SURVIVORS of the Selby rail disaster reacted angrily today as the motorist who caused the tragedy began legal proceedings in a bid to clear his name.

To the fury of bereaved families, Gary Hart has asked for his case to be heard in the Court of Appeal.

Hart, 38, was convicted last December on ten counts of causing death by dangerous driving after a jury found that he had fallen asleep at the wheel of his Land Rover, before it veered off a motorway and on to the East Coast main line.

The vehicle was struck by a GNER express train, which de-railed and then smashed head-on into an on-coming freight train in the disaster last February.

Now, the listings office for the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) has confirmed that Hart - who received a five-year jail sentence - has renewed his application for leave to appeal after it was rejected by a High Court judge last month.

Three judges will make the final decision on whether Hart, of Strubby, Lincolnshire, can appeal against his conviction and sentence. If they grant him leave, the full appeal will be heard later.

Survivor Mark Russell, of York, said: "Everyone was beginning to put it all behind them. I thought it was finished with. I wasn't entirely happy with the result but this case just keeps rearing its ugly head. When is it ever going to end?"

Margitta Needham, of York, who lost her husband Barry in the crash, said: "Our pain grows every time we hear Gary Hart's name mentioned. It becomes more vivid. It is painful to hear of a new appeal but it is far more important to remember our loved ones than him."

Meanwhile, the Government has been criticised for not drawing up national guidance on who is responsible for repairs to scores of crumbling railway bridges.

A protocol was due to be in place last month but is yet to be released to county councils, many of which are having to fund work as a matter of urgency.

Industry expert, Professor John Knapton, of Newcastle University, said: "People are still just talking about things and, while a few bridges have been sorted, it's not enough."