Latest Rail News

12.04.13

Sentencing for signalman who raised barriers in level crossing crash death

Network Rail and signalman Adrian Maund have been fined for a level crossing death in 2010. Maund raised the barriers at Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire, shortly before a train crashed into a car, killing Jane Harding (pictured below).

Maund, pictured above, has been fined £1,750 and sentenced to 275 hours unpaid work. Network Rail has been fined £450,000 for failing to ensure the safety of the level crossing.

Both were found guilty under health and safety regulations at a two-week trial in February, and at the sentencing this week Network Rail was also ordered to pay £33,000 towards prosecution costs, while Maund was told to pay £750.

Jane Harding’s husband Mark, who was driving the car, suffered serious injuries in the collision.

The court heard that Network Rail failed to install an automatic barrier locking system at the site during an upgrade due to expense. The equipment could have cost an extra £40,000, although Network Rail said the real cost could be much higher.

Maund, 43, of Caswell Crescent, Leominster, Herefordshire, raised the barriers after he thought the Manchester Piccadilly to Milford Haven passenger service had already passed.

He was described during the court case as an otherwise thorough and exemplary employee, and the judge accepted that he “obviously did not intend what happened and admitted to having made a terrible error”. Maund was distracted by a telephone call from a farmer using another crossing.

After the sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves said: “We made a mistake. We've rectified that mistake since the accident. Our engineers went away and invented a new piece of kit which we've fitted to Moreton and 40 other crossings, and there's more to do that we will be finishing off in the next 12 months.

“We thought the risk of this happening was very low. There are hundreds of these crossings and they have been in service for 50 years and this is the only fatal accident that has ever been recorded.”

The Arriva Trains Wales service also hit another car being driven in the opposite direction, although the two passengers escaped with minor injuries.

bottom pic c. British Transport Police SLASH PA Wire

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

(Image of Adrian Maund: PA Wire. Image of Jane Harding: PA / British Transport Police)

Comments

Chris Robertson   12/04/2013 at 22:17

I am very pleased at the humane sentence given to Mr Maund, granted that sometimes (and I noticed it in the sentencing of a bus driver who was 'hung out to dry') those at the sharp end of transport operations can be severely punished despite being, as in this case, an exemplary employee. I'm not sure the same can be said of Network Rail's position and its not wholly contrite response to this judgement. How many more critical system deficiencies remain unexposed by seemingly inadequate auditing procedures?

Adrian   10/05/2013 at 16:27

It is all very sad and human beings are not infallible. When distracted, anyone may make an error. Consider how many years Mr Maund has worked without such an occurence. I hope all concerned can move on.

Concerned   08/06/2014 at 01:02

There are loads of safety related systems still on Network Rail Infrastructure between the railway/public interface that remain WITHOUT interlocking. Of course, it's all due to cost yet directors get 50k bonuses. Staff at the front end who make the company work get pittance a in so called bonuses. An absolute disgrace!

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