Govia Thameslink Fined £1m Over Passenger Death

17 July 2019, 13:21

A passenger died on a Gatwick Express train in August 2016
A passenger died on a Gatwick Express train in August 2016. Picture: PA

A train operator has been fined £1 million for the death of a passenger who put his head out of a carriage window

Simon Brown, 24, from East Grinstead, West Sussex was killed when he hit his head on a steel gantry after leaning out of a train window.

He had been travelling on a Gatwick Express train moving at 61mph towards Wandsworth Common station in south London in August 2016.

Govia Thameslink Railway pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach at a previous hearing in May because a sign saying not to lean out was not displayed clearly enough.

The company was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court and was ordered to pay a £1 million fine, as well as £52,267 in costs.

Judge Pegden said while there was a warning sticker on the door, it was "jumbled" around other notices.

The judge also said that there was no-one on the train to monitor the use of the window at the time and called it "a tragic corporate blind spot in what is otherwise a well-run organisation."

Govia Thameslink Chief Executive Patrick Verwer said, "I am very sorry for the death of Mr Brown and the deep distress this tragic loss has caused his family and friends."

Mr Brown was described by his family as a “train fanatic” who had recently taken up a position with Hitachi Rail Europe in Bristol.

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, said he had written "to operators instructing them to take immediate action to prevent a similar tragedy happening again".