Paddington Survivors Group
10-point plan for Rail Safety
Recommendations for immediate action
- Government & the regulatory authorities
- Safety systems
- Driver training
- Track, signals & signal operations
- Fire prevention
- Emergency exiting
- Carriage loading
- The emergency services
- Corporate responsibility
Recommendations for immediate action
1. Government & the regulatory authorities
Fully support the establishment of a new independent rail safety authority comparable to the Civil Aviation Authority, empowered by law to ensure the safety of rail passengers and rail staff, to have the power to cease operations of any equipment that is non-compliant, to protect the interests of public safety.
The Government to publish its promised strategy for the railways.
Waiving of all fines levied by the government at train companies for late running of trains until we have an auditable safety system installed by Railtrack. Also, suspension of all profits & bonuses (1 year, or whatever time it takes to achieve the quality system).
2. Safety systems
Commitment to install immediately ATP or ETCS to the best standard available today. Publish programme for installation.
All points to be set at fail-safe while the preceding signal light is on red so that two trains travelling towards each other cannot end up on the same track.
Installation of a Management Quality System which meets or exceeds ISO 9000 / BS5750, to cover amongst other items, tracks which had been designated as requiring attention, signal sighting tests, SPADs.
3. Driver training
Promote best practice driver training to common standard across all train operating companies, study methods used by airline pilots, & Japanese/French/German train companies and consult with ASLEF for the trainings design.
SPAD awareness courses for all drivers.
No driver to be allowed on to a section of track without full route knowledge that has been tested.
4. Track, signals & signal operators
The decision to operate or not operate services on tracks which had been designated as requiring attention must be owned by Railtrack and documented in an externally audited Safety Management Quality System.
Commitment to immediate review of all tracks and any showing deterioration to be replaced immediately regardless of current possession contracts
An independent and external audit of the siting and visibility of all signals with priority given the to danger signals identified by the Rail Safety Report.
The publication of a timetable for the installing two-way communication between signalmen and drivers.
5. Fire prevention
Improvements to the crash worthiness of fuel tanks, for example by encasement in foam.
Fit sprinkler systems to all trains.
6. Emergency exiting
Ensure greater ease in opening train doors after crash has occurred.
Effective hammers to be fitted to all trains.
Ensure that the glass fitted in all carriages is designed such that it is not the cause of further injury to those attempting to exit a carriage in the event of a crash.
Ceiling hatches to be fitted to all carriages.
Emergency lighting and luminous signs to be fitted to all carriages to clearly indicate the route and manner of escape in the event of a crash.
Emergency exits to be included in the design of future rolling stock.
Clear instructions to be displayed in all carriages for procedures to be adopted in the event of a crash.
7. Carriage loading
Peak loading of trains not to be exceeded.
8. The emergency services
A review of disaster contingency planning by the emergency services including the coordination between, training of and medical supplies carried by the emergency services in the event of a major disaster.
A framework to be established by the emergency services to ensure the efficient recording of the names, addresses and contact numbers of those involved in a major accident.
9. Corporate responsibility
The introduction of Corporate Killing legislation including the options for the following sanctions against companies and directors found negligent in the event of an accident causing death or serious injury:
Punitive fines to be laid against both companies and directors.
The removal of the franchise from companies where applicable.
The disqualification from trading in the same industry of both companies and directors.
The PSG are aware of the cost implications of the above recommendations and call upon both the Government and the train operators to make available the money to implement these vital life-saving improvements to the rail system, by:
The restoration of the public subsidy to the railways to immediate post-privatisation levels.
The removal by the Government of disincentives to investment in the rail industry.
The re-allocation from existing spending plans by the train operators of sufficient funding to meet the cost of the recommendations set out above.
A block on the payment of any bonus payments to the directors of the rail operators until the above recommendations have been implemented.