Network Rail fined £135,000 after boy injured while trespassing on tracks

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·1-min read

Network Rail has been fined £135,000 after a teenager suffered serious burns in an incident on tracks in East Lothian, according to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The incident happened on August 19, 2016 on the railway near Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh.

A group of teenagers entered a gap in the railway fence before the 13-year-old boy climbed on to the roof of a tank wagon on a freight train that was stopped at signals.

He came close to the 25,000-volt overhead cable and received an electric shock that caused serious burns.

An ORR investigation found the fence provided by Network Rail was substandard and poorly maintained, making unauthorised access to the railway easy.

The company was fined £135,000 by Edinburgh Sheriff Court for failing to maintain and improve the fencing, according to the ORR.

Network Rail received the penalty on Tuesday after pleading guilty to an offence under health and safety law.

In a statement released after the ruling, HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser said: “Network Rail has done a lot of work to limit the number of trespass issues on the railway and raise awareness of the potential life-threatening dangers that can follow.

“But on this occasion, it failed to maintain an adequate boundary to stop people getting on to the railway track and preventing an incident like this occurring.

“The railway is an extremely dangerous environment and I would urge parents to talk to their children about its hazards and remind them to stay away from the tracks.”