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Virgin Trains welcomes prompt publication of Rail Accident Investigation Branch’s initial report on Grayrigg derailment

Press Release   •   Feb 25, 2007 23:00 GMT

Sir Richard BransonStatement by Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Rail Group, on the RAIB report on the Grayrigg derailment on 23 February.


“We welcome the fact that the RAIB has moved quickly to establish the key facts around the incident at Grayrigg in Cumbria on 23 February.

Our greatest concern still remains the family of Margaret Masson and those who remain in hospital, including Iain Black, the driver of the train.

Once derailed, it has become apparent that, as the train continued for a further 600 metres beyond the derailment, that Iain battled to slow the train down, and I have previously expressed my admiration for his efforts to try to avert a disaster.

It has emerged over the weekend that the other three members of staff on board the train – Karen Taylor, Derek Stewart and Gordon Burns - behaved in an exemplary fashion, well beyond the call of duty. I understand that the on-board crew led many of our customers safely from the train, despite suffering minor injuries themselves.

The interim report is testament to the strength and design of the Pendolino trains. We now await the full conclusions of the RAIB investigation, which will be crucial to the industry introducing any necessary safety improvements.

It is not for us to apportion blame but rather to work closely together as train operating companies with all our partners in the industry, particularly Network Rail, to ensure that this never happens again.”

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