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West Coast Railway Company has been fined following a series of breaches to health and safety regulations by one of its train drivers.

The operator is possibly best known for the train that doubles as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies. The Jacobite is a steam locomotive used mainly for tourists during the main summer months, running from Fort William to Mallaig in Northern Scotland. Part of the route crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct, made famous in a scene from the popular film franchise.

Swindon Crown Court heard that on 7th March 2015, a passenger train had passed through a red signal, which indicated 'danger' to a driver. Melvyn Cox, the train driver, had been in charge of the Tangmere, travelling from Bristol to Southall. A red signal had been in place at Wootten Bassett junction, warning the driver to stop, but Cox passed through the junction. The train narrowly escaped a collision with another train passing through just 44 seconds earlier.

Following an investigation, the Office of Rail and Road prosecuted the operator of the train, resulting in a ban being issued by Network Rail for six weeks and the driver of the train being handed a suspended four-month prison sentence.

According to a report by ORR, the managerial controls of West Coast Railway Company had failed, including a failure to implement correct training and procedures. Staff monitoring had also failed to prevent misuse of the Train Protection and Warning System, as the investigation team discovered that the driver had ordered a colleague to turn off the safety equipment.

The company was fined £200,000 in what is a reminder that all companies must ensure that staff comply with health and safety procedures, which may include the use of PPE. 

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