Tag Archives: Footpath level crossing

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.

 

Wareham, Dorset, UK: Crossing stand-off continues

14 Apr

The footpath level crossing just metres away from the town’s station continues to generate passion whether for or against eliminating the level crossing.

Despite regulator ORR slapping an improvement notice on Network Rail and Dorset County Council in 2010 to address risk at one of the country’s least safe level crossings, hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for the retention of this level crossing. Meanwhile Network Rail has improved matters on a ‘temporary basis by installing a locking gate and posting an attendant at the crossing. Even with these controls overlaid onto a crossing equipped with warning lights and audible alarms, Network Rail still maintains its position that the crossing needs to be eliminated on safety grounds as misuse is still being reported..

The permanent solution proposed by Network Rail was a ramped access footbridge to replace both this level crossing and the footbridge at the station just metres away. This solution was last year turned down by Purbeck District Council on the grounds that it was too large and increased walking time expected of pedestrians.

Now Dorset County Council and Network Rail are looking at further options.

 

Wool, Dorset UK: new footbridge context misunderstood

13 Apr

Network Rail has completed work to construct a new stepped-access footbridge to eliminate a footpath level crossing. However, there are still many who challenge the decision to approve a stepped rather than ramped design. The logic behind the approval of the stepped design was that access to each end of the footpath level crossing was over a stile at each end which limited the use of the crossing. Thus, as the footbridge was independent of any plan to make the route of which it is a part accessible to the mobility impaired or users with prams and pushchairs, there was no obligation on Network Rail to install a ramped access footbridge replacing a footpath level crossing.

As Network Rail’s objective was to reduce risk by eliminating a high-risk level crossing, complete with sighting constraints extra expenditure on a ramped access design would have been an inappropriate use of regulator approved funding to progress the elimination of level crossings. Even so, the stepped design footbridge has cost in the region of GBP 830,000.

 

UK: RAIB Launches investigation into pedestrian fatality

22 Mar
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Grimston Lane Footpath level crossing (source RAIB)

The independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced that it is investigating the February 23rd, 2016 pedestrian fatality on Grimston Lane footpath level crossing in Trimley St Martin, Near Felixstowe, Suffolk.

This level crossing, which is over a single railway track, links two parts of Grimston Lane, an unclassified tarmac road on the western edge of Trimley St Martin, leading through farmland to Trimley Lower Street.

The RAIB investigation will identify the sequence of events which led to the accident and consider any factors which may have influenced the actions of the pedestrian. It will also consider whether the design and/or management of the crossing were factors in the accident.

The RAIB report will be published in due course.

 

Littlehampton, UK: M & S Simply Food triggers crossing upgrade

2 Dec

Arun District Council has approved plans for a Marks & Spencer (M & S) Simply Food store on the border between Angmering and Rustington, near Littlehampton, which has triggered an upgrade of a nearby level crossing. M & S has agreed with Network Rail, that it will pay half of the cost of upgrading the footpath crossing through the installation of active controls.

Burton-on-Trent, UK: Talks continue four years after closure of “unsafe” footpath crossing

22 Sep

Four years after a pedestrian was killed on the Warren Lane footpath level crossing in Branston, Burton-onTrent, talks are continuing to find a permanent solution. In 2012, a temporary footbridge was provided and then removed as a result of protests that it was an eyesore, forcing those who would have used the crossing to detour via a road bridge.

As things stand, residents want the footpath crossing to be reinstated. Meanwhile, Network Rail and the County Council are focussed on determining whether the road bridge should be upgraded to improve pedestrian safety or whether a ramped footbridge should be provided as the permanent solution. Network Rail secured planning permission for a ramped footbridge earlier this year.