Network Rail refuses to accept liability after train kills cow
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.