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Prescott to review rail safety roles

DEPUTY PRIME Minister John Prescott is looking at ways of reducing fragmentation of safety responsibility in the rail industry following the Hatfield crash.

At the moment Railtrack, the Health & Safety Executive, track maintenance and renewal companies all have a role in ensuring the network is safe.

'There is universal acknowledgement that the rail industry has suffered from fragmentation, a lack of leadership and decades of under investment, ' he told the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Prescott, shadow Strategic Rail Authority chairman Sir Alastair Morton, Rail Regulator Tom Winsor and Health & Safety Commission chairman Bill Callaghan are to meet today to discuss ways of improving rail safety.

Prescott has also asked Sir Alastair to discuss future safety improvements with Railtrack and rail industry representatives.

He told MPs that speed restrictions were in place at 150 points on the rail network as a result of last week's crash.

'I have asked the Health & Safety Executive to look urgently at the immediate actions taken by Railtrack to deal with other sites where broken rails may be a potential danger and to assure me that Railtrack's procedures are adequate to ensure safe operation.'

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