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Rail regulator publishes final report into Hatfield rail disaster

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has today published the final report by the Independent Investigation Board set up by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to oversee its investigation into the October 2000 Hatfield train derailment.
Four people were killed when a Leeds-bound GNER train carrying 170 passengers derailed south of Hatfield station.The report concludes that the immediate cause of the derailment was the fracture and subsequent fragmentation of the rail near to Hatfield. The rail failure was due to the presence of multiple and pre-existing fatigue cracks in the rail. The underlying causes identified by the HSE investigation were that the maintenance contractor at the time, Balfour Beatty Rail Maintenance Ltd (BBRML) failed to manage effectively the inspection and maintenance of the rail at the site of the accident. The investigation also found that Railtrack PLC, the infrastructure controller at the time, failed to manage effectively the work of BBRML.The final report from the Independent Investigation Board is published by ORR which since April 2006 has been the combined safety and economic regulator. It is published now that all legal proceedings and appeals have been concluded.Bill Emery, chief executive of the Office of Rail Regulation, said: 'This report makes salutary reading for all those in the railway industry, though a great deal has happened since Hatfield to reduce the risk of such an accident happening again. 'We endorse the closing observations of the Independent Investigation Board that provide clear requirements and expectations on Network Rail to ensure there is no let-up in building its health and safety leadership role.'

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