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Network Rail pay damages over fatal accident at Bestwood crossing

Date posted: Tuesday, 7th February 2012

Following their recent admission to criminal charges in relation to the 2005 Elsenham Accident, Network Rail is set to pay undisclosed damages over a level crossing incident at Bestwood.

Laurence Hoggart's wife and grandson were killed at Bestwood Village's Moor Road Crossing back in 2008, in what was described by local councillor Chris Baron as an accident waiting to happen. Mr Hoggart issued High Court proceedings against Network Rail, claiming that they had been aware of the dangers but failed to take action. The claim has been settled this week. Mr Hoggart believes that the adverse publicity surrounding the Elsenham case has been a key factor in the timing of the settlement.

Network Rail bosses, including chief executive Sir David Higgins, have said they will not accept bonuses this year and will instead donate the money to a rail safety charity. In light of yet another fatal accident at a level crossing on 28th January 2012 at Johnson's Footpath Crossing in Bishop's Stortford, it can only be hoped that the money is put to good use and safety at level crossings is targeted in future safety measures.

The Transport Secretary Justine Greening has announced she will shortly unveil a rail review to strengthen the corporate governance of Network Rail. A special director will also be appointed to the board to represent the views of taxpayers. Network rail currently receives £4bn of taxpayer funding a year.

The families in the 2005 Elsenham case were represented by Terry Lee and Daniel O'Keeffe from Russell-Cooke's Personal Injury team. To see the original case notes, please click here.

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