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  1. National

Network Rail says sorry over level crossing failings

Flowers are left at the level crossing in Elsenham, Essex Sunday December 4, 2005. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

A House of Commons Transport Committee report on level crossing safety has been especially critical of Network Rail's handling of Elsenham level crossing tragedy in Essex in December 2005 in which Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and Charlotte Thompson, 13, were killed.

Chief executive Mark Carne followed severe criticism in a report by MPs of Network Rail's treatment of families affected by level crossing tragedies by issuing a "full and unreserved" apology.

"Today, I wish to extend a full and unreserved apology on behalf of Network Rail to all those whose life has been touched by a failing, however large or small, made by this company in managing public safety at level crossings and in failing to deal sensitively with the families affected.

"Nothing we can say or do will lessen the pain felt by the families of those killed or injured at a level crossing. Today NR is a very different company to the one which existed at the time of these tragic accidents." Mr Carne said.

  1. National

Network Rail boss apologises to families

the scene at Elsenham railway station in Essex, following the deaths of Charlotte Thompson and Olivia Bazlinton. Credit: PA Wire

Families bereaved by level crossing accidents will receive a "full and unreserved apology" from the boss of Network Rail today.

The move from NR chief executive Mark Carne followed severe criticism in a report by MPs of NR's treatment of families affected by level crossing tragedies.


Rail campaigners: We need affordable fares and better infrastructure'

"These statistics show more and more people are using the train to get to work.

The Government needs to support this with affordable fares and better infrastructure.

That means not just updating our busiest stations, but connecting communities who currently lose out because they are not on the network.

We also need to devolve more investment decisions away from Whitehall to make the railways more responsive to local needs."

– Martin Abrams, Campaign for Better Transport

£38 billion being spent on rail network

"Our railways are a success story, carrying more people than at any time since the Second World War.

We want to make sure our railways continue to meet the challenge of passenger demand.

That is why more than £38 billion is being spent over the next five years to transform the network.

That means better stations and more trains and services, allowing more people to travel quickly and comfortably."

– Department for Transport spokesman


London railway stations are country's busiest - and getting busier

London's train stations are continuing to dominate the country's rail network - with the eight of the country's top ten busiest stations located within the Capital.

All of the top 10 reported an increase in passengers in the last financial year, according to Office of Rail Regulation figures.

Victoria Station is the country's second most busy rail station. Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

Based on the estimated number of exits and entrances to a station during 2012/13, Waterloo was the busiest station, with numbers, compared with 2011/12, rising 1.9% to almost 96 million.

Second was Victoria in London, with numbers rising 1.6% to 77.34 million, with another big London terminus, Liverpool Street, third with a 2.4% rise to just under 58.45 million.

The largest rise among the top 10 last year was Euston in London where the number of exits and entrances rose 4.9% to almost 38.3 million.

Clapham Junction is the station with the most passengers changing trains, with 21.6m a year using it as an interchange, up five per cent on the previous year.

The expansion of the London Overground network and other route alterations means more passengers are changing trains in the station’s capital.

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Calls for cash compensation for delayed rail passengers

Delayed rail passengers should be compensated in cash rather than vouchers, watchdog group Passenger Focus said.

Chief executive of the group David Sidebottom said the main reason passengers contact them are over concerns to do with train delays, refund conditions and levels of compensation.

Delayed passengers should be given cash refunds instead of vouchers. Credit: Press Association.

Mr Sidebottom said the group would like to see compensation regime improvements in new rail franchises being introduced over the next few months. Rail minister Stephen Hammond welcomed the findings of the report by the Office of Rail Regulation. He said:

"I am determined that passengers have the best possible experience on our railways so I welcome the ORR report.

"Our new franchising agreements are ensuring that more-generous compensation schemes are in place for passengers and it is essential they know how to claim. I will continue to push operators to do all they can to make sure passengers are fully aware of their rights."

Train passengers 'unaware' of their consumer rights

Three quarters of train passengers don't know they can claim compensation if their train is delayed or cancelled according to a survey.

The report from the Office of Rail Regulation found that over 75% of rail passengers "don't know very much" or "nothing at all" about what compensation they are entitled to when their trains are delayed.

We want to see that passengers are treated fairly, receive the quality of service they pay for, and when this is not the case, can hold their service providers to account.

Britain's rail industry needs to be more transparent and proactive in providing information. This includes data on passenger compensation.

– Anna Walker, Office of Rail Regulation Chairman
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