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Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003


14.Railways are statistically one of the safest means of transportation. Travel by rail is 6 times safer than travel by car.(1) However, in recent years, a number of serious accidents on the railways have affected public confidence and have revealed weaknesses in safety regulation.

15.On 5 October 1999, at Ladbroke Grove Junction, about 2 miles west of Paddington Station there was a head-on crash at high speed between two trains. This caused the death of 31 people, including both train drivers, and inflicted injuries, some of them critical, on over 400 other people.

16.As a consequence of this crash, Lord Cullen was appointed by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), with the consent of the Deputy Prime Minister, to conduct a Public Inquiry under Section 14(2)(b) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Lord Cullen’s terms of reference were:


To inquire into, and draw lessons from, the accident near Paddington Station on 5 October 1999, taking account of the findings of the Health and Safety Executive’s investigations into immediate causes.


To consider general experience derived from relevant accidents on the railway since the Hidden Inquiry [into the 1988 Clapham rail crash], with a view to drawing conclusions about:


factors which affect safety management


the appropriateness of the current regulatory regime.


In the light of the above, to make recommendations for improving safety on the future railway.

17.Lord Cullen’s inquiry reported in 2 parts, the second of which looked at rail safety management and regulation. Lord Cullen’s Part 2 Report(2) made 74 recommendations which the Secretary of State asked the HSC to ensure were acted upon and implemented. 17 of these concerned accident investigation, including the creation of an independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), with appropriate powers and duties. Some applied solely to industry investigations and inquiries.


Transport Statistics 2002 – DfT


The Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry, Part 2 Report, Health and Safety Commission, London, September 2001

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