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Rail needs to get back on track more quickly


I was intrigued by the AA Survey which showed that it took an average of 1 hour 47 minutes to get traffic moving again after a road accident (NCE 25 May).

I suggest that the Strategic Rail Authority sets up similar records for the rail industry to provide an analysis of how long it takes today's railway to restore services after an accident.

Southall was bad enough, but Ladbroke Grove set a record for the longest unjustified extension of delay, inconvenience and increased risk to users of public transport. By comparison BR, whether at Hither Green or other sites of disaster, worked as a team to restore services in a few days. Now the time is measured in as many weeks.

Under BR, the causes of each accident were also quickly and resolutely searched out and within weeks the lessons applied.

It seems there is adifferent approach to an accident on a motorway, with delayed motorists visible to the horizon.

How many people, prevented from travelling into Paddington by train, took to the roads and were killed and injured, while politicians, police and regulators played their games of back protection and kept the railway shut?

Responsible engineers, statisticians and managers within the rail industry should be able to feel that rapid restoration of services after an accident is the right action and not a snub to the unfortunate victims.

Jim Wheeler (M), 27 Arlington Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6BW

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