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Delhi, India: INR one trillion over five years for safety

8 Feb

The end of a separate railways budget after 93 years appears to be working in favour of the railways. Central Government’s allocation for railways in 2017-2018 is INR 1.3 trillion, an increase of INR 1.4 billion over the comparable 2016-2017 budget.

Included within the allocated funds is a ring-fenced INR one trillion spread over five years for safety improvements and includes delivery of the government’s pledge to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by 2019.

Capreol, ONT: Extended crossing closures are of wider concern

7 Feb

young-street-capreol-level-crossing

In Canada trains can occupy a level crossing for an indefinite period while moving plus a stationary maximum time of five minutes. Using incidents of extended closures to road traffic in Cawreol, the case for change is being developed.

Specifically the Young Street level crossing in Cawreol sits on a single track railway, to the south of a single track triangular junction with an east-west line which is double tracked to the west with additional tracks serving a terminal facility and single to the east.

Reports referencing closure to road traffic of the Young Street level crossing for between 30-40 minutes have prompted municipal action for a change to the permissible blockage time of public level crossings to a maximum of 12 minutes which is the sum of time spent moving and standing with excess occupation of a crossing attracting a fine payable to the local administration.

 

Biloxi, MS: -6+2 = a good deal

7 Feb

Biloxi’s city administration is working with CSX to determine how the number of level crossings in the city can be reduced and traffic flow improved. With 29 level crossings across the city the preferred outcome would see six or more crossings eliminated with two replacement crossings constructed.

The new crossings would be located on the planned extensions of Popp’s Ferry Road and Pine Street. At present the specific crossings targeted for elimination have still to be identified. However, with 20 level crossings in the east of the city between Porter Avenue and Oak Street this CSX corridor looks most likely to deliver options for closures sufficient to justify the new level crossings.

 

 

Now road traffic counts are on-going, the results of which when combined with accident histories should lead to the identification of specific crossings for closure.

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.

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.

 

UK: Best performance in two decades

15 Jul

The number of people dying in level crossing accidents on Britain’s national rail network (Network Rail infrastructure) is at its lowest recorded level for nearly 20 years, according to the latest annual railway safety statistics released by RSSB ton July 13th, 2016.

Only three pedestrians died in accidents at level crossings in the year between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, Also of note, there have been no passenger or workforce fatalities in train accidents for a record ninth year in a row.  These are two of the areas where the rail industry has retained a sustained focus on the risks, tackling them in an informed and coordinated way.

The industry’s Safety Risk Model (SRM) shows a risk of 11.4 Fatalities and weighted injuries (FWI) per year which falls within the remit of the Level Crossing Strategy Group (LCSG) and comprises 8% of the total mainline system FWI risk. The majority of risk is borne by members of the public with most casualties occurring to road vehicle occupants and pedestrians. Network Rail has put significant resource into reducing the risk at level crossings and successfully met their target of 25% reduction in risk at the end of Control Period 4 (CP4) March 31st 2014).

There were three fatalities at level crossing during 2015/16, all were pedestrian users. This is the lowest number of level crossing fatalities recorded since 1996/97. The overall level of harm at level crossing was 3.7 FWI, compared with 11.8 FWI for 2014/15.

At four, the number of train collisions with vehicles at level crossings was the lowest over the past ten years. The number of such accidents is relatively low, and shows quite some variability, but the generally lower numbers over the duration of CP4 are reflective of an improvement in level crossing risk. This is supported by a reducing trend in the recorded number of near misses with road vehicles at level crossings.

Improving level crossing safety is a major focus for the industry. Network Rail has substantial safety improvements planned for CP5, which runs from April 2014 to March 2019, and which build upon the 31% reduction in level crossing risk achieved during the course of CP4. At the end of 2015/16 Network Rails’s LCRIM model, which tracks changes in the aggregate risk at level crossings, stood at 12.3 FWI, compared with 12.8 FWI at the end of 2014/15.

For more detail go to http://www.rssb.co.uk/Library/risk-analysis-and-safety-reporting/2016-07-annual-safety-performance-report-2015-2016.pdf

International Level Crossing Awareness Day 2016

10 Jun

LXinfoImage569-ilcad=englishThe 8th International Level Crossing Awareness Day has today June 10th, 2016 attracted extensive media coverage from around the world. This demonstrates the reach of the annual event with 40 nations across all five continents participating. For the first time the launch event has been spread across two countries over two days leading nicely into next Global Level Crossing Symposium in Helsinki.

Today in Riga, Latvia, there has been a conference with international participation built around the ILAD 2016 focus on those who through age or disability have longer reaction times when determining whether or not it is safe to cross. The second component is a technical visit hosted by Estonia’s ever innovative Operation Lifesaver programme.

Chief Executive of the International Union of Railways Jean-Pierre Loubinoux: “As in previous years, we are proud to bring together about 40 countries to participate in this global event, either by relaying it on their websites or on social media, or by organising a range of activities around 10-11 June.

The partners in ILCAD will be focusing in particular on safety at level crossings, but some will also make the most of the opportunity to raise public awareness of other dangers such as crossing railway lines where it is strictly forbidden to do so, or safety on station platforms. We wish our partners all the best for their campaign.”

Each year, the ILCAD partners choose a different section of the public for their awareness campaign. Since we have been experiencing in a certain number of countries an increasing number of collisions at level crossings involving seniors, we have decided this year to focus on “Senior citizens and people with sensory and mobility restrictions”.

As for all other categories of road users, pedestrians and cyclists, collisions may involve seniors who may take wrong decisions either by error or deliberately. For this particular category of persons, misbehaviour can be linked to habit, ageing (failing sight, hearing loss, longer reaction and decision times), and to the overestimation of their ability to take safe decisions which can as both pedestrians and motorists put them and others at risk of harm, all too often fatally.

To view the new public safety announcement addressing the over estimate of personal capability please visit: http://www.ilcad.org.

To put ILCAD in context there are around 600 000 level crossings worldwide (213 000 in the USA, 113 000 in Europe). In Europe, while fatalities at level crossings amount to just 1% of road fatalities but over 25% of railway related fatalities (in 2012 more than 320 of which 38% were aged 65 and over).