Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paddington Train Crash 'As Senseless as Terrorism'; Damning Indictment as Rail Firm Faces Huge Fines

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paddington Train Crash 'As Senseless as Terrorism'; Damning Indictment as Rail Firm Faces Huge Fines

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL CHESTON

THE Paddington rail crash was "as senseless and unnecessary" as a terrorist attack, a court heard today.

Years of institutionalised failure by Network Rail was ultimately to blame for the tragedy which killed 31 people and injured more than 400 in 1999, the judge was told at the start of a two-day sentencing hearing, which could see the rail company fined millions of pounds.

Profit was more important to rail bosses than taking steps to ensure

Ethe safety of the railway, the court heard. As a result the catastrophic dangers of one particular signal, the now notorious SN109 at Ladbroke Grove Junction, were ignored. The signal had been missed by drivers on seven other occasions in five years.

"An exhaustive investigation has decided this was not a case of blunders by a few individuals jeopardising a broadly safe rail system, said Philip Mott, QC, prosecuting.

"The failings started with a culture at the top of the body responsible for the track and affected staff at all levels of the organisation" he said. …

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