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Katie's death due to "slipshod and incompetent" Network Rail

16 May 2013

Rail firm placed her "in harms way" says TSSA

The TSSA rail union, which is campaigning for a parliamentary inquiry into Network Rail's level crossing safety policy, today effectively blamed the taxpayer funded firm for the death of school girl Katie Littlewood.

General Secretary Manuel Cortes said the inquest had revealed a "slipshod and incompetent" NR which had failed to build a bridge over the footpath crossing where Katie died despite a report five years earlier showing it should have done.

"If this bridge had been built, Katie would not have been able to open that unlocked gate at Johnson's Crossing and she would still be alive today," he said.

"They effectively placed her in harms way through their shockingly slipshod and incompetent behaviour. Katie would simply not have been able to use that footpath over a line which trains travelled along at up to 70mph if they had done their job in a proper and professional manner."

He described the case as "almost a carbon copy" of the Elsenham tragedy a few miles away in Essex in which two school girls, Olivia Bazlinton and Charlie Thompson, were killed on another unsafe level crossing in 2005.

"NR were rightly fined £1 million last year over those tragic deaths after we revealed that a lost report in 2001 called for a bridge to be built at Elsenham and another lost report in 2002 called for unlocked gates to be automatically locked by approaching trains.

"How does NR keep losing reports which are meant to save  lives? Are commercial considerations being allowed to compromise safety with fatal consequences for rail users?

" We really do need an inquiry by the Transport Select Committee to find out if the bottom line is being put ahead of the safety line on level crossing safety.

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