North Lincolnshire: RAIB launches investigation of raised barrier incident

22 Jul

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), the United Kingdom’s independent investigation body, is investigating and incident that occurred at approximately 07.35 on June 25th 2013, when a passenger train was driven onto Butterswood level crossing when the barriers were still raised and the road open to traffic. A car was approaching the crossing at the time and the car driver later reported the incident to Network Rail.

Butterswood level crossing is situated on the line between Ulceby and Barton-on-Humber in north Lincolnshire and is around 2.5 miles south-east of Barrow-upon-Humber. It is of a type known as an automatic barrier crossing locally monitored (ABCL). When the crossing barriers are raised (i.e. the highway is open to traffic) an indicator, known as the driver’s crossing indicator, displays a flashing red aspect to approaching trains until such time that the signalling equipment detects that the barriers are closing.

Under normal circumstances the operation of the crossing is automatically initiated by the approach of a train. Once the road traffic signals have activated and the barriers have started to lower, the flashing red light on the train driver’s crossing indicator will be replaced by a flashing white light. This flashing white light is intended to inform train drivers that the crossing is functioning correctly and that they can continue at the speed indicated on a speed restriction board located before the crossing.

On this occasion, a power supply failure the previous night led to the crossing failing to activate as train 2F83 approached. The train driver did not notice that the crossing indicator was still displaying a red flashing light, indicating the crossing had not activated, until the train was around 160 metres from the crossing and travelling at about 40 mph. The driver applied the train’s emergency brake but was not able to stop the train before it reached the crossing.

The RAIB’s investigation will examine the factors that may have influenced the actions of the train driver as the train approached the crossing. It will also consider the reason why the crossing failed to operate and any other relevant incidents that have occurred at the crossing.

The RAIB will publish its findings at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.

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