NETWORK Rail have been fined £135,000 after admitting health and safety breaches which led to a 13-year-old boy suffering serious injuries from an electric shock. The boy and two friends had managed to reach the track after climbing over fencing that was subsequently found to be “of an inappropriate type, of insufficient height and poorly maintained”.
Network Rail were fined for the safety breach after pleading guilty to an offence under health and safety law.
The incident happened on 19 August 2016 on the railway track near Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh. The teenagers entered the gap in the railway fence before the 13-year-old climbed onto the roof of a tank wagon on a freight train that was stopped at a set of signals.
He came close to the 25,000-volt overhead cable and received an electric shock that caused serious burns.
A resulting Office of Rail and Road (ORR) investigation revealed that although there was clear evidence of trespass and graffiti in the area, the fence provided by Network Rail was substandard and poorly maintained, such that unauthorised access to the railway was straightforward.
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 onto 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.”