Network Rail fined £4m over actress's death on level crossing

Olive McFarland.

Network Rail has been fined £4m for health and safety breaches which led to an actress's death on a level crossing.

But the family of Olive McFarland, who was 82 when she was struck by a train at Gypsy Lane near Needham Market in Suffolk in 2011, say they are still waiting for an apology.

The former television and film star, who appeared alongside Sean Connery and Herbert Lom, had been using a pedestrian crossing which Network Rail knew to be dangerous.

John Black, Ms McFarland's nephew, said they had had no contact with the company until July this year - five years after his aunt's death.

Ms McFarland's family outside Ipswich Crown Court. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Mr McFarland's family welcomed the sentence but said they wanted individuals at the company to be held accountable for their failings.

Ms McFarland had been on her way to feed her animals when she was killed. One of her horses is still cared for by Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Her family said they had not been the only ones affected by her death.

An investigation by the Office of Rail and Road found Network Rail had failed to act on "substantial evidence that pedestrians had poor visibility" and "were exposed to an increased risk of being struck by a train".

The company admitted health and safety breaches at a previous hearing and was today ordered to pay £4m in fines and £34,000 in costs.

The crossing at Needham Market. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Following the incident in 2011, Network Rail immediately acted to improve safety at the Gipsy Lane footpath crossing by redesigning its layout putting in speed restrictions for trains which remain in place.

It is currently consulting on plans to close a number of level crossings in the region which would see the one near Needham Market replaced with a footbridge.