Network Rail and Jarvis Rail are to be prosecuted for breaches of health and safety law that led to the train derailment at Potters Bar eight years ago.
The Office of Rail Regulation today started criminal proceedings against Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd and Jarvis Rail Ltd following the conclusion of its investigation into the fatal incident.They are both facing charges under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Seven people were killed and many more seriously injured when a West Anglia Great Northern express train came off the tracks at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire on 10 May 2002.
Jarvis entered administration in March 2010 and administrators Deloitte will have to find the money to pay any fine the firm receives.
The first hearing will be at Watford Magistrates Court on 7 January 2011, where the maximum penalty that can be imposed for each charge is a fine of £20,000. If the case is committed to the Crown Court then unlimited fines can be handed down. No individuals are being prosecuted in this case.
Network Rail was the infrastructure controller for the national rail network at the time of the incident, while Jarvis Rail was contracted to provide infrastructure maintenance for the relevant section of the network.
Ian Prosser, director of rail safety at ORR, said: “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.”