A total of 27 cars and lorries have crashed on to railway lines in the year since the Selby rail disaster, but virtually no safety work has been undertaken to prevent the accidents, it emerged yesterday. The damning statistics emerged as a Health and Safety Commission (HSC) report called for better signs, more road markings, and safety barriers near railway bridges to prevent a repeat of that disaster, which killed 10 people. Although the Highways Agency is responsible for motorway and trunk roads, councils are accountable for road-rail accidents taking place on secondary roads, which comprise 80 per cent of the total. North Yorkshire CC, in whose area where the Selby disaster occurred, will begin£100,000 of work next month on four of its 10 most vulnerable bridges, while still seeking joint funding from Railtrack's successor. 'To do nothing until the liabilities are determined either by the courts or the Government is not acceptable in respect to safety,' the council told The Independent(p4).
The Guardian(p4) looks at the 'loose and baggy monster' that is the DTLR, with sprawling powers created after mergers.
DTLR #2: THE SOAP OPERA
Transport secretary Stephen Byers' department department seems to be undergoing a collective nervous breakdown. 'Quite frankly, no one knows what's going to happen next,' a Whitehall source told The Independent. The impact of the woes of the DTLR on the morale of the civil servants who work within it appears to depend on who you are and what you do.
JAIL FOR CENSUS REFUSENIK
Pensioner Robert Relf was jailed for seven days yesterday for refusing to complete his census form last year, and then refusing to pay the£100 fine imposed by Margate magistrates last Septermber, reports The Daily Telegraph(p6).
by assistant editor Neil Watson