Remembering the Ladbroke Grove tragedy

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Today, 5 October, is the 20th anniversary of the tragic train crash at Ladbroke Grove. 31 people died, and over 258 were seriously injured.

RSSB Chief Executive Officer Mark Phillips said:

“Today, we remember the Ladbroke Grove train crash, 20 years to the day that it happened.

At about 08:09 on Tuesday 5 October 1999, a passenger train bound for Bedwyn passed a signal at danger and collided head-on with another as it made for Paddington. Thirty-one people, including both drivers, were killed and over 258 were seriously injured.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died, those who were injured, and those who survived and live with the memory. We also remember the many people in the rail industry, the British Transport Police, emergency and rescue services, doctors and nurses who played a part in the response on the day.

The tragedy prompted a public inquiry, led by Lord Cullen, whose reports highlighted issues around signal sighting, train protection, driver training and learning from operational experience, as well as bigger structural weaknesses in the rail industry’s approach to safety and standards.

The outcome included major changes in the formal responsibilities for management and regulation of safety of Britain’s railways and included the creation of an independent industry safety and standards body, RSSB, in 2003.

The whole rail industry has worked hard to learn the lessons from Ladbroke Grove and Britain’s railways are now among the safest in the world. It’s crucial that the next generation of the railway family retain and re-learn these lessons, as such a significant accident starts to pass from living memory. 

Today we remember the tragedy, its impact on human life, the lessons that we learned, and the heroism of everyone involved.”

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