Network Rail fined £4m over 'preventable' crash

Network Rail was fined £4m yesterday for safety failures that led to a train derailment which killed a pensioner and injured 86 other passengers.

The company accepted it was to blame for a "devastating and preventable" accident.

Margaret Masson, 84, from Glasgow, died from multiple injuries after a Virgin Pendolino express from London to Glasgow crashed on the west coast main line near the village of Grayrigg, Cumbria, on 23 February 2007, after going over a "degraded" set of points. Twenty-eight people were seriously injured. The director of railway safety at the Office of Rail Regulation, Ian Prosser, said it was a devastating and preventable incident.

David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, said: "Nothing we can say or do will lessen the pain felt by Mrs Masson's family but we will make the railways safer and strive to prevent such an accident ever happening again." Mrs Masson's relatives said they found it "offensive" that they would be contributing towards the fine because Network Rail is funded by taxpayers.

Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd admitted a charge under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.

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