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Office of Rail Regulation statement

Network Rail has been fined £4 million and ordered to pay costs of £118,052 for a breach of health and safety law which caused a train to derail near Grayrigg in 2007, causing the death of one passenger and injuring 86 people.

Today’s sentencing at Preston Crown Court marks the end of the rail regulator’s criminal prosecution against Network Rail. At Lancaster Magistrates’ Court on 29 February 2012, Network Rail pleaded guilty to one charge under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

This results from the company’s failure to provide and implement suitable and sufficient standards, procedures, guidance, training, tools and resources for the inspection and maintenance of fixed stretcher-bar points.

Ian Prosser, Director of Railway Safety at ORR, said

The train derailment on the West Coast Mainline near Grayrigg in Cumbria was a devastating and preventable incident which has had long-term consequences for all involved. It tragically caused the death of one passenger, Mrs Margaret Masson, and shattered the lives of others. My thoughts are with Mrs Masson’s family and all those injured and affected by this horrific incident. Under Sir David Higgins’ leadership, Network Rail is focussed on driving safety measures and I welcome the company’s progress on implementing safety recommendations made after this incident.

But the pace of carrying out improvements has, at times, been too slow and the rail regulator has had to repeatedly push the company to bring about change.

Britain’s railways are safe and are one of the safest in Europe. But there is absolutely no room for complacency. Where failings are found those at fault will be held to account and the entire rail industry must continue to strive for improvements to ensure that public safety is never put at a similar risk again.”

– Ian Prosser, Director of Railway Safety at ORR,