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Shropshire train operator fined £5,000 for incident which led to staff injury

Heritage railway operator, Telford Steam Railway, has today been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000, following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for criminal breaches of health and safety law, which left a member of its staff with extensive injuries.

On 2 July 2011, staff and volunteers of the Telford Steam Railway were installing rail on an extension to the line near Lawley Common, Shropshire. The incident occurred when a 450kg length of rail was moved from a wagon to the trackside by a crane, and struck Paul Hughes, chairman of the company, who suffered extensive injuries to both legs.

Sentencing today at Telford Magistrates’ Court follows an extensive investigation by ORR into the incident, which found that none of the staff or volunteers involved in the work had received sufficient training, or been provided with appropriate personal protective equipment. In addition, no planning had taken place, and the railway crane being used was unstable, defective and not certified.

David Keay, ORR’s Head of Inspection, railway operators said:

“There are hundreds of heritage railways in Great Britain, and the vast majority are run in a safe and professional manner. However in this instance, those working on the Telford Steam Railway put their lives at risk, attempting to move a 450kg length of rail with an unstable and defective crane, without training or planning. We will not allow such an inexcusable and casual approach to the safety of those working on Britain’s railways.
“Safety is the rail regulator‘s priority, and this year we will be inspecting heritage railways across Britain to ensure they are being operated safely.”
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