The families of two teenage girls who died after being hit by a train have been awarded over £40,000 compensation.
They made their claims, as secondary victims, against the firm that was responsible for the maintenance of the railway crossing.
The girls were at the station intending to board a train. The layout of the station meant that to get to their platform they needed to cross a railway track through an unsecured wicket gate. When they got to the crossing they waited for a train to pass before opening the gate and stepping on to the track.
As they walked across they were hit by another train coming in the opposite direction and died instantly.
Station was not safe
The company that owned the track had been responsible for its maintenance and safety. However, there had been a big problem on that day. As the girls were waiting for the train to pass there had been warning lights and sirens to let people know there was a train passing.
However, these stopped before the other train had passed and so the girls thought it was safe to cross. The gate was also unlocked which meant they could walk straight through.
These factors contributed to them thinking it was alright to walk on to the track before it was safe.
The company was negligent
The families brought a claim against the firm saying it had been negligent in:
- not taking reasonable care to ensure the girls would be safe
- not using a warning signal when the second train was passing through the station
- making passengers need to walk across the railway track to get to a platform
- having an unlocked gate in front of the crossing when there were trains moving past
The families of the girls suffered in various ways including depression, loss of appetite, nightmares, anxiety and disturbed sleep. Some needed cognitive behaviour therapy while others would avoid the station or even trains altogether.
The company denied liability and settled out of court.
Tragedies like this can have a profound effect on the families of the victims.