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Cumbria (UK) rail crash

Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 08:09 AM
danensis 24 Feb 07 - 12:33 PM
The Borchester Echo 24 Feb 07 - 12:40 PM
Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 02:51 PM
Dave Roberts 24 Feb 07 - 04:20 PM
Peace 24 Feb 07 - 04:36 PM
Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 05:03 PM
Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM
melodeonboy 24 Feb 07 - 08:57 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Feb 07 - 03:18 AM
Jean(eanjay) 25 Feb 07 - 05:35 AM
Scooby Doo 25 Feb 07 - 06:44 AM
Bernard 25 Feb 07 - 06:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Feb 07 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 25 Feb 07 - 06:55 AM
Bernard 25 Feb 07 - 01:45 PM
danensis 25 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM
Col K 25 Feb 07 - 08:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 07 - 09:49 PM
Georgiansilver 26 Feb 07 - 02:58 AM
Bernard 26 Feb 07 - 06:46 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Feb 07 - 07:13 AM
jonm 26 Feb 07 - 10:31 AM
Bernard 26 Feb 07 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 26 Feb 07 - 05:15 PM
Bernard 26 Feb 07 - 05:41 PM
bubblyrat 26 Feb 07 - 05:42 PM
autolycus 26 Feb 07 - 05:58 PM
Bernard 26 Feb 07 - 06:08 PM
folk1e 26 Feb 07 - 08:17 PM
the lemonade lady 27 Feb 07 - 05:43 AM
Scrump 27 Feb 07 - 09:54 AM
Bunnahabhain 27 Feb 07 - 10:07 AM
Bernard 27 Feb 07 - 10:28 AM
bfdk 27 Feb 07 - 10:29 AM
Scrump 27 Feb 07 - 10:31 AM
Bernard 27 Feb 07 - 10:41 AM
Bernard 27 Feb 07 - 10:50 AM
folk1e 27 Feb 07 - 07:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 07 - 08:30 PM
Bernard 28 Feb 07 - 07:39 AM
Scrump 28 Feb 07 - 07:45 AM
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Subject: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 08:09 AM

Perhaps this may seem a little odd, but how comforting it is to know that such a serious rail accident resulting in so few casualties.

My heart goes out to the family of the lady who died, and I'm sure we all wish those injured a speedy and full recovery.

BUT!

Had around a hundred people been involved in a crash on a motorway at over 90 miles per hour, I'm guessing the death toll and serious injuries would have been much greater.

As morning broke, the train (to me) looked miraculous... almost like a derailed model train. All the carriages were intact and the correct shape, as if you could pick them up, put them back on the track and send them on their way.

This has to be a good sign for the future.

No, I'm not trying to diminish the enormity of the disaster as such, just to congratulate those concerned for a good job in minimising the consequences of such an accident.

The enquiry is in its early stages, but it would seem that driver error is unlikely, as the Police are already expressing 'interest' in a set of points.

'How can a set of points which are so far away be to blame?' seems an obvious question.

Simple answer. A train travelling in a fairly straight line at high speed can easily continue upright for some distance after a slight derailment - and the driver is, of course, no longer in control... he is now a passenger.

Eventually the train will veer off the track completely, but this could be a few miles from the original 'accident'.

My apologies... I know the facts aren't clear, and this is mere speculation.

I'm just relieved it wasn't worse - and that the trains themselves seem to be so much safer.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: danensis
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:33 PM

The media are doing their usual "How dangerous rail travel must be".

They have to go back over 50 years of rail accidents to collect the number of deaths that occurred on the roads last year.

Despite the tragedy of death and injury, it really is a triumph for train design,

John


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:40 PM

In a desperate effort to drag this thread onto a musical topic, the praise being heaped on the bravery of the train driver reminds me of the courage of John Axon in the Radio Ballad.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 02:51 PM

Sorry - forgot to mention that I'd done the Manchester-Glossop 'Folk Train' the night before... that was what prompted me to write. A tenuous musical connection...!

Unlike the Manchester-Sheffield run, which is on noisy old diesel stock that bounces around in a very worrying fashion, the Glossop run is on very smooth, quiet electric stock with overhead catenaries. You'd hardly know the train was moving if you didn't look out of the window.

So I can imagine the passengers' shock and horror when the Pendolino started 'bumping along the stones' (as Sir Richard Branson put it).

I'm not entirely sure what the driver hoped to achieve by staying at his post, though... probably too terrified to think straight, poor bugger. But it's great to know he survived!!


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 04:20 PM

I heard someone on the TV news saying that it was 'a miracle' that more people weren't killed. It's no miracle, it's the result of sound engineering and lessons learned from previous accidents.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Peace
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 04:36 PM

Latest here.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 05:03 PM

Like Sir Richard said... those trains are built like tanks. Rolling stock of a mere ten years ago would have crumpled and disintegrated, killing most who had been inside.

Lessons have been learned, but again a 'track fault' appears to be the cause. Blaming 'Victorian tracks' isn't valid, as this line underwent a major overhaul a few years ago, and '1000 miles of track were replaced'. London to Glasgow is under 500 miles... as it is a dual trackway for the most part, the sums add up.


I'm not so sure about the renewed call for seat belts... people like to be able to walk around on a train - and catering staff have to. The kitchen is in the 'power carriage', according to Virgin's website - the one which was violently whipped through 180 degrees.

Someone put forward an argument that seat belts are compulsory in aeroplanes... how daft! That's only on take-off and landing, or in a perceived emergency. If that principle had been applied to trains, I doubt that those on the Pendolino would have had time to buckle up. Half a mile at 90mph is 20 seconds... only just enough time for the driver to realise what was going on and sound an alarm...

The facts speak for themselves - very few were seriously injured, and we don't yet know the cause of those injuries. Speculative guesses suggest they were people who fell from one side of a carriage to the other. That may or may not be so. They could even have been injured by flying luggage... a laptop in its bag is heavy...

The lady who died (I'm sorry if this sounds callous, that isn't intended) may have survived if age had been on her side... but that's just speculation on my part. Her family are understandably distraught - particularly as two of them (daughter and son-in-law) were travelling with her. They have sustained 'serious injuries'.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM

The official findings are frightening (BBC News)... the points which are now known to have caused the crash were found to have 'loose or missing nuts', yet had only been 'serviced' three weeks ago.

Basically the stretcher bar which keeps the movable sections of rail at the correct gauge wasn't doing its job because it was loose.

A bit like having a wheel changed on your car only to have it fall off three weeks later because the mechanic didn't torque the nuts correctly...?

Apparently Network Rail have now ordered a check on 700 sets of points as a 'precaution'...

Railtrack were guilty of the same neglect at Potters Bar five years ago...

Surely the responsibility for such vital checks doesn't rest with just one employee?


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 08:57 PM

I'm aware that this accident has received a lot of publicity, but based on the average, I'm assuming that approximately ten people would have been killed on the roads on the same day. They obviously weren't afforded the same publicity on the basis that we seem to accept road traffic deaths (along with all the other problems that road traffic inflicts upon us) as part of everyday life. I suppose that for the media, daily deaths on the road do not make exciting headlines whereas the odd train or aeroplane crash does.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 03:18 AM

I recently had wheel nuts on my Volvo come loose, days after having had the wheels balanced. Luckily I correctly diagnosed the rumbling noise from the rear of the car on my regular Thursday 90mph run down the A2 and Thanet Way to lecture in Broadstairs, and tightened the nuts before my return, or I might well not have survived the return journey.

I saw the mechanic torque the nuts down with a torque wrench when the wheels were balanced. It transpires that it is standard advice that after you have had wheels removed and replaced, after 30 miles, check the wheel nuts.

I have been a petrolhead for many years and did not know that.

My point in this context is to wonder how often the nuts on a set of railway points (aka railroad turnouts in the USA I believe) need their torque settings checked in order to be safe.

A spinoff thought is to worry how often accountants and "private equity" investors think it cost effective and "efficient" to make such checks.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:35 AM

If the safety features in the train hadn't been as good they were the outcome would have been worse.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:44 AM

The lady who died hopfully died without injury it is still a shame but i agree with Bernard she did have age against her.
I feel sorry for her family who survived the incident.




Scooby


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:51 AM

Very true - but if Network Rail had maintained those points properly... there wouldn't have been an outcome to talk about.

Remember Railtrack?


Checking torque settings isn't enough - car wheel nuts work loose because of corrosion on the threads and the wheels themselves. A good mechanic understands this, and cleans everything properly before reassembly - then they cannot work loose. A tyre-change monkey is only concerned with a fast turnover...

Maybe there is a parallel with points maintenance?


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:51 AM

I don't know if the contractors were Jarvis once again but it would not at all surprise me. We do some work for Jarvis's computer section and all they seem to be interested in is saving money.

I add my condolonces to the family of the lady who died and hope that the incident will teach some important safety lessons to those who maintain these tracks.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:55 AM

I used to work on the Signal & Telecomms Eng'rs Dept on British Railways as it then was. As far as I can remember, the permanent way (track) on main lines such as this one, were thoroughly checked daily for faults like this (and broken rails), when labour was so much more plentiful. This is one of the prices to pay for more mechanisation and less labour, there's always a downside to any kind of progress!

John Axon. Hardly the same, he was on a steam loco with hardly any automatic brakes on the train, handbrakes should have been pinned down on a certain percentage of the old wagons but the guard didn't have time to complete his task before the train began to 'run away' down a steep incline. This was because his (John Axon's) steam brake didn't work on the loco, either, due to a catastrophic failure. He was, unfortunately, doomed! The fireman managed to escape by jumpimg off the footplate before it was too late and the train had gathered too much speed for him to safely do so.

With all due respect to the driver on the Pendolino, he was hardly in a similar situation as so much is automated on their train control systems. Besides, if the train was already derailed, I doubt whether the train brakes would have made very much difference to the situation!


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 01:45 PM

Yes, Jim - exactly why I wondered why he stayed at his post... after all, as soon as a driver leaves his seat (or takes his feet off the pedal) the brakes are automatically applied. I think the likely explanation was that he was frozen with fear. And who wouldn't be?

Maybe inspection of points will now be considered to be a priotity... but at the expense of what else?

It seems people are now leaping out of the woodwork and saying 'it was never this bad when the trains were nationalised'... on the contrary... fatal rail accidents were far more frequent, and the death tolls were significantly higher. I'm not saying points were to blame for them all... and other factors will affect the statistics.

This BBC report shows the trend - and illustrates that many recent accidents were due to causes outside of the control of the railways authorities - such as someone parking on the track to commit suicide...

One thing is particularly noteworthy - the trend is far fewer deaths than there ever used to be, so someone is doing something right somewhere.

Why does this attract more interest than the many deaths per day on the roads? Quite simple, I think... if an accident involving so many people in one place at the same time were to happen on the roads, it would attract the same attention. That Neoplan Skyliner bus at the beginning of the year, for example...


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: danensis
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM

If we're going to drag out the "things are better under privitisation" argument, then we need to remember that the reason the railways had to be nationalised in the first place is because the "big four" had spent so little on track and trains that the whole network was going down the pan,

John


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Col K
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 08:26 PM

It is a miracle that more people were not killed by this high speed accident. Whatever the cause may turn out to be let us be thankful that the modern technology and construction methods used in the train proved their worth. NOT ONE TRAIN WINDOW WAS BROKEN.How many cars, buses, or airplanes would crash at 95mph withouit breaking a window.

Accidents happen and always will.Things can break just hours after being checked,even if the check has been done properly.

Let us leave the investigators to do their job and supply their findings and suggestions for the future and just be thankful that it was no worse.

Col


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 09:49 PM

If people don't want to wear seat belts they don't have to - but I find it much more comfortable wearing one in a moving vehicle, and wish they had them on trains, and all buses. For increased comfort as much as for improved safety.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:58 AM

Wonder who the fall guy will be?


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 06:46 AM

Someone will be forced to resign - and go on to earn a bigger salary somewhere else... that's the usual practice, isn't it?

Sorry... cynical moment!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 07:13 AM

That only happens to people high-up in the system, not to the ordinary employees who are the normal fall-guys when something goes wrong.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: jonm
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:31 AM

I wonder whether the divorce between the rolling-stock operators and the permanent way companies has had an effect.

Once upon a time the tracks and trains were adequately maintained and equally safe (or otherwise). Now it appears the rolling stock has become strong enough to withstand the sort of 90mph disasters which are becoming more common on poorly-maintained track. There must be a knock-on in terms of fuel use, raw material use and frequency of breakdown due to the bulk and weight of the engines and carriages. At each breakdown or accident, the various companies all blame each other at the expense of solutions, progress.... and the taxpayer.

Travelling by rail these days reminds me of the John Glenn (?) comment of being miles above the earth amid 20,000 components each of which was manufactured by the lowest tenderer.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:55 AM

Keeping the 'rolling stock operators' and 'permanent way companies' separate has always been the way with roads... why should the railways be any different?

Correct and appropriate maintenance is all that is needed...

Sorry... make that honesty!!


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:15 PM

It was said on 'Sky' news tonight that there were missing bolts from the stretcher bar of the points. It was also said that sabotage had been ruled out because there was no sign of tampering with the bolts.

If they can't find the bolts, how on earth do they know, for sure, that they haven't been tampered with?


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:41 PM

I'd guess they were looking at the ones they could find... some of which, apparently, were buried in the ballast.

The report (in PDF format) is fairly clear...


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: bubblyrat
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:42 PM

If the bolts / nuts had been required to be secured using some kind of wire locking ,or similarly retentive ,device,as is the standard procedure in aircraft maintenance, then A) they would not have worked loose, B) their abscence would have instantly indicated either sabotage or negligence.The latter could easily be established by checking a written logbook containing the signature of the person doing the work. But it is all rather academic really, as nobody ever gets the blame, nobody ever gets the sack, nobody is ever accountable or responsible ( like our MPs & Ministers,) so what"s all the fuss ?? It"s happened before, and it will happen again !! And again .It"s the British Way !!!


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: autolycus
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:58 PM

A reason this is in the news is 'cos journoa and broadcasters travel by train.

      So why not a fuss about road deaths? 'Cos as Uncle Joe said,to the effect,one death is a tragedy,many ,many deaths is a statistic.


    And for private companies,staff are a 'cost', and costs always must be borne down on (for some reason).

    maintenance is labour-intensive,i.e. a 'cost' problem.






       Ivor


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 06:08 PM

The one thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history...


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: folk1e
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:17 PM

Railtrack suposedly do not use subcontractors like Jarvis now so the "blame" is squarely with them! There MD has unreservidly appologised and I suspect as there are paper "irregularities" someone will be blamed for this. I expect a court case. I do note however that a recording veichle passed over the points in the last few days so we may learn more.
Well done those Italian designers, it could so easily have been worse!
My grand daughter would normaly be on that train! I am so glad that she (and her mother) were visiting me in Manchester when it happened!


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 05:43 AM

Having lived with a railway man for 17yrs I am not at all surprised that this has happened. The stories I could tell you!

Like emergency crews setting out from Cardiff for Shrewsbury and ending up in Birmingham?

Like drivers wanting people to jump in front of the train so that they could have 6wks off on full pay?

Like econimising on parafin (in the days of real lamps) and the lamps not glowing brightly enough for the drivers to see what the signals said at night.

Like working in signal boxes below 60 degrees in the winter and not allowed to bring in a heater. Taking out the pot bellied stoves and replacing them with feeble electric wall heaters.

Changing the seating to hard wooden chairs so that the signal man didn't doze off.

Changing the shifts from 3x8hrs to 2x12hrs.

No radios in the boxes and they're not that keen about them reading books either.

Yes the working conditions may have been changed within the last 10 years, but you can't change the men that have been there longer and are stuck in their ways.

You find a Permanant Way Ganger and ask him what he thinks of his job.

S


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Scrump
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:54 AM

A lot of people have blamed this accident on privatisation, Thatcher, etc. but they are IMO missing the point.

And whether more people die on the roads than in rail crashes is also irrelevant. Because this accident is one that could have been avoided, it being the direct result of someone not doing their job properly. It wasn't caused by freak weather conditions, an earthquake or an Act of God, or plain bad luck - it was caused by a person not properly checking that this set of points were intact.

Whether the rail network and trains are owned by same company or not, this particular accident was the result of some individual(s) being negligent in their duty to the safety of passengers. And whether that person worked for British Rail, or a maintenance subcontractor, is irrelevant.

After Potters Bar, there can be no excuses this time, and those responsible - the individual(s) who were supposed to have checked the points; their managers; the subcontractor company; and Network Rail - must all be seen to be held to account. The procedures for checking the track should be changed so that they have to be signed off by two independent inspectors. We can't let them get away with this again.

How many more have to die before the government takes rail safety seriously?


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:07 AM

Scrump, it is entirely relevant that Road travel is much more dangerous than Rail travel. Let us make a few assumptions:

1. Nothing can ever be absolutely safe.

2. There is not an infinite amount of money to make the transport network safer.

3. A life saved is of equal worth regardless of location.


The measures needed to reduce the low number of deaths on the railways would cost a fortune. The same amount spent elsewhere would save more lives. It's not quite that simple, as alot of the measures to improve safety would also help to improve speed, efficiency and reliability....


Personally, I think the utter mess made of the railways was the worst action of the entire 18 years of the Thatcher-Major years. They made things worse, unlike other decades of other governments who merely did nothing with transport.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:28 AM

Dr. Beeching started the rot...


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: bfdk
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:29 AM

Staying strictly with the topic of trains getting safer, the Eschede train disaster in Germany springs to mind. It happened only 8 years ago and cost 101 lives.

Best wishes,

Bente


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Scrump
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:31 AM

I don't dispute what you say, Bunnahabhain. I just get fed up with people saying either of these two things:

1. This is all caused by Thatcher privatising the railways; or

2. So what? More people die on the roads than on the railways.

I don't think either of these can be used as an argument against the people who were meant to check the points that caused the crash, not having done it.

After the Potters Bar crash (which itself wasn't long after the Hatfield one), you would think things would have improved. But it seems they haven't.

Yes, it might have been better if the railways had not been nationalised. If it's such a good idea to renationalise, then why hasn't Blair done it? He's had ten years to sort it out.

And yes, it's terrible that people die on the roads in greater numbers. But that doesn't mean we can't try to stop people dying on both the roads and the railways.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:41 AM

Eschede train disaster - I've seen a TV documentary about that one. Nasty.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 10:50 AM

The only answer to reducing road deaths is to educate people. Whilst people steadfastly refuse to be educated, there's not much else can be done!!

The simple fact in this case is that someone did not do their job. Notice I omitted 'properly'...

Many road accidents are caused by bad judgement in a split second. Hatfield, Potters Bar and Grayrigg were effectively premeditated...


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: folk1e
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:52 PM

Exactly the opposite of premeditated (IMHO)!
The people responsible could NOT have thaught the end result would have come to pass.
We are (or should be) responsible for our own actions (or inactions)


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:30 PM

This is all caused by Thatcher privatising the railways It wasn't in fact Thatcher who was in power when the botched privatisation was carried out - it was Major. She'd have got round to it, but perhaps she wouldn't have cocked it up so badly. It required a perverted kind of genius to achieve the outcome that we were landed with.

If it's such a good idea to re-nationalise, then why hasn't Blair done it? That answers itself. For Blair anything that sounds like Socialism is unthinkable. I wouldn't be that surprised if David Cameron proposes to take the railways back into public ownership - it'd be a voter winner, and a good way of

It messed up all kinds of things, including proper maintenance, with all kinds of separate firms shedding responsibility and failing to coordinate. Expertise that had been built up over many years was shattered. A lot of that still applies now, with Network Rail relying on outside contractors to do work for them, or in some cases, not to do it.

In spite of this the chance of getting killed in a rail journey are far lower than in an equivalent road journey. Why are rail accidents bigger news than road accidents? I suppose it's because they are unusual, and news id focused on the unusual. Also there's a sense in which in a train you are a total passenger - you've handed all responsibility over to the driver. In a car there's a sense in which even as a passenger you have a sense of having some control.


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 07:39 AM

No, I stick with 'pre-meditated'. The personnel responsible for maintenance made the decision not to act upon what must have been obvious defects. That means they thought about it and decided to take the risk.

Similar in many ways to someone getting behind the wheel of a car having had too much to drink. No, they didn't think the 'the end result would have come to pass' - in fact, they didn't think.

Apparently the track was filmed at high speed recently, but they only look at the footage in the event of an incident because it would take too long to audit all the footage. Such an admission implies that the records are being made for the wrong reasons...

It seems to me that there is a simple answer... when a maintenance check is made, digital images of the points could be taken as evidence of their current condition. The images should be archived for as long as is reasonable, rather like PAT results for electrical equipment.

Before a certificate of worthiness is issued, an auditor would check the image (easily done via email). A missing stretcher bar would be obvious to anyone viewing those images, and should then raise alarm bells to investigate further. Admittedly loose bolts may not show up, but it would be clear if any were missing!

Yes, there is a cost involved - but how does that cost compare with the cost of recent events?


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Subject: RE: Cumbria (UK) rail crash
From: Scrump
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 07:45 AM

McG of H: I wasn't saying myself that Thatcher privatised the railways, but that I've seen lots of other people say that's the reason for the accident. You're right that it was Major.

The point I was making was that, yes, the privatisation of the railways has not worked and it would arguably be better to renationalise them, but that isn't the reason for the accident. It could have happened if the railways had never been privatised. It was caused by neglect, and that could just as easily have happened if the railways hadn't been privatised, because it comes down to an individual not doing their job. Accidents used to happen in the British Rail days, when, if anything, people were less safety conscious than they are today. It may be that most railway workers in the BR days were more conscientious than they are today, or not - I don't know. But there have probably always been a few who were lazy or didn't take the job seriously enough.

I think your last paragraph is spot-on. But also, sadly, road accidents happen every day, and usually involve small numbers of people each time. The fact is that these small numbers add up to a much bigger number than those involved in a train crash, but because it's a constant 'drip' that we are all used to, rather than a 'flood' like a plane or train crash, means they're not big news. That may not be a good thing, but that's how things are.


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Mudcat time: 21 October 2:19 AM EDT

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