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Railhub Archive
2002-05-11 RTK-001
Railtrack plc


Railtrack say points are the focus for investigation into Potters Bar accident

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Railtrack plc

Railtrack say points are the focus for investigation into Potters Bar accident

11 May 2002: 18.00
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

note PR020323

6 pm Railtrack today said that the investigation into the set of points just prior to Potters Bar station show significant damage and lead to a likely conclusion that there was a fracture in one of the supports (front stretcher bar) as the train passed over them which caused the points to move and derail the train.

How this came about is being investigated but initial evidence suggests that nuts that held two other supports in place were detached from the points which resulted in the front stretcher bar bearing all the stress and finally breaking under the pressure. Why the nuts were detached is not known. All inspection reports show that as recently as Thursday 9th May during the day there were no reported defects.

Railtrack Chief Executive John Armitt said:
“This has been a terrible accident and one for which the industry is truly sorry. We are unclear why nuts which were integral parts of the points were detached and the investigation will look into this in great detail. We will not rest until we have exhausted the investigation which is proceeding in co-operation with the British Transport Police and the HSE.

“We have immediately instructed that other points across the network be checked and so far no similar problem has been found. We will not, at this juncture be imposing speed restrictions across the network because of this accident. However, as we find out more we will be prudent and keep our safety responsibilities to the fore in any decision.

“Obviously people will want to know why this happened and what will be done? There may even be questions as to whether people had taken their eye of the ball with all that is going on in the industry? I can only say that in my six months here I have seen nothing but a determination and absolute commitment to running a safe railway. This accident is a savage blow to us all”.

- ends -

For more information please contact the Railtrack press office on 020 7557 8292.
All recent press releases can be found on the Railtrack web site :

Railhub Archive ::: 2002-05-11 RTK-001


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