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Broken rail caused derailment - Railtrack

Railtrack say a broken rail caused the derailment of an intercity express train on the outskirts of Hatfield on Tuesday. Four people were killed and dozen injured when a high-speed train travelling from London to Leeds came off the rails.

The statement from Railtrack, published on Thursday October 19, is reproduced below…

The Railtrack board met yesterday evening, 18 October, to consider such facts as are so far known about the Hatfield disaster. The board wishes to offer its deepest sympathy to the bereaved and injured.

It was decided that the information was sufficient to make a statement about the cause of the disaster. Its preliminary view is that a broken rail caused the derailment and that the condition of the rail, which was only five years old, was wholly unacceptable. The probable cause of the fracture was gauge corner cracking. The rail was due to be replaced in November. The replacement should have been in place sooner and this was Railtrack's responsibility.

The board reviewed actions already taken, such as speed restrictions, and considered the sufficiency of the immediate measure to protect the public in other parts of the network. These have been discussed with Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate (HMRI). They will be kept under continuous review but the timeframe for renewal of the network will also be accelerated.

The board will be reviewing further information about the disaster as it becomes available.

The board then considered whether or not to accept Gerald Corbett's offer to resign as Chief Executive.

The board unanimously decided that the offer should not be accepted because Mr Corbett is the person best qualified to lead the company in the search for all root causes of the disaster and the responses. Rail quality improvement has been led vigorously by Mr Corbett and that effort must be followed through by the company.

October 19, 2000

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Vandalism to track damages train - Sept 9
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Railtrack to tackle vandalism  -  August 23, 1999
New plans to beat vandals -  July 13, 1999
Crackdown on station vandalism -  July 9, 1999
Station face-lift hits buffers -  March 19, 1999
WAGN failures -  August 20, 1998
WAGN anger - July 12, 1998

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