The cause of the only serious accident involving a Class 390 Pendolino train operated by Virgin on February 23, 2007 has now been announced.
The Official Inquest into the death of Mrs Margaret Masson, 84 has ended with the announcement that Network Rail was to blame for the derailment due to faulty maintenance (not) carried out on a set of points in Cumbria.
The points had not been maintained and the stretcher bars had come loose away from their securing bars which hold the blades at the correct width. The points were supposed to be inspected five days prior to the crash which took place at a 95mph carrying 105 passengers on a London to Glasgow train.
There are three such bars and one was missing with the other two broken and their bolts not in place. The driver, Ian Black, raised the alarm despite horrific injuries including a broken neck.
After the West Coast Main Line tilting train timetable was introduced in 2004, ‘white space’ or maintenance time was reduced due to the intensity of the train service. This in turn put pressure on track gangs to work better but crucially put them under more pressure.
This was an avoidable accident and the design of the train saved many more from being seriously injured or killed.
The Potters Bar accident in May 2002 had similarities with Grayrigg and Network Rail was fined £3m for that accident. They could now be facing a fine for the Grayrigg crash.