Ratchaburi Province, Thailand: Four killed as pick-up hit by train

26 Sep

The driver of a pick-up truck and three passengers travelling with him were killed when the vehicle was hit by a train on a level crossing between Potharam and Jed Samian, Ratcchaburi Province.

Witnesses of the accident which occurred during the evening of September 24th, have said that the pick-up was in a line of traffic that was waiting for the train to cross the highway. Then the pick-up was driven from the queue and had overtaken the queue of traffic. The pick-up was crossing the railway as the train hit the vehicle with fatal consequences for the four occupants of the road vehicle.



Needham Market, UK: Network Rail fined GBP 4.0 million for 2011 crossing fatality

22 Sep

Network Rail, having previously admitted their guilt, has been fined GBP 4.0 million in the matter of a fatality on the Gipsy Lane footpath level crossing near Needham Market, Suffolk, in August 2011.

Passing sentence Judge Martyn Levett said he would have imposed a fine of GBP 6.0 million but for Network Rail’s guilty plea at the first opportunity.

Given just five-seconds visual warning of a train in respect of a known high-risk crossing where it might take a vulnerable user twice that to cross, a lower speed limit should have been imposed.

Indeed, Network Rail staff had proposed a cut from 100 mph to 55mph  not long before the accident. However, no change was made before the fatality occurred as a more senior manager had planned to look at this when he returned from holiday. The judge said the decision should have been made there and then, adding a limit had been imposed immediately after the death.


Network Rail is  working to replace the crossing with a footbridge.

City of Industry, CA: ACE makes it 16

21 Sep

Federal, state and local officials have broken ground to mark the start of the 16th grade separation project under the auspices of the ACE Construction Authority’s work to improve safety and reduce congestion on the Alameda corridor.

The latest site at which work is underway is the Fullerton Road grade separation linking the City of Industry with an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. The USD145.6 million project will see Fullerton Road lowered to pass beneath the Union Pacific (UP) right-of-way in place of the present at-grade route across the UP tracks

The Fullerton Road-UP intersection currently handles about 50 trains and 24,000 road vehicles each day with more in prospect over the next decade. Completion, scheduled for 2019 will eliminate substantial delays to road traffic and improve safety too. Of particular note is the improvement in response times of emergency vehicles using the Fullerton Road corridor.

FRA data records two train-road vehicle collisions within the last ten years.

Victoria: Crossing closure extra costs could be AUD 1.0 billion

21 Sep

Having successfully leased the Port of Melbourne to the private sector for AUD 9.7 billion, the State of Victoria has now put a further eleven Melbourne conurbation level crossing closure projects out to tender.

The State Government is intent on having 37 level crossing elimination projects underway or completed in advance of the 2018 state elections. However, the state’s Public Transport Minister has warned that eliminating 50 level crossings in the Melbourne metropolitan region may now cost between AUD 6.0-7.0 billion, this is up to AUD 1.0 billion than previously anticipated. subsequent “clarification” has said that the level crossing elimination budget remains between AUD 5.0-6.0 billion with the balance to be charged to the budget for station reconstruction and other consequential rail network improvements

However, the money coming from the Federal Government’s asset recycling scheme bonus payment of 15% of the sum raised from the lease of the Port of Melbourne has been halved to AUD 877.5 million because the state government-federal government bilateral agreement was not concluded before June 30th, 2016. A state cry of foul appears justified.

The incoming 2014 labor administration pledged to eliminate 50 greater Melbourne urban level crossings within two four-year parliamentary terms with 20 to be gone by 2018.


Needham Market, UK:Big fine on its way

19 Sep

During the first day of a sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, following a plea of guilty at a prior magistrates hearing, it emerged that Network Rail could be faced with a fine of up to GBP6.0 million. This is in the context of a fatal collision between a train and a pedestrian using the Gipsy Lane footpath crossing near Needham Market, Suffolk, on August 24th, 2011.

The magnitude of the fine reflects what has been presented to the court by the prosecution concerning the failure of Network Rail to manage risk arising at the level crossing, which is at a location where the line-speed at the time of the accident was 100mph (160kph). This was despite a July 2011 risk assessment making the case for a speed reduction to 85mph to better control risk  and a subsequent pre fatal accident input by a Network Rail staff member that the sline-speed should be reduced to 55mph.

Related failures of Network Rail raised by the prosecution related to vegetation limiting sighting by users of the footpath level crossing and an incorrectly placed whistle board providing an inadequate audible warning to users of this crossing.

It also emerged that the family of the victim are aggrieved that Network Rail never wrote to express its condolences. If this was the case it is understandable that the family feels that Network Rail callously failed to manage risk at the Gipsy Lane footpath crossing over many years.

The Sentencing hearing was adjourned until September 21st, 2016.


Poteau, OK: Crossing where four killed already slated for upgrade

9 Sep

The level crossing of Poteau’s Dewey Avenue where a mother and three of her children were killed and a fourth child seriously injured had already been slated for improvement. The need to upgrade the level crossing with the addition of barriers and a dedicated pedestrian walkway at the active open crossing was identified in 2011. Next, the upgrade was included in Oklahoma’s bid for federal funding from the TIGER programme for transport infrastructure improvements.

Oklahoma’s Transportation Commission approved the upgrade with an estimated cost of USD0.313 million at its August 2016 board meeting on the basis of the state contributing some USD266,000 and USD15,000 from FHWA’s federal budget. The remaining USD31,000 to come from the City of Poteau has yet to be authorised and is due to be considered by the city fathers later this month. Previously, the City of Poteau has determined that it didn’t have the budget for its share of the upgrade funding.

The City of Poteau Police Department has confirmed that when the emergency services arrived at the crossing of the Kansas City Southern right of way, the lights and audible alarm were still operating.

Australia: Regulator publishes level crossing policy

15 Jul

Australia’s national rail safety regulator has published a level crossing policy document which sets out an approach based around no new level crossings and a risk-based and proportionate reduction in risk at existing level crossings through closure and upgrade of level crossings.

To read more go to: http://www.onrsr.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/17620/Policy-Railway-Crossings.pdf