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Modern Railways, Has HSE arbitrarily decreed the drop-dead date for MK1 railway stock? - Allan Sefton - Director of Rail Safety, HSE responds

Modern Railways
Transport Writing Services
Tunbridge Wells North

HM Railway Inspectorate
Health and Safety Executive
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge

28 April 2004

Dear Sir,

Alan Williams is wrong to say in April's Modern Railways that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 'arbitrarily decreed that 31 December is the drop-dead date for MK I stock'. The advice of HSE, following full consultation with all affected, was that the date for withdrawal should be 1 January 2007. It was on the advice of others that the Deputy Prime Minister decided to bring the date forward to 31 December 2004. HSE has been aware for some time of the difficulties the industry has faced in meeting this deadline. We are now considering an application for exemption from the three train operating companies to let them run some of the old trains for a limited period beyond the deadline.

The fitment of the train protection and warning system required by the same Regulations was successfully completed last year and is bringing about real improvements in rail safety. TPWS is bringing about real and welcome improvements in rail safety and has rightly been recognised by the industry as one of the great successes of recent years. Alan Williams is right to say that rail travel is safer than driving on the road and is improving, but it is not as safe as buses and coaches.

Yours faithfully,


Updated 2016-02-29