning the signal that was involved in the Paddington train crash. ‘I understand that train companies have been consulted, but there has been no contact with the union on the issue,’ says ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman. ‘It strikes me as being totally irresponsible not to seek, and pay attention to, the views of our drivers who will be taking trains along this stretch of line.’


The signal in question – SN109 – has been out of commission since the accident on 5 December 1999 in which 31 people died and dozens were injured.


The signal was a major cause of the fatal crash in which 31 people died and hundreds were injured on Tuesday 5 October 1999.


Signal 109 was a bi-directional signal known to be difficult to see. Before the crash other drivers had complained about the light, which had been passed at red on eight occasions in the previous seven years.


Network Rail is, according to rail sources, to increase speeds up to those prior to the crash in a few weeks time.


We are not satisfied that the signal is in a condition to be re-introduced into service,’ says Keith Norman. ‘We regret also that no announcement has been made by Network Rail. It is inexplicable to us that neither the drivers nor those people representing the victims of the crash have been advised or consulted about its intentions.


‘To leave safety to the rail companies – after what happened five years ago – seems massively irresponsible and insensitive. It is a ridiculous that we have to find out by informal sources and that Network Rail is trying to sneak this recommissioning in through the back door.’

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