Record £14m Fine For Rail Company

Network Rail Fine Hopes To Reduce Rail Disasters

03.03.2008

The Office of Rail Regulation has fined Network Rail a record £14m following serious engineering work overruns during the New Year.

The ORR said the fine against the rail infrastructure company is "to reflect the serious nature of this breach, the impact it had already had on passengers and rail freight users and the need for the company to take urgent action to improve its approach".

Network Rail was also ordered to provide a clear plan of how it intends to finish the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line - the worst affected service - which is currently due to be completed by December.

The ORR also ordered the group to "remedy systematic weaknesses in its planning and management of engineering projects and in its communication with train operators about progress with such projects".

ORR chief executive Bill Emery said: "What happened over the New Year was totally unacceptable for passengers and freight customers, and to train operating companies.

But Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker MP said: "This sounds like a huge fine, but it is a pointless one. All it means is NR will have £14m less to invest in railways, and the Chancellor £14m more in his coffers. This is actually bad news for passengers."

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Kate Monk from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said: "Irwin Mitchell welcomes any attempt to bring the safety standard of the rail industry to an appropriate level. Such a significant fine will hopefully reduce the number of rail disasters in the future and will restore passenger confidence in the rail network as a whole."