NETWORK RAIL has been accused of ignoring normal safety practices by removing lookout patrols in the Lancashire and Cumbria region. The patrols were scrapped earlier this month – amid claims that Network Rail did it to cut costs.
Transport workers feel that it is now only a matter of time before there is another fatal accident in the region.
The area has seen two main tragedies. Four railway workers working on the West Coast Main Line died when they were hit by a runaway trailer at Tebay, Cumbria, on 15 February, 2004. There was another fatal derailment on 23 February 2007, just to the south of Grayrigg in Cumbria. Here one person died.
And just last week, on Tuesday 17 th, a DB Schenker freight train rolled backwards for more than a mile from Shap Fell in Cumbria. Here, only quick action by signaling staff in Carlisle prevented an accident as the train had a crew on board.
There have also been incidents of runaway rail vehicles on the London Underground and in Scotland.