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RMT union issues warning over rail safety following Indian train disaster

THE RMT union has issued a warning over rail safety as a signalling fault was blamed for the India train disaster that killed at least 275 people.

India’s rail minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said today that an error in “electronic interlocking” sent the Coromandel Express passenger train on to the wrong tracks, where it collided with a freight train at 80mph. 

A third passenger train was also derailed in the accident in Odisha, eastern India, on Friday. The cause remains under investigation.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The thoughts of everyone within the RMT are with Indian railway workers, passengers and their bereaved families following this awful tragedy. 

“Whenever there is an accident of this magnitude, it underlines that safety on railway systems everywhere must be a top priority.”

Unions have previously warned that cuts to rail funding could lead to more serious rail accidents and leave commuters “packed like sardines.”

A TUC report last year warned plans by Network Rail to impose £100 million worth of cuts to its maintenance workforce would compromise passenger safety.

Network Rail, which is responsible for signalling, denied this, claiming that its ideas for modernisation had “fallen on deaf ears.”

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