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POTTERS BAR CRASH PROSECUTIONS COMMENCE

Network controller and contractor to face safety prosecution under HSW Act

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has started criminal proceedings against Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and Jarvis Rail Limited for breaches of health and safety law which caused the Potters Bar derailment in 2002.

The prosecutions follow 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 died and many more were seriously injured.

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited is being prosecuted under the HSW Act Section 3 regarding its failure, as infrastructure controller 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 similar charge from its failure, as infrastructure maintenance contractor to provide and implement suitable and sufficient training, standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars.

In October 2005 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that, after consideration of the evidence, it had advised the British Transport Police (BTP) that there was no realistic prospect of conviction for an offence of gross negligence manslaughter against any individual or corporation arising from the Potters Bar incident.

An inquest into the deaths at Potters Bar took place during June and July 2010. The the jury returned seven verdicts of accidental death.

Public should never be put at a similar risk again

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.

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