19 September 2023
RMT Press Office:
Rail union, RMT today remembers the Southall train crash which killed 6 and injured more than 150.
The tragedy occurred on 19 September 1997 1.15pm near Southall station without warning, when an Intercity train ploughed into a freight train.
It is believed the 10.32 to Paddington was travelling close to the maximum speed on the Southall approach of 125mph as it hit the empty goods train being shunted across the main line.
There were two safety systems on the train which could have prevented the tragedy - the basic Automatic Warning System (AWS) and a trial version of the more advanced Automatic Train Protection (ATP).
But the AWS was broken and the ATM switched off because the driver was not trained how to use it.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a significant anniversary of this tragic event and our thoughts lie with the families of those killed twenty-six years ago and with the survivors, some of whom still carry physical and mental scars to this day.
“Significant safety improvements were introduced following the crash, which should have been in place beforehand. To this day, we still see accidents and near misses directly relating to lack of training being provided and fatigue amongst the workforce.
“All workers should have the right to go home safe and healthy every day and every employer has the responsibility to provide a safe working environment – and this includes all the passengers transported by our members.”