Fine marks the end of ORR proceedings against Network Rail

Network Rail has been fined £3m and ordered to pay costs of £150,000 by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for a health and safety breach that caused the Potters Bar derailment. Network Rail inherited responsibility for the offences following their takeover of Railtrack in 2002.

The case against Network Rail was heard at St Albans Crown Court where it was found that “it failed as infrastructure controller for the national rail network to provide and implement suitable and sufficient standards.

The fine brings to a close ORR’s criminal proceedings against Network Rail, which began in November 2010.

Seven people died and 76 were injured when a West Anglia Great Northern train derailed at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire on 10 May 2002.  

Director of rail safety at ORR, Ian Prosser, said:

“It is welcome that Network Rail, as the successor to Railtrack, pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches demonstrating that, under its new management it is now an organisation willing to take responsibility and learn from past mistakes.

“But there can be no room for complacency. The safety culture of the rail industry can be significantly strengthened.”  

A spokesman for Network Rail said:

“Network Rail has today been sentenced for failings that contributed to this accident and we accept the fine as we accept the liabilities inherited from Railtrack. We say again today that we are truly sorry.”