The cause of the accident was a total seizure of a gear-box as a result of lack of lubrication. This led to the failure of a universal joint, which ruptured the main fuel tank. The fire which resulted spread rapidly along the underside of the two rear vehicles, but did not penetrate into the passenger accommodation. The inspecting officer, who held the public inquiry on 2nd July, will complete and publish his report as soon as possible. Meanwhile I understand that the British Railways Board has decided to withdraw all vehicles of this type from this busy route as soon as this can be arranged.
The problem is that the vehicles on this route have to be built to work over the City widened lines to Moorgate, where clearances are restricted. There are a limited number of vehicles which could be used on this service, but the problem is being studied by British Rail as a matter of urgency.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that my constituents are becoming very disturbed indeed at the increasing number of fires on this line and that the Transport Users' Consultative Committee has unanimously demanded an independent inquiry to report to Parliament? Will he say why, in the new design, the number of doors has been reduced from 20 to four?
Because there was a great deal of interest in the matter, I should have liked to make an interim statement before the report was published, but I must ask hon. Members to await the publication of the full report in which the whole argument is discussed.