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Railhub Archive
1999-11-30 DET-001
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


Prescott drives up rail safety standards

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John Prescott
Ladbroke Grove

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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Prescott drives up rail safety standards

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30 November 1999
source Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
type Press release

note Press Notice 1151

The Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott today announced concrete results from the immediate action plan that he agreed with the rail industry in the aftermath of the Paddington rail crash.

This immediate action plan was originally agreed at the first Rail Safety Summit in October and Mr Prescott has asked the industry to report back at the National Rail Summit in May.

Concrete measures include:

o A nationwide standard for core driver training by train operating companies which will initially be implemented through codes of practice to be agreed no later than March 2000 leading to a mandatory standard;
o extension into a nationwide independent and confidential reporting system which will allow all staff to phone in safety concerns. Staff will be briefed next March and the system fully operative by the end of 2000 – this will also include infrastructure contractors and rolling stock leasing companies;
o confirmation of early introduction of the train protection warning system (TPWS). Railtrack will introduce it at 12,000 sites by the end of 2002 (a year earlier than planned), beginning with highest risk locations. TPWS will be in operation on the Brighton and Bedford line by the end of 2000. Train operators have committed to fit 33 per cent of trains by the end of 2001 and 75 per cent of trains by the end of 2002 and all trains by the end of 2003;
o the industry will continue to introduce ATP on high speed trains and move towards European standards – the whole industry is committed to respond positively to the forthcoming safety report from Sir David Davies who was present at the meeting and will report in the second week of January.
o a common standard for reporting and investigating signals passed at danger (SPADs) is now in operation;
o all train operating companies have now acted on the 22 Health and Safety Executive recommendations for avoiding SPADs;
o the industry has drafted a new national safety plan to improve safety management and ensure best practice across the network.

The action plan was drafted after the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Transport, Lord Macdonald, called on rail industry leaders, regulators and unions to lay down concrete plans for driving up safety standards on Britain's railways.

Mr Prescott said:

"Rail is already the safest form of land transport, but naturally the Paddington disaster undermined public confidence. Quite rightly the public expect to see the industry take action. That is why I called rail industry leaders together to agree an urgent overhaul of safety, for which they are responsible.
"I am pleased to say they have taken to heart everything that I asked of them in the wake of that terrible tragedy and today can announce concrete results on measures that can be taken now and commitment to a programme of action for longer term projects.

"I repeat my pledge to the public that the industry will make rail travel even safer."

Mr Prescott concluded:

"I'm pleased that we've been able to report this early progress but it's important that we finish what we have begun. In the future the rail industry will approach safety issues with a partnership approach. The industry will report back to me at the next rail summit next spring. In the meantime I will of course remain in close touch with developments."

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Railhub Archive ::: 1999-11-30 DET-001


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