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ORR accused of jumping the gun on level crossing safety enquiry

31 October 2013

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, has accused rail regulators of "jumping the gun" on a Commons enquiry into level crossing failures at Network Rail.

The ORR announced an extra £32 million for closing 500 level crossings in the next five years ahead of appearing before the Commons Transport Select Committee on Monday alongside NR executives.

"Less than two weeks ago, the committee heard a catalogue of negligence by Network Rail at level crossings which have seen it fined £1.45 million in the past 19 months over three avoidable deaths.

"Now, days before MPs question NR face to face about these failures, the rail regulator appears to be jumping the gun on what the committee may recommend to stop these tragedies happening again in the future.

"While extra funding would be welcome, we should let the committee finish its enquiry before anyone tries to pre-empt its findings."

In its written evidence, the union has called for the present level crossing budget of £77 million to be more than doubled and an independent review of NR's risk assessment policy

* In April 2012, NR were fined £1 million over the deaths of Olivia Bazlinton and Charlotte Thompson in Elsenham in 2005. In April this year, it was fined £450,000 over the death of Jane Harding on a level crossing in Moreton in Lugg in 2010.

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