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Potters Bar inquest hears track "fixed with chisel" pre-crash

An inquest has heard how a rail maintenance worker fixed a track points problem with a hammer and chisel 10 months before a train derailed in Hertfordshire, killing seven people.

Jurors hearing evidence about the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash heard how the workman discovered a locking nut missing from a bolt on a set of points at Wood Green, north London, during the late summer of 2001.

Rather than replacing the locking nut he struck the chisel along the thread of the bolt to prevent the remaining nut working loose, a witness told the hearing in Letchworth, Herts.

According to investigators, the 12.45 from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn, Norfolk, derailed when it ran over faulty points on the approach to the rail station at Potters Bar − less than 24km from Wood Green − at about 1pm on May 10 2002.

Nuts were also missing from bolts on the points which failed south of Potters Bar station, the inquest has heard.

Paul McCarthy, then a Railtrack production supervisor, said he saw a workman from Jarvis − the private firm Railtrack sub-contracted to carry out maintenance work on tracks − use the hammer and chisel at Wood Green in August or September 2001.

Railtrack has been succeeded by Network Rail.

The inquest continues.

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