Rail firm fined £1m after Gatwick Express window death

Simon Brown suffered fatal head injuries

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Gatwick train operator has been fined £1 million after a man was killed when he put his head through an unlocked carriage window.

Twenty-four-year-old Simon Brown suffered fatal head injuries when he was struck by a signal gantry while on the Gatwick Express train on August 7, 2016.

The Brighton to London Victoria service was travelling at around 60mph near Wandsworth Common station in south London.

The droplight window, meant for use by conductors, was fully accessible to the public and bore the instructions “press and pull down to open.”

Mr Brown, a train enthusiast from East Grinstead, West Sussex, was found by a fellow passenger on the train floor after he had been struck.

Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd (GTR) - which runs the service - today pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach and was sentenced to a £1m fine plus £52,267 of legal costs by Judge Jeffrey Pegden at Southwark Crown Court.

Judge Pegden said there was no one on the train monitoring the use of the window at the time of this incident and the signage around the window was “confusing.”

He also said no risk assessment was carried out which may have detected the potential dangers posed by the window.

“This was a tragic corporate blindspot in what is otherwise a well-run organisation,” he told the court.

Following the fatal incident, GTR took steps to place bars across the windows to ensure passengers could not put their head outside of the carriage.

After the hearing, Mr Brown’s family thanked the judge for recognising GTR’s responsibility.

In a statement, they said: “Irrespective of the penalty imposed we hope, as a result of our tragedy, that operating companies up and down the country will take their responsibilities to the travelling public more seriously.”

Read more

Trains subject to tougher punctuality rules

Rail company Thameslink fined £5m for failures during new timetable launch