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London-Manchester Express Train Derailment

Volume 979: debated on Wednesday 20 February 1980

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asked the Minister of Transport what steps he has taken following the derailment of a London to Manchester express train on 16 February: and if he will make a statement.

I have ordered a public inquiry into the derailment at Bushey of the 20.25 express passenger train from Euston-Manchester. Some 52 passengers were taken to hospital, one of whom I understand will unfortunately be detained for some time. All six lines were initially blocked, but most services are running normally, although all lines will not be fully restored until 28 February.Initial investigations indicate that the immediate cause of the accident appears to have been a defective weld in one rail. This caused a crack to develop which spread until the rail broke. The British Railways Board has instituted the necessary precautionary measures and is examining other welds which were made at the same time as the suspect one. The inquiry I have announced will consider this and all other relevant matters, The report will of course be published.