E and T news graphic

Rail firms to face charges over Potters Bar derailment

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has started criminal proceedings against Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and Jarvis Rail Limited for breaches of health and safety law which caused the Potters Bar derailment.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has started criminal proceedings against Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and Jarvis Rail Limited for breaches of health and safety law which caused the Potters Bar derailment.

The prosecutions follow the conclusion of the inquest and ORR's investigation into the derailment of a West Anglia Great Northern express train at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire on 10 May 2002. Seven people were killed, with many more seriously injured.

Both companies face charges under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) and could receive heavy fines if convicted.

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited is accused of failing, as infrastructure controller for the national rail network, to provide and implement suitable and sufficient training, standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars.

At the time of the incident the infrastructure controller for the national rail network was Railtrack plc (in administration). It was taken over by Network Rail Limited in October 2002 and later renamed Network Rail Infrastructure Limited.

Jarvis Rail Limited was the infrastructure maintenance contractor for the Potters Bar area of the national rail network when the derailment happened. The company, which went into administration in March 2010, is charged with failing, as infrastructure maintenance contractor for the relevant section of the national rail network, to provide and implement suitable and sufficient training, standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars.

Ian Prosser, director of rail safety at ORR said:

“The conclusion of the recent inquest into the derailment at Potters Bar has allowed the regulator to make a decision on whether any enforcement action should be brought in relation to the incident.

"I have decided there is enough evidence, and it is in the public interest, to prosecute Network Rail and Jarvis Rail for serious health and safety breaches.

"The railway today is as safe as it has ever been, but there can be no room for complacency. Where failings are found those at fault must be held to account."

The inquest into the deaths at Potters Bar took place during June and July 2010; the jury returned seven verdicts of accidental death. The Crown Prosecution Service has advised that that it sees no realistic prospect of conviction for an offence of gross negligence manslaughter against any individual or corporation arising from the incident.

Recent articles

Info Message

Our sites use cookies to support some functionality, and to collect anonymous user data.

Learn more about IET cookies and how to control them

Close