THE government-owned company that manages the rail infrastructure has been fined £135,000 following a regulator's investigation over the electrocution of a teenage boy in East Lothian.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) says that following its i9nvestigation, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) pursued a prosecution of Network Rail.

And it has now been  fined £135,000 by Edinburgh Sheriff Court, for failing to maintain and improve the railway fencing near Musselburgh which left a 13-year-old boy with serious injuries.

Network Rail were fined for the safety breach on December 15, 2020, after pleading guilty to an offence under health and safety law, the ORR said.


The incident happened on Friday,  August  19, 2016 on the railway track near Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh.

A group of teenagers entered the gap in the railway fence before the 13-year-old climbed onto the roof of a tank wagon on a freight train that was stopped at a set of signals.

He came close to the 25,000-volt overhead cable and received an electric shock that caused serious burns.

ORR’s resulting investigation revealed that although there was clear evidence of trespass and graffiti in the area, the fence provided by Network Rail was substandard and poorly maintained, such that unauthorised access to the railway was straightforward.

HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser said: "Network Rail has done a lot of work to limit the number of trespass issues on the railway and raise awareness of the potential life-threatening dangers that can follow.

"But on this occasion it failed to maintain an adequate boundary to stop people getting onto the railway track and preventing an incident like this occurring.

"The railway is an extremely dangerous environment and I would urge parents to talk to their children about its hazards and remind them to stay away from the tracks."

The ORR said the Crown Office accepted a plea from Network Rail in terms of Section 76 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 and received the fine on Tuesday.

The ORR said taht plea has been offered and accepted on the basis of Network Rail’s admitted failure to maintain and improve the railway boundary measures.


The railway line being investigated involved runs from the East Coast Main Line at Monktonhall Junction towards Millerhill, and the incident location was close to Musselburgh station. 

The line is electrified with overhead electrification system at 25 000 volts AC and a well-used public footpath runs parallel to the railway under the A1 overbridge.

The ORR said there was extensive graffiti on both sides of the railway boundary and other evidence of long-term trespass in the area.

Last month, Network Rail was fined £10,000 for allowing trains to travel at more than 100mph over a storm-damaged viaduct on the West Coast Main Line.

It was given the penalty at Lanark Sheriff Court on 18 November, the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) said.

Lamington Viaduct - which crosses the River Clyde in South Lanarkshire - was damaged by severe storms in late 2015.

Network Rail allowed several trains to use the crossing before it was closed for major repairs to its foundations.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch published in November 2016 outlined major flaws in Network Rail's bridge-monitoring and safety assessment programme.

It found that floodwater had scoured out much of the foundations of the second pier during Storm Frank on New Year's Eve 2015.

Network Rail have been approached for comment.