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Network Rail to face charges over level crossing deaths

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/8914483/Network-Rail-to-face-charges-over-level-crossing-deaths.html

Network Rail to face charges over level crossing deaths

Network Rail faces prosecution over the deaths of two teenage girls at a level crossing.


The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is set to launch a criminal prosecution today over the deaths of Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and Charlotte Thompson, 13, who were killed in December 2005.

The two friends were setting off to go shopping in the run-up to Christmas when they were killed.

Charges set to be lodged at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court are likely to allege breaches of health and safety laws that contributed to the accident in which the girls were hit by an express train at a village station in Elsenham, Essex. The case is likely to go to Crown Court next year.

The case is expected to centre on risk assessment documents uncovered since the girls' inquest that foresaw a tragedy.

Reg Thompson, Charlotte’s father, told The Times: “If they are found guilty of this appalling lapse of judgment then perhaps they really will put the passenger first.

"I do not know how Network Rail can operate as a private company when it has a monopoly. It needs to have the faith of the public. It is a very big political issue.”

Sir David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, said in a statement last night: “This was a deeply tragic event. Since this accident in 2005 we have launched a major programme to update the assessments of all our 7,000 crossings, improving risk management and safety; and we have closed over 500 crossing since 2009.

“When it comes to safety we will never be complacent and we continue to work ... to make our level crossings safer still.”

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