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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Cumbrian MP's fresh call for public inquiry into Grayrigg train crash

A Cumbrian MP has renewed calls for a public inquiry into the Grayrigg train crash after it was confirmed that Network Rail will be prosecuted over the tragedy.

 Tim Farron photo
Tim Farron

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) announced yesterday it had already started criminal proceedings against the Government-owned company for a breach of health and safety law relating to the 2007 derailment.

Passenger Margaret Masson, 84, was killed and 86 people were injured, 28 seriously, when a Glasgow-bound Virgin Pendolino came off the tracks at 95 mph. A jury at an inquest into Mrs Masson’s death blamed faulty points for the crash.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, in whose constituency the derailment happened, said he was pleased Network Rail would be held to account, but believed a full public inquiry was still needed.

“I welcome the news that Network Rail is to be prosecuted,” he said.

“For too long, people have not been held accountable for their actions and have hidden behind Network Rail as a faceless company.

“The fact that 700 points-related incidents were identified around the UK following the Grayrigg crash proves that a full public inquiry is still much needed.

“I hope this is another step closer to offering the family of Margaret Masson the answers they deserve.

“We must never forget the tragedy of Grayrigg but I hope that we can hold the company to account.”

The first hearing in the case is due to take place at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court on February 24.

Network Rail is facing a charge under section 3(1) of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. The ORR said: “This results from the company’s failure to provide and implement suitable and sufficient standards, procedures, guidance, training, tools and resources for the inspection and maintenance of fixed stretcher bar points.”

The stretcher bars hold the moveable rails a set distance apart when the points are operated.

A Rail Accident Investigation Branch inquiry ruled the “immediate cause” was that the train had gone over a “degrad-ed and unsafe” set of points.

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