July 13th 2012
Network Rail has been fined £356,250 after a woman was killed at a level crossing while out walking her dogs.
Julia Canning was struck by the First Great Western 17.11 service travelling from Newbury to Bedwyn on May 6, 2009, while walking her two dogs.
An investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found that Network Rail had failed to act on substantial evidence that pedestrians using the crossing had insufficient sight of approaching trains at the Fairfield footpath and bridleway crossing near Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire.
Network Rail must now also pay costs of £19,485.
ORR’s deputy director of railway safety, Tom Wake, said: “Today’s (June 12) 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.”