Five years ago, come October 17th, four people died in the Hatfield train wreck which stemmed directly from palpable negligence on the part of the firm responsible for maintaining the track, Balfour Beatty. (That’s to leave aside the neglect in the mind-boggling imbecility of the Major government’s rushed privatisation separating the rolling stock from the track and the track from the maintenance in an effort to maximize available ‘profit centres’ thereby making the deal more attractive to the ‘City’.)
Balfour Beatty’s £10 million fine, plus £300,000 costs, is unlikely to be contested on appeal. They haven’t even had their wrists slapped, they haven’t been warned as to their future conduct and they must reckon it’s a small price to pay for their directors dodging corporate manslaughter charges. Besides, they really are laughing all the way to the bank. They’ve just ‘won’ a £110 million government PFI contract for electrification work on the west coast mainline.
Look up, look down, you missed it might just as well be a railways safety slogan.
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