- Press notices
Network Rail fined £356,250 for Wiltshire level crossing fatality
12 June 2012
Network Rail has been fined £356,250 and ordered to pay costs of £19,485 following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for breaches of health and safety law which led to the death of Julia Canning at Fairfield footpath and bridle way crossing, near Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire, in 2009.
Today’s sentencing at Southampton Crown Court follows an extensive ORR investigation into the death of Julia Canning, who was struck while walking her two dogs by the First Great Western 17:11 service travelling from Newbury to Bedwyn on 6 May 2009.
The criminal charge results from Network Rail's failure to act on substantial evidence that pedestrians using the crossing had insufficient sight of approaching trains. Pedestrians were therefore exposed to an increased safety risk when using the crossing.
ORR’s Deputy Director of Railway Safety, Tom Wake, said:
“Today’s sentencing at Southampton Crown Court brings to a close the regulator’s prosecution of Network Rail for causing the devastating and avoidable death of Mrs Julia Canning, who was struck by a train at Fairfield level crossing, near Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire, in May 2009. My thoughts are with Mrs Canning’s family.
“ORR’s investigation found extensive evidence showing that Network Rail knew that the crossing was unsafe for pedestrians. Not acting to minimise the known risks was a serious failing on Network Rail’s behalf.
“We recognise that Network Rail has now made a number of improvements at this crossing, making it safer for pedestrians. Safety is the regulator’s top priority, and we continue to push Network Rail and the industry to deliver safety improvements at all level crossings.”
Notes to editors:
- The Office of Rail Regulation is the independent safety and economic regulator for Great Britain’s railways.
- On 10 January 2012, at Salisbury Crown Court, Network Rail pleaded guilty to one charge under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.