Company admitted that inadequate signalling lead to the accident at Ladbroke Grove which killed 31 people

Network Rail has been fined £4m for the health and safety breaches responsible for the Paddington rail crash.

The company had already admitted its failure to act on inadequate signalling had led to the crash, but it had not received any form of penalty for its role in the disaster until now.

On the 5 October 1999, a Thames Trains train went through a red signal and hit a First Great Western train at Ladbroke Grove. The crash killed 31 and left hundreds injured.

At the sentencing hearing, Blackfriars Crown Court was told that a “catalogue of failures to act” by Network Rail – which in 1999 was operating as Railtrack - had caused the disaster.

The offending signal had been passed at red seven times in the five years leading up to the crash, but the hearing found that Railtrack had failed to carry out any “adequate risk assessment” or investigation on it.

Chris Newell, the Crown Prosecution Service's principal legal adviser, said: "The evidence led to the inescapable conclusion that Network Rail failed utterly in its responsibility to protect the health and safety of passengers in its care."