THE fatal accident inquiry into the deaths of four people in the

Newton rail crash near Glasgow last July has been postponed for two

months, apparently because counsel representing British Rail were not


The inquiry into the deaths of two train drivers and two passengers

was to have started on November 16 but was yesterday postponed until

January 18, after Sher

iff Andrew Lothian accepted a petition from BR at Glasgow Sheriff


A BR spokesman said later: ''The FAI has been postponed in order that

the British Rail board can be adequately represented.''

Rail union Aslef said yesterday that it had not opposed BR's petition.

Mr William Wilkie, Scottish secretary of the union, added: ''It is my

understanding that British Rail weren't ready to proceed and I don't

think it would have been useful opposing the application for deferral.''

Two passengers and the drivers of both trains -- one travelling from

Newton to Glasgow Central, the other from Balloch to Motherwell -- were

killed in the collision on July 21 last year.