PASSENGERS and rail workers reported problems on the line the day before the Potters Bar Rail crash which left seven people dead and scores injured, it has emerged.

Terence Moore, an employee of West Anglia Great Northern train firm, felt a series of violent jolts as he travelled home from work on May 9 2002, 16 hours before the fatal crash.

He first reported the problem – known in the industry as a “rough ride” - to a ticket officer at Stevenage after getting off the train, but the worker, Derek Jackson, forgot to log it because he was busy.

Mr Moore also phoned the signal box operators for the East Coast Mainline which runs through Potters Bar, and reported the problem to duty manager David Castle.

However, Judge Michael Findlay Baker QC, presiding over the first day of the inquest into the crash, told the jury that Mr Castle thought a problem had been reported on the line into London rather than the northbound line Mr Moore had been on.

Several engineers were sent out to inspect the wrong line instead of the faulty set of points Mr Moore had felt. The next day, the points derailed the 12.45pm train out of Kings Cross sending one carriage crashing into Potters Bar Train Station.

Another passenger, named in the hearing as Peter Paine, the night before also reported the “violent jolts from left to right” just outside Potters Bar to the buffet steward. He passed on the information to the train manager, but the report was never followed up, the inquest heard.

Judge Baker, in his opening statement setting out the issues to be discussed in the two-month-long inquest, said others had come forward to report “rough rides” on the line, and the issue of reporting faults would need to be looked at.

He said: “It is necessary to look at the procedures for reporting rough rides – are reporting of rough rides taken sufficiently seriously?”

He added there are suggestions that the accuracy of reporting of faults on train tracks still might not be good enough, eight years after the fatal crash.

During the next two months, Judge Baker said the relationship between the now-defunct firm Railtrack and Jarvis, which went into administration in March, will need to be addressed.

The firm had joint responsibility for maintaining the tracks, points and signals on the line, but several inspections of the defective points in the days and months before the crash failed the address the problem.

Some engineers reported no problems at all, and others who found screws missing from the points put them back in and never reported the issue to their bosses.

The inquest continues this afternoon when Judge Baker will complete his opening statement, and tomorrow morning the first witnesses are due to be called.