Network Rail sentenced over Grayrigg derailment

The company faces an unlimited fine for a catalogue of safety failures in the lead-up to Grayrigg train crash in Cumbria in 2007.

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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,

Local MP welcomes Network Rail fine

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed news that the Network Rail have been fined £4 million for breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act over the Cumbrian rail crash at Grayrigg in which one passenger died. Commenting today, 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. "

– Tim Farron MP

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.


Network Rail faces unlimited fine over the Grayrigg derailment.

Scene of the Grayrigg derailment in Cumbria in 2007 Credit: ITV Border

Network Rail will sentenced for the Grayrigg derailment, which killed one person and injured 86 others. The company, which is responsible for safe upkeep of railways, faces 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.

Network Rail will plead guilty to a string of health and safety breaches. The sentencing will take place at Preston Crown Court.


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