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Snow disruption could not have been prevented

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has told the Transport Committee that the weather conditions of winter 2011 were so severe that mass disruption to transport could not have been prevented.

However, Hammond said that the response in some areas could be improved, highlighting weaknesses on the rail system.

Hammond told the committee the DfT is working on the follow up to issues that emerged last December, while regulators are working on their own lessons learned; with an ongoing rail project is looking at technological solutions to problems experienced on the third rail network.

He said the third rail network remains unacceptably vulnerable to severe weather conditions, that networks communication to commuters is poor.

He told the committee BAA is producing its own report into operations, but stated that Heathrow airport did not manage the situation effectively. It is essential that the government be able to impose strict timetables at airports, and to enforce them to help the ‘unacceptable situation’ of passengers being stuck at terminals, he stressed.

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