Safety fears as Network Rail fined

13 May 2011

Network Rail has been fined £3 million over the Potters Bar derailment in which seven people died. ASLEF has its doubts that justice has been done – and fears that an impending report into rail will jeopardise rail safety further by putting it back into the arena of profit.

The union points out that Network Rail was not responsible for rail safety at the time of the 2002 Potters Bar crash. The privatised company Railtrack was in that position, but because an of its appalling record – including the fatal accident at Ladbroke Grove in 1999 in which 31 people died, as well as Potters Bar – Railtrack was closed down and replaced by Network Rail as a not-for-profit organisation. ‘We fear that the McNulty Report to the government which is due out next week, will reverse this and put safety back into the profit arena,’ says general secretary Keith Norman.

Keith also points out that today’s fine is imposed on a public company, so the public will pay the bill. ‘It is ludicrous that seven people died, but the managers responsible for rail safety walked away unscathed – while the public picks up a £3 million bill.

‘Surely those individuals responsible should be punished - not the travelling public?’

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