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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Network Rail fined £20,000 for ‘dangerous level crossing’ in Eastergate, West Sussex

Network Rail has been fined £20,000, the maximum fine a magistrates’ court can impose, and ordered to pay costs of £4,750 at Worthing Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to a health and safety offence related to the dangerous placement of a building next to New Barn level crossing in Eastergate, near Chichester, West Sussex.

In September 2009, an Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) health and safety inspector visited the site to investigate a collision between a train and a tractor and found that Network Rail had installed a building, containing electrical equipment, alongside the level crossing.

The building ‘severely restricted visibility at the crossing, especially for those driving farm vehicles over the private level crossing’.

When identifying a location for the building, Network Rail had ‘failed to properly consider the impact of its position in relation to safe use of the level crossing’.

Commenting on the case, Caroline Wake, ORR’s Deputy Director of Railway Safety, said:

“The lack of planning by Network Rail at New Barn level crossing near Chichester placed workers using the crossing in grave danger. This is clearly unacceptable.

“ORR inspectors identified the safety risk, and Network Rail has now removed the building. ORR will always take enforcement action – including prosecution – when necessary to protect the safety of those working or travelling on the railway.

“Safety on Great Britain’s railways is one of the rail regulator’s key priorities. Whilst our railways are among the safest in Europe, there is always room for improvement.”

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