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Railway danger incidents rise

PUBLISHED: 15:58 31 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

THE number of incidents of trains passing signals at danger rose sharply in July 2001 compared with the July 2000 total, it was announced today.

But Ipswich-based Anglia Railways was again in the clear - none of its trains were involved in any incidents in July.

THE number of incidents of trains passing signals at danger rose sharply in July 2001 compared with the July 2000 total, it was announced today.

But Ipswich-based Anglia Railways was again in the clear – none of its trains were involved in any incidents in July.

There were 50 cases of signals passed at danger (SPADs) in July 2001, against 31 in July 2000, said the Health and Safety Executive.

The latest figure took the number of SPADs in the May-July 2001 period to 139 — well ahead of the 113 figure for May-July 2000, the HSE added.

The HSE said the figures were still well below the levels seen before the big anti-SPADs measures taken after the 1999 Paddington rail crash which was caused by a train going through a red light.

Two Great Eastern trains went through red lights during July, one at Witham in Essex and one at Seven Kings on the outskirts of London. Both were classified as minor incidents by the HSE.

The HSE said today that the improvement seen after Paddington had now stopped and there was now "clear signs of a slight worsening from the best levels achieved".

Peter Meades, from Anglia Railways, said the company had introduced measures to prevent SPADS after a number of incidents earlier in the year.

These had brought down the numbers of incidents, and had prompted the HSE to lower its estimate for the number of SPADS the company would suffer from during the year 2001-2 from 11 to just six.

"But overall it is always difficult to look at one month's figures in isolation – train companies are very aware of the importance of safety," said Mr Meades.

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