Railway safety and crime

16.03.18

NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

Network Rail has been ordered to pay £733,000 fines after a court found that its failure to adequately maintain track had caused a freight train to derail near Gloucester station.

The incident, which occurred in October 2013, saw the train partially derail and caused an empty container weighing nearly 6 tonnes to become dislodged from the wagon and roll down an embankment towards a road below.

Office of Road and Rail (ORR) officials advised Bristol Crown Court that staff at NR’s Gloucester maintenance depot had identified an ongoing track defect but failed to deal with the issue.

The problem had been further compounded by inadequate drainage at the site, and while engineers attempted to make both short and medium-term repairs, no long-term fix was ever put in place.

“Given Network Rail’s failure to remedy this ongoing fault, it was only a matter of time before a derailment took place, creating a genuine risk to passengers and the public,” said ORR head of network rail route teams, Tom Wake.

“In this instance it was extremely fortunate that the loose container did not fall into the path of an on-coming train or cause injury to the public as it fell.

“The fine issued today sends a powerful message to the industry that the ORR is committed to protecting the safety of Britain’s railways and will not hesitate to take enforcement action when and where it is necessary.”

In addition to the fine, NR will also have to pay costs £70,000.

Top image: Jonathan Brady

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