Skip to main content

Skip to main content

Ladbroke Grove

On 5 October 1999, a passenger train passed a red signal at Ladbroke Grove in West London and collided with a high-speed passenger train. As a result of the collision and the subsequent fires, 31 people died and over 400 others were injured.

On 1 October 2003, HSE announced that it intended to prosecute Thames Trains for breaches of Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act following the collision at Ladbroke Grove. The charges related specifically to driver training. After an initial hearing on 10 December 2003 the company pleaded guilty, and at the sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey on 5 April 2004 the court imposed a fine of £2 million and awarded costs to HSE. In his sentencing remarks the judge said that the fine had to be substantial to have a real economic impact to act as a constant reminder of the paramount importance of safety. HSE issued a statement immediately following the sentencing.

On 6 December 2005, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of any individual for any offences in relation to the fatal train crash at Ladbroke Grove. The CPS then prosecuted Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (formerly Railtrack PLC) under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. On 31 October 2006, Network Rail pleaded guilty to charges under the Act in relation to the incident. They received a fine of £4 million on 30 March 2007 and were ordered to pay £225,000 in costs.  

Background

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) asked HSE to conduct an investigation into the crash. Further information on the technical issues surrounding the causes of the collision and the immediate actions taken after the collision can be found in the HSE report 'The train collision at Ladbroke Grove 5 October 1999: a report into the investigation’. This report was published in December 2000 and consolidates information contained in earlier interim reports published on 8 and 29 October 1999 and 14 April 2000. These reports are factual and do not make recommendations.

Ladbroke Grove Public Inquiry

HSC announced that Lord Cullen had been appointed to chair a Public Inquiry to consider the causes of the crash. The Public Inquiry was held in two parts: part 1 was concerned with issues relating to the train crash, and part 2 related to wider issues of safety management and the regulatory regime.
The Ladbroke Grove Public Inquiry took place during 2000. The two reports were published in 2001 and included 163 recommendations.

The Joint Inquiry into Train Protection Systems

Related to the Ladbroke Grove Public Inquiry and the Southall Public Inquiry a third Public Inquiry was established: the Joint Inquiry into Train Protection Systems. Unusually, this Public Inquiry was not concerned with the facts of either crash but with broader questions relating to train protection and warning systems and measures to prevent signals being passed at danger. It was established shortly after the Ladbroke Grove crash and during the course of the Southall Public Inquiry. Professor Uff and Lord Cullen acted as joint chairmen. The report was published in 2000 and included 39 recommendations.

Dealing with the Public Inquiry recommendations

Since the publication of the Public Inquiry reports HSC has published regular reports showing progress made by the rail industry and others to implement the 295 recommendations from the four Public Inquiry reports. Since 2002 the progress reports have grouped the recommendations into broad safety-related themes and provides a commentary on each of the recommendations. HSE continues to monitor and support implementation of these recommendations and has published four progress reports, the most recent progress report was published on 24 November 2005.

Documents