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Passenger 'warned steward over train lurch' & UK WORLD.

A WORRIED passenger was trying to raise the alarm in the hours before seven people died when a train derailed, an inquest heard yesterday.

Company boss Peter Prime told jurors how a train he was travelling on "lurched" near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, on the evening before the crash.

Jurors heard that a rail worker had also raised concerns about a points problem at Potters Bar on the evening of May 9 - but his warning "slipped the mind" of a ticket seller in a station office.

Mr Prime said he told a train buffet car steward of his concerns minutes after the "lurch" then made two calls the following morning in an attempt to alert train operating firm Great North Eastern Railway (GNER).

The inquest has heard that four men and three women were killed when the 12.45 London to King's Lynn train derailed as it hit faulty points south of Potters Bar station around 1pm on May 10, 2002.

More than 70 people were hurt.

Mr Prime said he was travelling on an 8.30pm train from London to Peterborough on May 9 when the train "lurched" 15 minutes into the journey.

"There was a very substantial lurch," Mr Prime told the inquest, in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. "I thought it was very abnormal - the first time I had ever experienced anything on a train that had seriously worried me."

He said cups and saucers slid across tables and another passenger exclaimed: "Bloody hell - what was that?" Mr Prime said he raised his concerns with the train buffet steward and was told that the train manager would speak to him before he got off but no one made contact.

He said the following day he telephoned GNER at 8am - when he was greeted by an answering machine - before speaking to a member of staff an hour later.

Mr Prime said a GNER representative called back some time before noon and said the train had a "tracking" problem - caused by wheel imbalance - which was being dealt with.

The hearing continues.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 22, 2010
Words:338
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