According to reports, Network Rail has been fined over £356,000 by the Office of Rail Regulation for breaching health and safely laws. It is this safety breach that actually led to the death of Julia Canning. This 55-year-old woman was killed while walking her two dogs over a pedestrian rail crossing back in May of 2009. The mother-of-three was hit by a First Great Western service en route on the main London to Bristol line. One of her dogs was killed in the accident as well.
The Office of Rail Regulation said that Network Rail had admitted to failing to act on significant evidence that pedestrians using the level crossing had an insufficient view of oncoming trains. Due to this, they were being exposed to a higher safety risk when using the crosswalk.
Earlier, Network Rail had pled guilty to one count under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was sentenced following an investigation done by the Office of Rail Regulation. Judge Peter Ralls fined the company £356,250 and ordered it to pay £19,485 worth of costs.
The deputy director of railway safety at the Office of Rail Regulation, Tom Wake, said that his thoughts are with the Canning family. Their investigation found substantial evidence that Network Rail knew the rail crossing was not safe for pedestrians, and they failed to act on it. Safety has to be top priority for companies. The Office of Rail Regulation will continue pushing Network Rail to provide safety improvements at all rail crossings in the country.