Knaresborough, UK: Bad-actor tractor hit on bad actor crossing

18 May
Oakwood Farm user-worked crossing with miniature red-green lights. Source Network Rail

Oakwood Farm user-worked crossing with miniature red-green lights. Source Network Rail

A passenger train collided with a tractor on a user-worked level crossing near Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. The crossing in question, Oakwood Farm, has a very long-history of misuse going back to at least 1991 when LXinfo author Aidan Nelson was British Rail’s Regional Director, with responsibility for the railway linking York and Harrogate.

Network Rail’s website contains a great deal of information about each of the approximately 6,300 level crossings on the national rail network. In 2014 Network Rail recorded nine instances of misuse of the Oakwood Farm level crossing, which is equipped with miniature red-green lights to indicate when it is safe to cross.

In terms of risk assessment Oakwood farm user worker crossing is ranked C4 with C representing the risk to individual users of the crossing on a scale of A to M, with A the highest risk. The 4 in the risk scoring relates to collective risk, which adds-in the occupants of trains to the equation, the scale runs from 1 to 13 with 1 being the highest.

In the author’s opinion, if an authorised user of private level crossings fails consistently to operate the crossing, prosecution should always be progressed on the basis of the potential for harm to those travelling on the train, rather than a lesser offence. Also, prosecution of the authorised user for a breach of duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act whenever possible.

One Response to “Knaresborough, UK: Bad-actor tractor hit on bad actor crossing”

  1. Dave Holladay May 18, 2015 at 19:56 #

    This is an access to just one property? Is the person requiring this access getting the bill for delay minutes associated with this incident?

    Modern technology should be able to deliver a UWC with remote gate lock release, a hold open position for the crossing to take place and then a remote release from the held-open position (eliminating 2 crossings of the line to close the gates)

    The remote release can be linked to a controlled list of mobile phones, and a direct request made by ‘visitors’ though their own mobile phone or other possible arrangements.

    The remote close release (from the held open position) can be requested by the user after crossing or activated remotely by the signaller if it is clear that the user has failed to comply with the correct operating proceedure, and driven away with the gates left open latched to the holding post or blocked by rocks or other illicit action (train drivers can also be cautioned if the gates have been left open after a crossing, as this will be detectable).

    For all uses there will be a record time & date stamped, and if using a ‘listed phones only’ system the user of the phone will be identifiable

    I’m hoping to visit Tip-Ex later this month, maybe I’ll spot this much abused location en route.

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