The Office of Rail Regulation announced the start of a prosecution today for breaches of health and safety law.
The prosecutions follow the conclusion of the inquest and ORR’s investigation into the derailment of a West Anglia Great Northern express train at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire on 10 May 2002. Seven people were killed, with many more seriously injured.
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited is facing a charge under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
This results from its failure, as infrastructure controller for the national rail network, to provide and implement suitable and sufficient training, standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars.
Jarvis Rail Limited is also facing a charge under section 3(1) of HSWA. This results from its failure, as infrastructure maintenance contractor for the relevant section of the national rail network, to provide and implement suitable and sufficient training, standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars.
Ian Prosser, director of rail safety at ORR said:“The conclusion of the recent inquest into the derailment at Potters Bar has allowed the regulator to make a decision on whether any enforcement action should be brought in relation to the incident.
“I have decided there is enough evidence, and it is in the public interest, to prosecute Network Rail and Jarvis Rail for serious health and safety breaches. For the sake of the families involved, we will do all we can to ensure the prosecutions proceed as quickly as possible.
“The railway today is as safe as it has ever been, but there can be no room for complacency. Where failings are found those at fault must be held to account – and the entire rail industry must continue to strive for improvements to ensure that public safety is never put at a similar risk again.”
The first appearance is due to take place at Watford Magistrates’ Court on 7 January 2011 at 11am.