Regulator Prosecutes Network Rail For Grayrigg Train Derailment

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has today started criminal proceedings against Network Rail for a breach of health and safety law which caused a train to derail near Grayrigg in 2007.

On 23 February 2007, the 17.15 Virgin Trains service from London Euston to Glasgow Central derailed on the West Coast Mainline near Grayrigg in Cumbria. 109 persons were on board. One passenger, Mrs Margaret Masson, was killed. 86 people were injured, 28 seriously.

The rail regulator’s prosecution follows the conclusion of its investigation into the derailment of the Virgin Pendolino passenger train, and the completion of the coroner’s inquest into the death of Mrs Masson.

Network Rail is facing a 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: "ORR has conducted a thorough investigation into whether criminal proceedings should be brought in relation to the train derailment near Grayrigg on 23 February 2007, which caused the death of Mrs Masson and injured 86 people.

"Following the coroner’s inquest into the death of Mrs Masson, I have concluded that there is enough evidence, and that it is in the public interest, to bring criminal proceedings against Network Rail for a serious breach of health and safety law which led to the train derailment.

"My thoughts are with the family of Mrs Masson and those injured in this incident. ORR will do everything it can to ensure that the prosecution proceeds as quickly as possible. The railway today is as safe as it has ever been but there can be no room for complacency. The entire rail industry must continue to strive for improvements to ensure that public safety is never put at risk."

The first hearing is due to take place at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court on 24 February 2012.


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