Rail staff cuts could lead to new disaster, warns union
London Evening Standard: 05.10.09
Dick Murray, Transport Correspondent
Cuts in railway maintenance could trigger another crash on the scale of the Paddington disaster, union bosses warned today.
The RMT said “massive” cuts to track and signalling repairs will put thousands of passengers at risk.
The union chose the 10th anniversary of the crash to highlight its fears over the sacking of up to 2,500 staff to save money.
The tragedy was a key factor in the break-up of Railtrack and the handing over of rail infrastructure to Network Rail. Bob Crow, leader of the RMT, said: “We all welcomed the demise of Railtrack but now we see the successor, NR, facing massive pressure to cut budgets.
“The RMT has demanded that risk assessments associated with these cuts be published. The dash for savings increases the risk of another Paddington, Hatfield or Potters Bar.”
An NR spokesman said: “We would never compromise on safety. But with the track in the best condition it ever has been and new techniques and technology maintenance work can be around 10 per cent less.”