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Ignored guidance led to Hatfield crash, court told

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MAINTENANCE CONTRACTORS' failure to follow Railtrack standards and guidance on track upkeep led to the Hatfi eld rail crash in October 2000, Railtrack head of track told the Old Bailey this week.

Railtrack head of track David Ventry wrote to contractors with information in how to deal with gauge corner cracking (GCC) ahead of the crash, the court heard.

GCC caused a rail break which resulted in the fatal derailment of an inter city express at Hatfield in October 2000.

In a letter sent to maintenance contractors, Ventry set out guidance for dealing with GCC.

'If the standards and guidance had been followed, in my opinion the Hatfi ld rail crash would not have occurred, ' Ventry told the court.

Balfour Beatty was the maintenance contractor on the section of the East Coast Main Line where the crash occurred.

Its counsel Ronald Thwaites QC said the letter contained unclear wording.

But Ventry told the court: 'It's a language I would expect engineers to understand.' The court also heard that in September 1999 Railtrack's then chief executive Gerald Corbett sent an email to Ventry expressing his concerns about the number of rail breaks on the network.

The trial continues.

INFOPLUS For updates on the trial go to www. nceplus. co. uk

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