Network Rail has been fined £3 million and ordered to pay £150,000 in costs for the Potters Bar train derailment in 2002.
Network Rail has been fined £3 million and ordered to pay £150,000 in costs by the Office of Rail Regulation (OFR) for causing the Potters Bar train derailment in 2002.
The train operator was charged with failing to provide and implement suitable and sufficient standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars at St Albans Crown Court.
Railtrack was responsible for running the rail infrastructure when the crash occurred on 10 May, 2002 at Potters Bar station in Herfordshire, killing seven people when a West Anglia Great Northern train derailed.
Network Rail took over the company in October 2002.
Director of rail safety at ORR, Ian Prosser, comments, ‘It is welcome that Network Rail, as the successor to Railtrack, pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches, demonstrating that, under its new management, it is now an organisation willing to take responsibility and learn from past mistakes.’
The fine brings to a close the criminal proceedings against the rail infrastructure company, which began in November 2010.
A spokesman for Network Rail says that the company accepts the fine and the liabilities inherited from Railtrack, adding, ‘Private contractors are no longer in control of the day-to-day maintenance of the nation’s rail infrastructure since Network Rail took this entire operation in-house in 2004.’
Prosser adds, ‘Safety on Britain’s railways has improved significantly over the last nine years and, today, statistics show we have one of the safest railways in Europe.’
However, he called for the ‘safety culture’ of the rail industry to be ‘strengthened’.
‘As long as the regulator continues to have to step in to enforce improvements or bring prosecutions where things have gone wrong – as we have done many times this year – then, despite progress, it is clear that the industry has significant work still to do,’ he concludes.