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Network Rail fined £125k for track worker injury

Network Rail has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000 following a prosecution for breaches of health and safety law which resulted in the serious injury of a track maintenance worker in March 2010.

On the morning of 30 March 2010, Terence Wray, a maintenance worker, was repairing a fault on the track at Cheshunt Junction in Hertfordshire. In order to let an approaching train pass, Mr Wray moved to what he believed was a position of safety on the track. However the train diverted to the line on which Mr Wray was sheltered and struck him, causing serious injuries.

The sentencing at St Albans Crown Court follows an extensive ORR investigation into the incident which found the work at Cheshunt Junction had not been properly managed or taken into account the safety of those working at the site.

The court heard evidence that the work was inadequately planned by unqualified personnel and, despite safer methods being available, was scheduled to be carried out whilst trains continued to run, placing the track maintenance workers in unnecessary danger. Network Rail pleaded guilty to charges brought in connection with the incident at Hertford Magistrates’ Court on 13 November 2012.

ORR’s deputy director for railway safety Tom Wake said: “The safety of track workers, and all those working on Britain’s railways, is a top priority for ORR. Where maintenance work takes place it should be planned, well managed and not place workers in unnecessary danger.

“In this case, Network Rail’s management and planning for maintenance of the track at Cheshunt Junction, Hertfordshire was not good enough. The company’s failures caused the entirely avoidable and life-changing injuries for its employee Terence Wray.

“Since the incident Network Rail has reduced the number of works taking place on tracks whilst trains continued to run, further protecting the safety of its employees. The regulator will continue to monitor the company’s management of rail maintenance and we will always step in when required to protect those working on, and using, the railway.”

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