ORR decides to drop Jarvis Rail Potters Bar prosecution

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has decided not to proceed with the prosecution of Jarvis Rail over the derailment of the West Anglia Great Northern express train at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire, which killed seven people and left more seriously injured.

The ORR concluded that, while there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect that Jarvis would be convicted, a prosecution would no longer be in the public interest.

It said that a trial of Jarvis alone would be lengthy, costly, and if the company were to be convicted, it would lead to only a small financial penalty and delay the conclusion of the proceedings against Network Rail, which pleaded guilty to health and safety failings as infrastructure controller for the national rail network on 21 February.

The regulator took into account the views endorsed by a number of members of the victims’ families who felt, in light of the fact that Jarvis is now in administration, that there was little value in continuing the prosecution.

Despite that fact, the ORR said that, as the infrastructure maintenance contractor (IMC) for the East Coast Main Line, Jarvis Rail’s performance fell far short of that to be expected of a competent IMC and the consequences of its offending were exceptionally serious.

The next hearing of the proceedings against Network Rail will take place at St Albans Crown Court on 30 March when a provisional date for sentencing should be set.