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Families 'told of rail deaths plea'

Network Rail (NR) is to plead guilty to breaching health and safety laws at a level crossing where two teenage girls were killed, according to their parents.

Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and Charlotte Thompson, 13, were hit by a speeding train in 2005 as they crossed train tracks at Elsenham station footpath crossing in Essex - just a few miles from where a 15-year-old girl died in seemingly similar circumstances at the weekend.

Court proceedings against NR in relation to the double tragedy are due to begin at Basildon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, with Olivia's father claiming the transport authority has already informed him of its intention to admit criminal liability. Chris Bazlinton said he was contacted by officials on Friday.

An NR spokesman confirmed both families had been contacted in relation to the case, but would not reveal how the company was going to plead.

News of the decision emerged after a 15-year-old girl, named in reports as Katie Littlewood, was hit by a train at Johnson's Footpath Crossing in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, on Saturday.

Her death, which is being treated as a "tragic accident" by both NR and British Transport Police (BTP), occurred just a few miles down the same stretch of track where Olivia and Charlotte were killed six years ago.

NR said investigations were carried out on the crossing immediately after the 11.45am incident and showed no faults with the safety measures in place. Flashing lights, audible warnings and signalling systems were all operational, a spokesman said, and there were no problems with the fence and gate at the crossing.

"The crossing was shown to be in full working order," he said.

An inquiry examining the full circumstances surrounding the death of the teenager, who is thought to be from Bishop's Stortford, has been launched involving officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

BTP said: "The incident is being treated as a tragic accident and it has been declared non-suspicious."

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