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    Rail firm admits Potters Bar failings


    by ODN


    Network Rail has admitted health and safety failings over the 2002 Potters Bar train crash.

    The track and station owner told Watford Magistrates' Court it will plead guilty to proceedings brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) over the condition of tracks at the disaster site.

    Seven people died when a West Anglia Great Northern express train travelling from London to King's Lynn derailed at a faulty set of points in Hertfordshire on May 10 2002.

    Prashat Popat QC, representing Network Rail, said the organisation will plead guilty to failings surrounding the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars, which keep the moveable section of a track at the correct width for train wheels.

    Peter Palfrey, chair of the bench at Watford Magistrates' Court, referred the case to St Albans Crown Court for sentencing on March 30.

    The ORR launched proceedings over alleged breaches of health and safety law following the conclusion of an inquest into the disaster last year.

    While the maintenance company involved was Jarvis, the overall responsibility for the track rested with Railtrack whose functions were taken over by Network Rail in October 2002.

    The inquest concluded that a points failure was to blame.