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Monday, 01 September 2014

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End of the line for tragedy

We all knew that the Grayrigg rail tragedy was caused by faulty maintenance and would result in a huge fine.

The only question was how much it would be and when it would be imposed.

Within hours of the terrible crash in February 2007 it was established that the Virgin Pendolino London to Glasgow express train had derailed as the result of a points failure owing to poor maintenance.

Network Rail admitted health and safety breaches, but it is only now – more than five years after the disaster – that the whole sorry saga has finally ended.

That it should have taken so long to conclude the case is ridiculous and has added to the grief felt by the family of Margaret Masson, who died in the crash.

It is heartbreakingly sad that it should take a tragedy like this to point out failings in the way a system works.

The one thing that can console the family of Mrs Masson, and those others injured at Grayrigg, is the fact that in the aftermath of the accident, hundreds of other points failures were identified and the risk of other disasters was reduced.

But this long-running case isn’t just a lesson to be learned by Network Rail.

It is a message for all companies to ensure all necessary safety procedures are carried out: That there are no short-cuts and that nothing should be left to chance.

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