“Network Rail has today been sentenced for failings that contributed to this accident and we accept the fine as we accept the liabilities inherited from Railtrack. We say again today that we are truly sorry.
“Private contractors are no longer in control of the day-to-day maintenance of the nation’s rail infrastructure since Network Rail took this entire operation in-house in 2004. Today the railways are safer than they have ever been, yet 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.
Following the accident, various investigations were launched, by the rail industry, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the police. Out of these investigations came a series of recommendations aimed at making the railway even safer. These were taken forward by Network Rail who took over from Railtrack some five months after the accident.
From the industry inquiry all 25 recommendations have been acted upon and closed out. As have the 24 that resulted form the HSE investigation. In 2004 Network Rail made the move to in-source rail maintenance, removing this responsibility from private contractors and moving 15,000 people into Network Rail’s employ.
The railway today is almost unrecognisable since the days of Railtrack and this tragedy. We now have a safety record that matches the best in Europe and makes rail the safest form of transport in the UK. The company can never be complacent when it comes to matters of safety and the very thorough coroner’s inquest into the accident has given us the opportunity to look at making further safety improvements.