St Paul has begun making emergency hardship payments to passengers injured in the Paddington rail crash only a week after the tragic accident.

The insurer has set aside £200,000 to meet valid claims arising from one of Britain's worst rail crashes, as public liability insurer for the two train operating companies involved, First Great Western and Thames Trains.

St Paul spokesman Nick Hill said claims were being handled sensitively to avoid any protracted dispute with injured passengers or family members of the deceased.

More than 30 people perished and 250 were injured when a First Great Western intercity train collided with a Thames Trains turbo engine at Paddington last Tuesday.

No insurance workers are known to have died in the crash, however a number of bodies remain to be identified.

However, there were a number of narrow escapes. One Iron Trades staff member running late for work ended up not taking up her usual seat which which was one of those destroyed in the impact.

Loss adjuster McLarens Toplis Major said this week that it was too early to put a figure on the final cost of the damage caused by the crash