NETWORK Rail has been fined £20,000 after admitting to a health and safety offence related to the dangerous placement of a building next to the New Barn level crossing in Eastergate.
The company was given the maximum fine Worthing Magistrates’ Court could have imposed and ordered to pay costs of £4,750.
In September 2009, an Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) health and safety inspector visited the site to investigate a collision between a train and a tractor, and found Network Rail had installed a building containing electrical equipment alongside the level crossing.
The building severely restricted visibility at the crossing, especially for those driving farm vehicles over the private level crossing.
When identifying a location for the building, Network Rail had failed to properly consider the impact of its position in relation to safe use of the level crossing.
Following the installation of the building, there was an increased risk of a train colliding with vehicles using the crossing.
After an ORR inspector identified the safety risk, Network Rail removed the building.
Caroline Wake, ORR’s deputy director of railway safety, said: “The lack of planning by Network Rail at the New Barn level crossing placed workers using the crossing in grave danger.
“This is clearly unacceptable.
“ORR inspectors identified the safety risk, and Network Rail has now removed the building.
“ORR will always take enforcement action – including prosecution – when necessary to protect the safety of those working or travelling on the railway.
“Safety on Great Britain’s railways is one of the rail regulator’s key priorities. While our railways are among the safest in Europe, there is always room for improvement.”