Hidden Dangers - Railway Safety in the Era of Privatisation

by Stanley Hall

Publication of this 128 page essay on safety could not have been better timed. In the wake of the hysteria that followed the Ladbroke Grove accident on October 5, this is a badly-needed sober assessment of railway safety on Britain’s railways.

Those with safety responsibilities should note the forthright comments and criticisms about what should and should not happen in the aftermath of an accident. The author draws particular attention to the 65-day public enquiry into the Clapham Junction accident in December 1988 and questions the recommendations drawn up by Sir Anthony Hidden QC, who had no railway expertise. Hall is rightly concerned that accident enquiries are turning into hunts for scapegoats and are no longer seen as an attempt to find the cause so that it can be prevented from happening again.

The well-illustrated book discusses the development of government regulations and notes that government cannot escape a degree of blame for many of the problems that have emerged in the last 10 years. Hall says that ’railway passengers have never been as safe as they are today’ but calls for more help to be given to drivers in obeying signals.

ISBN 0711026793.

ú19·99 from Midland Counties Publications, Unit 3 Maizefield, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 1YF, Great Britain.

Tel: +44 1455 233 747