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Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Railtrack charged over child deaths
Railway bridge
The accident occurred on a remote railway bridge
Railtrack and the Countryside Council for Wales have been charged with health and safety offences following the deaths of two children on a west Wales railway line.

Kymberly Allcock and Sophie George from Tre'r Ddol near Borth, were killed by a train last July near Aberystwyth, west Wales.

Sophie George
Sophie died along with her friend Kymberly

Sophie's parents are due to stand trial next week at Swansea Crown Court on manslaughter charges.

The seven-year-old school friends died after being struck by passenger a train on a bridge crossing the Dyfi estuary last July.

Kymberly Allcock and her brother were on a summer picnic with Sophie and her parents Gareth and Mandy Edwards.

They face trial next week on charges of manslaughter through negligence.

Both have denied the charges which were brought by the British Transport Police.

Now Railtrack and the Countryside Council - which runs the estuary's bird reserve - have been charged with breaching health and safety regulations at the scene of the tragedy.

Sophie's parents
Sophie's parents face a manslaughter trial

Villagers from Tre'r Ddol who campaigned for the charges against Sophie's parents to be dropped have welcomed the news.

The case is due to be heard in Aberystwyth in September and the Railway Inspectorate will claim there were failings at the site which gave rise to risk.

At the time of the accident a stile breached the trackside fence leading to an unofficial path crossing the railway line and there were no warning signs.

Since then the stile has been removed and a new fence erected along with signs put up warning people to use the official footpath beneath the bridge where the children died.

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