Victim's family welcomes Potters Bar prosecutions

The prosecution of Network Rail and maintenance company Jarvis Rail over the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash was welcomed tonight by the family of one of the seven victims.

The two companies will be prosecuted for "breaches of health and safety law" and, if found guilty, both could face unlimited fines.



The prosecution, announced by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), follows the conclusion of the inquest this year into the deaths at Potters Bar in Hertfordshire where the jury returned seven verdicts of accidental death.



Six people aboard a London to King's Lynn train were killed, along with one pedestrian.



Perdita Kark, daughter of Austen Kark who died in the crash, said: "The only thing that bothers me is why it has taken nearly nine years to get to this point.



"My feeling is that it should have happened far sooner following the crash. We shouldn't have to have fought and fought for so long to get an inquest.



"It's absolutely right and proper. I hope they appreciate why they are being prosecuted and learn from their mistakes."



The other victims were: Emma Knights, Alexander Ogunwusi, Agnes Quinlivan, Jonael Schickler, Chia Hsin Lin, and Chia Chin Wu.



Those who campaigned for a prosecution welcomed today's decision.



Gerry Doherty, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "It is deeply regrettable that it has taken eight long years and much suffering by the families involved to get to this stage.



"It seems at long last we are going to find just who was responsible for this tragedy."



Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union said the announcement was "better late than never".



During the derailment, one of the carriages became wedged under the platform canopy at Potters Bar.



The pedestrian who died was struck by debris falling from a bridge on to the road.



A Health and Safety Executive report into the tragedy listed a catalogue of faults which led to the crash on May 10 2002. Loose nuts on the points had caused the crash and earlier inspections had not spotted defects, it found.



The points were not adjusted properly and there was a failure to understand their design and safety requirements, it concluded.



A later report by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, in 2005, said the derailment was caused by parts of the points moving as the train, operated by the West Anglia Great Northern train company, passed over them. One of the stretcher bars, which keep the moveable section of track at the correct width for the train's wheels, had fractured.



At the time of the crash, the company in charge of rail infrastructure was Railtrack whose responsibilities were taken over by Network Rail (NR) in October 2002.



Network Rail said the railway today is "almost unrecognisable" since the days of Railtrack and the Potters Bar tragedy.



"All of the recommendations made by both the industry's own formal inquiry and the Health and Safety investigation have been carried out," it said.



"Today, the railways are safer than they have ever been, but our task remains to build on that record and always to learn any lessons we can to make it ever safer for passengers and those who work on the railway."



Jarvis Rail, the maintenance contractor for the Potters Bar area at the time, went into administration in March this year.



The companies each face a charge under a section of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. In the case of NR, this relates to its alleged "failure, as infrastructure controller for the national rail network, to provide and implement suitable and sufficient training, standards, procedures and guidance for the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars (part of the points)".



Jarvis Rail also faces a charge for its role as "infrastructure maintenance contractor" for the relevant section of the track.



ORR rail safety director Ian Prosser insisted everything would be done to ensure the prosecutions proceeded as quickly as possible for the sake of the families involved.



The case is due to be heard, initially, at Watford Magistrates' Court in Hertfordshire on January 7 2011.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition