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In the papers today - 20 March

Some of the UK's biggest train operators warned about falling standards of track maintenance months before the west coast line crash which killed one passenger and injured dozens of others.
Virgin Trains has confirmed that it contacted Network Rail -the company in charge of Britain's rail system - before last month's Grayrigg crash after noticing a deterioration in performance on track repairs - The Guardian A train company which runs one of Britain's most crowded commuter rail services yesterday announced it was raising fares by up to 20%, leading to fears that others could soon follow suit. South West Trains (SWT) announced the increases will take effect from May 20. The move was condemned as 'unjustified, unexplained and unfair' by one passenger group. Campaigners also believe it is evidence that proposals to deregulate protected rail fares should be scrapped - The Daily Telegraph A methane explosion killed 61 people when it ripped through a Siberian coal mine in the deadliest accident to hit Russia's mining industry in at least a decade. The death toll could climb steeply as the local administration said that at least 64 miners were still underground eight hours after the blast yesterday - The Independent Kier Group predicted a boom in construction in the next few years as the big builders form stronger relationships with contractors ahead of the 2012 Olympics. However, the construction, housebuilding and property group has faced difficulties at a hotel project in Antigua, although it would not give details of any provision - The Financial Times The chief executive of Forth Ports, the UK's last remaining listed port operator and a takeover candidate, isoptimistic about its growth potential despite a fall in pre-tax profit for 2006. Turnover and profit at the company's ports businesses in east-central Scotland fell as a result of a series of shutdowns at North Sea oil installations and at oil refineries at Grangemouth, which are big Forth Ports customers - The Financial Times

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