Network Rail fined £150k after track tragedies

Grant Prior 6 years ago
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Network Rail has been fined £150,000 following the death of a track maintenance worker and the serious injury of another in two incidents in the Thames Valley region.

On April 29 2007, in the Ruscombe area near Twyford, track maintenance worker Charlie Stockwell was struck by a train and killed whilst conducting welding work.

The following year, on 23 May at Kennington Junction near Hinksey, track maintenance worker David Coles was also struck by a train, and severed his leg, while testing the locking mechanism on track points.

Network Rail was sentenced at Reading Crown Court following an Office of Rail Regulation investigation.

Both accidents involved ‘Red Zone’ working where trains continue to run.

Since the incidents, Network Rail has made a number of changes to improve safety for its track maintenance workers.

These include progress in reducing the amount of ‘Red Zone’ working.

In the last two years Network Rail has increased the amount of maintenance work carried out at times when no trains are running from 50% to 75%.

Also tests on the locking mechanism of points are now carried out at a time when no trains are running.

Tom Wake, ORR’s deputy director of railway safety said: “Network Rail’s poor planning and inadequate management of track maintenance work on the railway in the Thames Valley area led to the death of one worker and the serious injury of another in two separate, yet similar, incidents. These were serious failings on Network Rail’s part with tragic consequences.

“We acknowledge that Network Rail has made a number of changes to improve safety for track workers since these incidents. But as the failings were significant, Network Rail must be held to account.”

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