Two people were killed and 44 injured Monday when two commuter trains collided head-on in Britain’s second fatal rail crash in three days.
Scotrail, a branch of the state-owned British Rail, said the trains were traveling in opposite directions when they collided just before 1 p.m. outside Bellgrove Station, two miles from the center of Glasgow. The trains, carrying about 70 passengers, were traveling at less than 30 m.p.h., Scotrail said. At least two cars derailed.
“We were all sitting down in the train, and suddenly there was a large bang. People were thrown about all over the place,” said Colin Smith, a student who was on one train.
One of the dead was a train engineer, while the other was a passenger, the fire department said.
Willie Caldwell, a Scotrail spokesman, said the last two injured--the other train driver and a passenger--were taken from the wreckage about four hours after the accident. The injured were taken to hospitals, where five were admitted for the night, he said.
British Rail’s safety procedures are under severe criticism after two serious accidents in the London area in less than three months.
A crash Saturday on the outskirts of London killed five people and injured 94. Last Dec. 12, three trains crashed near a busy south London junction during rush hour, killing 35 people. That accident was blamed on a signal failure. The cause of Saturday’s accident is not yet known.
The Scotland crash “confirms . . . that we have been putting insufficient resources into preventing these accidents,” said legislator John Prescott, the opposition Labor Party’s transport spokesman.
Transport Secretary Paul Channon denied that government budget-cutting was a factor in the crashes, but he told the House of Commons: “The fact that there have been two serious accidents on British Rail and now a third within three months is naturally a cause for concern.”