7 March 2013 – The Old Bailey in London has fined three transport companies £100, 000 each after a runaway train came within 2, 000ft (600m) of crashing into a packed tube train on 13 August 2010. A maintenance wagon broke free from an empty passenger train which was towing it and was out of control for 16 minutes as it hurtled through seven stations on the Northern Line.
London Underground (LU), Tube Lines Ltd and Schweerbau GMBH pleaded guilty to endangering passengers and staff and were fined on 28 February 2013.
Responding to the verdict, Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: “Today’s court outcome reinforces RMT’s case for a halt to the on-going cuts process to jobs and maintenance schedules that is undermining and diluting safety procedures across the tube network and which continue to create the perfect conditions for a major disaster.
“This shocking incident, which could very easily have resulted in a major tragedy and loss of life, should continue to serve as a wake-up call to London Underground and London mayor Boris Johnson.
“This near miss underlines the importance of maintaining the highest possible safety standards on the tube where no one is put under any pressure to cut corners – and yet that is exactly the pressure our members are under right now with maintenance and staffing cuts still on the agenda.”
Mac Urata, ITF inland transport secretary, commented: “We welcome the fact that the transport companies have been publicly held to account over this incident. Safety standards must be maintained or lives of passengers and staff will be put at risk.
“The investigation into the incident praised the behaviour of staff in bringing the runaway train to a halt, which once again shows the vital need for sufficient personnel at all times – as the interim report of the ITF Railway Safety Survey has recently revealed.”
To read the full Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the runaway tube train incident view here.