Network Rail fined over Grayrigg crash

04 April 2012

Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers’ union ASLEF, expressed no surprise today as Network Rail were fined £4m over the Grayrigg crash in Cumbria: ‘As predicted, Network Rail received a meaningless fine and no one is truly being held accountable. Even though Network Rail pleaded guilty and admitted health and safety breaches, the senior managers still walk away without sanction or a stain on their name’.

The Virgin Pendolino train derailed at Grayrigg, on the West Coast Main Line, after going over a degraded set of points at 95mph. Margaret Mason, 84, was killed and a further 88 people were injured. An investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) blamed the immediate cause of the derailment as the poor maintenance of the failed points, and Network Rail admitted responsibility.

‘Company bosses ignore health and safety laws and simply hide behind a faceless company when things go wrong. 700 points related incidents were identified around the UK following the Grayrigg crash, so health and safety is clearly still not being taken seriously’ said Mick. ‘They should be held personally responsible for the breaches that lead to passenger injury and death’.

It has taken since the 23rd February 2007 for this case to come to court. While the fine of £4million is not enough in terms of holding anyone to account, this will hopefully bring some satisfaction to Margaret Masson’s family, who have been waiting in frustration for justice.

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