Paddington rail crash report highlights poor training

Thames Trains has been criticised for poor training and
management in Lord Cullen’s report into the Paddington rail disaster.

Thirty-one people were killed on 5 October 1999 when a Turbo
of Thames Trains and a First Great Western High Speed Train crashed at a
combined speed of around 130mph.

Michael Hodder, the driver of the Thames Train had recently
qualified as a driver and the report points to significant inadequacies in his

The signal SN109 had been passed at danger on eight
occasions since August 1993. Hodder had not been instructed directly about
signals that had been passed at danger (SPADs) and the assessment of his route
did not specifically cover the section between Paddington Station and Ladbroke

Lord Cullen said that Thames Trains should have done more to
organise management and training in a systematic manner.

Driver standards managers taught classes in their own way,
training material was not validated, and there were gaps in the training delivered
according to the report.

“I conclude that the safety culture in regard to training
was slack and less than adequate; and that there were significant failures in
communication within the organisation,” said Lord Cullen.

Bill Callaghan, Chair of
the HSC said, “The underlying issue is the failure of health and safety
management systems. The challenge for the future is to get effective systems
and make sure everyone from top to bottom in every rail company, meets their
safety responsibilities. More must be done. We all have lessons to learn.”

By Katie Hawkins. Click here to respond.

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