Members act in West Coast Railway safety failings case

July 18, 2016

In a case brought by the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), West Coast Railway Company Limited and one of their steam train drivers have been prosecuted following a near miss at a busy main line railway junction at Royal Wooton Bassett after a Signal Passed at Danger (SPAD).

The incident was a Category 1 SPAD and involved the steam train Tangmere. On 7 March 2015 while approaching the junction the driver instructed the fireman to operate the isolation cock which prevented the automatic application of the trains brakes when the locomotive passed the signal at danger. The train came to a rest across the junction a minute after a high speed train had passed.

The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £64,000. The driver was given a suspended sentence.

Mark Harris represented the Office of Rail and Road (ORR)

David Travers QC acted for West Coast Railway Company

Mark Watson represented the train driver


Please see links below for media coverage of the case:-

BBC News

Rail Magazine

British Safety Council

Rail Technology Magazine

SHP Online

ORR Press Release