Network Rail fined £1m over teenage girls' deaths


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The Independent Online

Network Rail has been fined £1m for failures that led to the deaths of two teenage girls at a level crossing in Essex.

Olivia Bazlinton, 14 and Charlotte Thompson, 13, were hit by a train as they crossed the tracks on a footpath at Elsenham station in December 2005.

Today the father of one of the girls called the fine merely "symbolic" and called for the individuals responsible for health and safety breaches to be brought to justice.

Chris Bazlinton, 63, told The Independent: "Justice has been done in the legal sense of the word, but I don’t think there is any justice because we haven’t got to the root of this. There is further to go and we need to know about who knew about what went wrong and whether there was a cover-up. It’s important that individuals are held to account because if not, in other cases like this, people will be able to get away with it."

The company pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws in January, following a prosecution by the Office for Rail Regulation. Judge David Turner QC, sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, also ordered the rail authority to pay £60,000 costs.

Network Rail's guilty plea came after a lengthy campaign for justice led by the girls' parents. The ORR's prosecution began in November last year, amid claims that two health and safety documents were withheld from the Essex coroner at the 2007 inquest into the deaths.

Network Rail chief executive Sir David Higgins repeated his apology to the families of Olivia and Charlotte and said that the company was reassessing the safety of all of the UK’s 6,500 level crossings and had closed 500 of them.