NETWORK RAIL and Amey Rail have been fi ned a total of £500,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 costs at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to causing a major train derailment in south west London almost four years ago.
Network Rail was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs. Amey Rail was fi ned £300,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
The derailment happened on 24 November 2002 when a First Great Western train travelling from Swansea to Paddington derailed shortly after passing through a set of points close to Southall station.
The train remained upright but travelled a further 3km past an oncoming high speed train, through Hanwell station and over a viaduct before coming to a halt.
There were no injuries to the 450 passengers on board.
The cause of the derailment was put down to poor maintenance around the points and a fractured track joining plate, known as a fi shplate, which had become dislodged.
Network Rail, then operating as Railtrack, and Amey Rail pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
Both failed to maintain the mainline railway to ensure that persons not in their employment, including railway workers and passengers, were not exposed to health and safety risks.
Deputy chief inspector of railways David Morris, Her Majesty's said after the court case: 'this derailment could have caused a major catastrophe.
'I am pleased that Network Rail has worked hard at improving the quality of track maintenance since the events at Southall. It knows it must be eternally vigilant.'