§ Mr. Ron Lewis
asked the Minister of Transport what special efforts are being made by the Railways Board to cut down the accident rate on railways.
§ Mr. John Morris
Recent safety measures introduced by the British Railway Board to prevent train accidents include improved inspection and maintenance of wagons, more modern equipment for track testing, including track inspection by sophisticated electronic equipment (which now detects irregularities better than the naked eye), a temporary reduction to 45 m.p.h. in the speed limit for short-wheel-base wagons, the use of radar equipment for checking obedience to speed limits, the use of cameras to detect badly-riding wagons, and lengthening of the training period44W for drivers of diesel and electric locomotives. The British Railways Board's Research Department at Derby has been intensifying research into the underlying causes of derailments. The Board is also examining the provision of lineside hot-box detectors to reduce bearing and axle failures.
As regards accidents to railway employees, the Board's Accident Prevention Service is using all available means of publicity, including posters, films, safety lectures, magazine articles and competitions to encourage both management and staff to improve safety. "High visibility" clothing is being issued to staff who work on the track and experiments are being conducted with flashing headlights on trains and more effective warning devices for look-out men.