No Prosecution for Company Blamed in London Rail Crash
Jarvis Rail Limited is in bankruptcy, and the families of seven people who died in the May 2002 Potters Bar crash felt there was nothing to be gained by proceeding with the prosecution. Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain's rail network, has pleaded guilty.
Britain's Office of Rail Regulation announced March 18 it will not proceed with the prosecution of Jarvis Rail Limited, the maintenance company charged in the May 10, 2002, Potters Bar rail crash in London, which killed seven people – six passengers and a pedestrian struck by debris -- and injured more than 70. The crash happened because nuts were loose on spreader bars that keep the rails at the proper width for train cars, which caused one of four cars in a train to derail just outside the Potters Bar station.
Jarvis is in bankruptcy and insolvent, according to ORR, which said it concluded "there was a real risk that a prosecution in these circumstances could undermine public confidence in the regulatory and criminal justice systems."
ORR said it has enough evidence "to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of Jarvis [but] a prosecution would no longer be in the public interest" because the trial would be costly, long, and "if convicted lead to only a small financial penalty and delay the conclusion of the proceedings against Network Rail."
Network Rail owns and operates Britain's rail network. The company pleaded guilty in February 2011 to failing to properly install, maintain, and inspect adjustable stretcher bars. A hearing March 30 is scheduled to set a date for sentencing.
ORR is the independent safety authority for British railways. Investigative reports about the crash are available at this website.