Network Rail (NR) has said it was "truly sorry" for the Potters Bar rail crash after it was fined £3 million over the 2002 disaster which claimed seven lives.
The rail infrastructure company had pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court in Hertfordshire to breaching health and safety regulations which led to a high-speed train derailing at a faulty set of points.
NR's predecessor Railtrack was the infrastructure company in charge at the time of the crash but NR has shouldered the responsibility. It admitted failings over the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars which keep a moveable section of a track at the correct width for train wheels.
Sentencing NR, Judge Andrew Bright said the crash of the London to King's Lynn train just outside Potters Bar station just before 1pm on May 10, 2002 was a "catastrophic accident".
Judge Bright and some of the bereaved families highlighted the fact that, as NR is a not-for-dividend company with no shareholders, any fine for NR would have to be paid from what the judge said was "an income which is substantially derived from public funds".
Perdita Kark, the daughter of Austen Kark, one of the passengers who died in the crash: said: "It's offensive that I pay a fine for something that killed my father."
Train drivers' union Aslef said it was "ludicrous that managers responsible for rail safety walked away unscathed while the public picks up a £3 million bill".
NR said it accepted the fine "as we accept the liabilities inherited from Railtrack". The company added: "We say again today that we are truly sorry."
Maintenance company Jarvis - which was responsible for the section of track at Potters Bar, but is now in administration - also faced charges but the Office of Rail Regulation decided in March not to proceed as the prosecution was "no longer in the public interest".
Six passengers on the West Anglia Great Northern express - Mr Kark, Emma Knights, Jonael Schickler, Alexander Ogunwusi, Chia Hsin Lin and Chia Chin Wu - were killed. They were in the train's fourth carriage which became airborne after derailing and ended up getting wedged under the canopy of the station.