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West Coast Railway Line

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many instances of serious safety lapses have occurred on the West Coast mainline since the Grayrigg derailment on 23 February; (144370)

(2) how many instances of serious safety lapses have occurred on the Cumbrian section of the West Coast mainline since the Grayrigg derailment on 23 February;

(3) if he will make a statement on Network Rail’s initial report into the Grayrigg derailment;

(4) what inspection regime is used for checking the condition of the rail line on the Cumbrian section of the West Coast mainline;

(5) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of staff employed in the maintenance of the Cumbrian section of the West Coast mainline;

(6) what additional checks have been introduced on the Cumbrian section of the West Coast Main Line since the Grayrigg derailment on 23 February;

(7) whether there is to be a review of the speed limits in operation on the Cumbrian section of the West Coast Main Line;

(8) what assessment he has made of the impact on scheduled journey times of additional checks being carried out on the Cumbrian section of the West Coast Main Line.

The Grayrigg derailment is being investigated by the Rail Accident Investigation branch (RAIB), which will in accordance with its regulations, make its report public in the shortest possible time commensurate with a thorough investigation. The RAIB’s investigations covers a broad range of issues but includes the maintenance regime and related staff resources; and any internal reports produced by Network Rail will be considered by RAIB as part of its investigations.

When RAIB’s detailed findings are available, Network Rail will consider them carefully and any action which may need to be taken.

The inspection regime to check the condition of the track (including any additional checks) is an operational matter for Network Rail. It falls to the rail industry to agree the speed limits and journey times on the line. Network Rail’s arrangements are subject to independent scrutiny.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the full report on the inquiry into the Grayrigg derailment to be published. (144375)

The investigation by the rail accident investigation branch (RAIB) is continuing and the RAIB will, in accordance with its regulations, make its report public in the shortest possible time commensurate with a thorough investigation.