Network Rail pleaded guilty to three offences following an incident on 3 December 2005 when teenage friends Olivia Bazlinton and Charlotte Thompson were hit by a train as they walked across a railway line at Elsenham Station. The Office of Rail Regulation brought the prosecution citing two charges under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and a separate charge under the HSWA 1974. One pre accident risk assessment described the wicket gates that were present as “undesirably risky” and that the author had “quite serious reservations about the arrangements which are in place for pedestrians”. A recommendation to fit the gates with locks which automatically engaged when a train approached was not implemented. It was alleged that some of the more pertinent risk assessments only recently came to light during civil proceedings brought by the bereaved families of the two teenagers. Network Rail apologised for their failures and made assurances that steps were being taken to improve safety across all of their level crossings. Network Rail were fined £1m and were ordered to pay costs of £60k in addition to the fine.
In a second prosecution, Network Rail were fined £4m following the Grayrigg train crash which left 86 injured and caused a fatality. On 23 February 2007 a high speed train derailed at Grayrigg as a result of badly maintained points. An 84 year old passenger, Margaret Masson, was fatally injured, whilst 28 others sustained serious injuries. An investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation found that Network Rail had failed to properly maintain the points or provide sufficient resources to do so. Network Rail pleaded guilty to a breach of section 3(1) HSWA and the fine was discounted from £6m to reflect the guilty plea. In addition to the fine, Network Rail were also ordered to pay costs of £118,052. The Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed that it is the highest fine for rail safety imposed to date.