Tag Archives: British Transport Police

Cringleford, Norfolk, UK: Pedestrian fatality

13 Apr

A pedestrian was killed when struck by a train on the Cringleford automatic half-barrier level crossing near Norwich. The fatality occurred at about 10.30 on April 11th, 2016, leading to substantial delays for trains travelling between Ely and Norwich.

British Transport Police (BTP) has said that it is not treating the death as suspicious. However, it is not known whether the death was intentional or accidental as this will be addressed in the file BTP will prepare for a Coronial Inquest.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North and co-chair of the Great Eastern Mainline Rail Taskforce, said: “It is very concerning to have two accidents in two days, one of them fatal today near Norwich. My thoughts and sympathies go out to all who’ve been tragically involved, including the staff and emergency services. I will be speaking urgently to Greater Anglia and Network Rail to see what lessons can be drawn immediately and in the long term for better safety on our railway in Norfolk, whilst we go about securing the improvements to service that we’ve been campaigning for over many years.”


UK: Ten years on and a very different place

16 Dec

If one event has changed the way in which Network Rail, Britain’s national rail infrastructure manager, thinks about safety, it was the death of two teenage girls on the station pedestrian crossing at Elsenham in Essex in December 2005.

This sea change was from a standard “level crossings are safe if used properly” blame the user rubric to one of a proactive national programme to reduce level crossing risk. But this took relentless pressure from the bereaved to get to the truth behind the deaths of Olivia Bazlinton and Charlotte Thompson. Most visible were Olivia’s parents Tina Hughes and Chris Bazlinton.

The pressure from the families exposed a very sorry state of affairs with unacceptably poor risk management given that long before these Elsenham fatalities, there was knowledge within Network Rail of the need for action to reduce risk so far as was reasonably practicable. This formed the basis of a belated successful prosecution of Network Rail for their failure to manage risk in accordance with health and safety legislation.

Although level crossing safety in Britain compared favourably internationally in 2005, it was in 2010 that Network Rail launched its level crossing safety improvement programme, within which Tina Hughes acts as a users’ champion, for which she was recognised with the award of an MBE.

A key component of the programme has been the recruitment of more than 100 level crossing managers each of whom manages safety at about 60 level crossings, both public and private. The work of these managers is underpinned by a range of initiatives from closure to upgrade, including the adoption of new technologies. Equally important is the relationship these managers build with the authorised users of private crossings and within the community in the case of public crossings.

Since 2010, Network Rail has:

  • Closed 987 level crossings
  • Improved sighting at 1,100 crossings
  • Fitted 494 level crossings with brighter LED lights
  • Fitted 113 level crossings  with spoken audible warnings to announce when “another train is coming” after one train has passed through. This control is a direct outcome of the Elsenham fatalities
  • Fitted 66 sets of barriers at automatic open level crossings
  • Fitted a further 66 crossings with a time delay, preventing a signaller from mistakenly raising the barriers as a train approaches. This control is a direct outcome of the Moreton-on-Lugg fatality
  • Fitted more than 20 level crossings with Home Office approved red light safety cameras which act like speed cameras and capture motorists crossing after the warning sequence has begun
  • Provided the British Transport Police with a fleet of 15 mobile safety vehicles with number plate recognition camera technology introduced to target misuse
  • Begun fitting 81 private level crossings with power operated gates
  • Developed and begun installing a less costly modular footbridge to facilitate elimination of footpath and station pedestrian level crossings
  • With RSSB further developed the All Level Crossing Risk Model (ALCRM) to allow a better understanding of the specific risks at each crossing and deploy appropriate warning and protection measures

At the time of writing, the last accidental fatality (excluding intentional deaths) was on February 8th, 2015. This is the longest time without an accidental fatality since the level crossing programme began in 2010.

Thus, the legacy of the deaths of Olivia and Charlotte in 2005 is that today Britain has the best level crossings safety record of any major railway in Europe, and probably the world.

UK: Network Rail launches campaign targeting student safety at level crossings

13 Oct

00b03cbb057a4b5e9ced177b286bc992Network Rail is targeting new students through a level crossing safety awareness campaign as the company revealed that more than 2,000 young people have been involved in a near miss with a train at a level crossing in the past five years. Figures also record seven young people being fatally injured over the same period.

Network Rail level crossing managers will visit colleges and universities which are in close proximity to level crossings. It will hand out leaflets and stick-on guides for mobile phones, reminding students about the importance of staying alert at crossings. The safety team will aim to improve awareness of how different level crossings operate and how to stay safe.

In the majority of the incidents involving young people at level crossings, they appear to have been distracted, listening to music through headphones, and not alert to the dangers posed by crossing the railway.

Among the advice that the level crossing team will be giving, they will be urging young people to:

  • Avoid distraction. Take off headphones and put away phones so that they can concentrate and understand the warnings that are being given at the level crossing.
  • Stay alert. If in a group, not to assume that someone else is looking out for them. Check both ways before crossing.
  • Never assume that they know train patterns or that a second train isn’t coming if the warnings continue.
  • Never jump the lights or the barriers – a train is approaching.

Darren Cottrell, Head of Level Crossing Safety at Network Rail, explains: “We know a lot of young people move to a new town or city for college or university, and can be unfamiliar with the railway and how the level crossings work in that area. We want to work with student organisations and groups to help raise awareness amongst students to keep them safe in their new homes.

“We have one of the safest railways in Europe but still tragically a number of young people have lost their lives at level crossings in recent years. Many have seemingly been distracted by their phones, music or conversation.  We’ve created some simple tips and advice to help students cross the railway safely and with confidence – put simply, stay alert and stay alive.”

British Transport Police is supporting the student level crossing campaign. They are visiting level crossings, schools and colleges, alongside Network Rail’s safety teams, all over the country this week (Monday 5 – Sunday 11 October) as part of Operation Look promoting level crossing safety awareness.

The student level crossing campaign is the fourth in a series of targeted campaigns to high risk groups of level crossing users. These began in June 2015, with messages aimed at cyclists, dog-walkers and farmers. Specially targeted information for professional drivers will be launched later in the year.

Pinxton, United Kingdom: Comedy or dangerous reality?

1 Aug

LXinfoImage133-BTPlogoBritish Transport Police (BTP) has released CCTV footage of an incident where a yellow three-wheeled Reliant Robin was driven “recklessly” at Pinxton CCTV equipped full-barrier level crossing in Derbyshire. The CCTV footage shows the car traversing the crossing and then when the barriers descended hitting one barrier as the car was reversed onto the crossing, pausing and then reversing into a second barrier. Then the motorist paused again while a passenger in the car got out before the car was driven forwards off the crossing under a barrier lifted by a third person to allow the motorist to drive clear of the railway. The scenario would have been more at home in a clip from vintage comedy Only Fools and Horses than present day reality.

BTP is appealing for witnesses to come forward who could identify the motorist involved in the incident that occurred at about 00.30 on June 21st, 2015. Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport police on 0800 405040. In addition to endangering safety, the incident caused Network Rail a repair bill of up to GBP15,000.

To view the incident go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BaDIeXWYeek

Dundee, UK: Mechanic convicted of ignoring the red

19 Apr

A garage mechanic who ran the red lights protecting the Camperdown CCTV equipped manually controlled level crossing in Dundee has been convicted at Dundee’s Sheriff Court. The mechanic was on July 7th, 2014 test driving a car with a wheel bearing problem and appears to have been engrossed in listening for the defect with the result that he was distracted and did not see the red lights. This suggests a need for a mechanic to listen and another person to drive the car.

The mechanic was fined GBP300 and given six penalty points on his driving licence. Since the offence in question occurred, tNetwork Rail has permanently closed the level crossing, as the necessary authority was obtained.


UK: Network Rail publishes Safer Crossings newsletter 5

20 Oct

The fifth edition of Network Rail’s Safer Crossings newsletter has been published. The fifth edition is interactive with many useful links to source material. Topics covered are

  • Hear all about it – audible spoken warnings raise awareness of another train approaching.
  • Geospatial technology– ariel survey sweeps the network: Geo-RINM Viewer.
  • Park life– North Wales holidaymakers.
  • Views from Tina Hughes– level crossing user champion receives MBE.
  • Awards- level crossing forum awards.
  • Operation Look– targeting level crossing misuse with BTP.
  • International Level Crossing Awareness Day 2014- professional drivers targeted in level crossing safety programme.
  • GLXS 2014 Symposium– Does enforcement change user behaviour?

To access the latest Safer Crossings newsletter go to: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings/safer-crossings-newsletter/

Burton-on-Trent, UK: Successful prosecutions for level crossing offences

19 Oct

Burton magistrates have convicted two men for level crossing offences in Sudbury. Neither were local with one admitting an offence of failing to stop at a solid white line and the other for running red lights. the first conviction generated a fine of GBP and a further GBP105 comprising costs and a victim surcharge. The second man was fined GBP 20 more and the same in costs and victim surcharge. Both motorists were also given three penalty points on their driving licence. Both offences were detected by British Transport Police in March 2014.