61-year-old Alun Evans was part of a maintenance crew working on the track near Redhill on 24th June 2014 when a Southern train hit his shoulder, sending him tumbling down an embankment and causing serious injuries.
Network Rail was sentenced yesterday (9th January 2017) at Guildford Crown Court, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR).
The ORR’s investigation concluded that the work on the main line between Brighton and London was inadequately planned and managed, placing track maintenance workers in unnecessary danger.
The court heard that works were scheduled while fast, frequent trains continued to run, in an area with a narrow and steep embankment where the ability of track workers to retreat to a position of safety when trains approached was materially compromised.
The court also heard that the works could have been carried out at night, when other scheduled works would have ensured that no trains were running.
ORR principal inspector Tom Wake said: “This incident shows that although Britain’s railways are the safest in Europe, we can never be complacent. In 2014, Network Rail's planning of track maintenance work near Redhill fell below legal standards, placing workers in unnecessary danger and causing an employee to suffer life changing injuries.
“After the incident, Network Rail undertook a review of worker safety on the London to Brighton line, reducing track maintenance with trains running, introducing better warning systems and providing additional training for staff.
“We continue to monitor the company. Our inspectors will not hesitate to step in if needed, to protect the safety of workers or members of the public.”