Net­work Rail re­fuses to ac­cept li­a­bil­ity af­ter train kills cow

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

NET­WORK Rail has been urged to con­duct an ur­gent re­view of track- side fenc­ing af­ter a train struck and killed a cow in the West High­lands last year.

A row over com­pen­sa­tion has fol­lowed the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent, which hap­pened on July 27 last year near Plock­ton on the In­ver­ness to Kyle of Lochalsh line.

It is thought the cow, in­de­pen­dently val­ued at £ 2,450, made its way onto the rail­way be­cause of poorly main­tained fences along­side the track.

Net­work Rail has re­fused li­a­bil­ity, claim­ing the cow had wan­dered off its field.

But farmer John MacLen­nan main­tains the an­i­mal had been on com­mon graz­ing land at Strathie and didn’t do any­thing wrong.

MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Bade­noch Kate Forbes has writ­ten to Net­work Rail in sup­port of Mr MacLen­nan, ask­ing for an of­fer of com­pen­sa­tion as well as calling for the rail or­gan­i­sa­tion to speed up re­pairs on line- side fenc­ing.

Ms Forbes said: ‘ If the fences along­side the track are in good or­der, it should be nigh im­pos­si­ble for cat­tle to make it onto a rail­way line.

‘It has come to my at­ten­tion Net­work Rail is go­ing to im­prove and build two miles of fence at this par­tic­u­lar area in April.

‘ Whilst I very much wel­come any im­prove­ment and in­vest­ment on the line, it does seem to in­di­cate the present stan­dard of fenc­ing is not up to scratch.

The lat­est avail­able fig­ures from the Rail Safety and Stan­dards Board showed that in 2012/13 there were 93 ‘an­i­mal strike in­ci­dents’ in Scot­land and, ac­cord­ing to Net­work Rail, the as­so­ci­ated cost of an­i­mals on the line in­ci­dents across the UK that year was £ 4.9 mil­lion.

Net­work Rail was con­tacted by The Oban Times but did not re­spond be­fore the dead­line.

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