Andrew Haines, Network Rail Chief Executive, has promised to understand the cause and put in place immediate safety measures following yesterday’s fatal train derailment, in which three people died.
As he arrived on site, Andrew offered his condolences and pledged a thorough investigation of the crash. He said:
“My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy, especially the families and friends of the three people who died and those that are injured. I want to express my thanks to my colleagues at Network Rail, ScotRail, the British Transport Police and all the emergency services who responded so quickly and professionally and continue to do so.
“Questions are inevitably being asked as to how this could happen and I am determined that we understand the circumstances that led to this devastating event. It’s too early to draw conclusions but it is critical that we investigate thoroughly and with care, and work closely with rail safety authorities, to make sure this can’t happen again.”
Andrew joined Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a helicopter survey of the site, before talking to responders and investigators.
There has been speculation since the crash that rainfall and flooding was the cause of the accident. The Government has asked Network Rail to review its resilience to extreme weather.
However, upon addressing the speculation, Andrew said: “I will not pre-empt the outcome of the investigation into this awful event, but it is clear the weather was appalling and there were floods and landslips in the area. I have asked my teams to put extra measures in place, from immediate, heightened inspections, to medium-term work with meteorologists to improve information and forecasting.”
The measures that Andrew has outlined include:
- As a precaution, dozens of nationwide sites with a higher risk slope will be inspected.
- In-house engineers and external contractors will inspect the slopes and will be supplemented by helicopter surveys.
- Network Rail engineers are reviewing the existing programme for remote monitoring of high-risk sites
Andrew concluded by saying: “Our climate is changing and it is increasingly challenging the performance and reliability of the railway, but incidents like yesterday’s devastating accident are incredibly rare, and our railway remains the safest major railway in Europe.
“Our network was designed for a temperate climate, and it’s challenged when we get extremes such as storms and floods. We’re seeing this more and more and although we can address them on the ground with precautionary measures, we are acutely aware we need a long-term resolution, and we had already secured additional funding and resources to help achieve this.
“Yesterday was a tragedy, a truly horrific event, and my thoughts remain with everyone affected. Understanding what happened is the key to making sure it never occurs again.”
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