Network Rail have been fined £4m and ordered to pay £118,052 for the Grayrigg derailment, which killed one person and injured 86 others. The company, which is responsible for safe upkeep of railways, faced an unlimited fine for catalogue of safety failures in the lead-up to the crash in Cumbria in 2007.
Margaret Masson, 84, from Glasgow, died from multiple injuries after the Virgin Pendolino London to Glasgow express train crashed on the West Coast Main line near Kendal. The 300-tonne train derailed at 95mph when it hit a faulty set of points.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed news that Network Rail have been fined £4 million for breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act over the Cumbrian rail crash. Commenting Tim said:
"I welcome the news that Network Rail have pleaded guilty and have been fined £4 million. For too long people have not been held accountable for their actions and have hidden behind Network Rail as a faceless company. The fact that 700 points related incidents were identified around the UK following the Grayrigg crash proves that a full public inquiry is still much needed. I hope that today's news is another step closer to offering the family of Margaret Masson the closure they deserve. We must never forget the tragedy of Grayrigg and it is important that the company are held to account."
The Office of Rail regulation said the sentencing marks the end of the rail regulators criminal prosecution against Network rail. In a statement they 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.”
Last year, an inquest in Kendal found poorly maintained points were to blame for causing Mrs Masson's death. The train went over a "degraded" set of points at 92mph and careered down an embankment, leaving 88 people injured.
The Inquest also noted that there were 700 additional points failures in February 2007 alone along the line from Motherwell toCrewe.
Last month Network Rail was fined £1 million for safety breaches after the 2005 deaths of two schoolgirls at a level crossing in Essex and paid a £3 million fine last year for the Potters Bar disaster in 2002 which left seven dead.
There have been protests outside Preston Crown Court by the RMT today.
Network Rail pleaded guilty to a string of health and safety breaches. Below Helen Ford explains the events leading up to Network rail's prosecution.