Tag Archives: Network Rail

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

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.


Lincoln, UK: Second footbridge will be built

8 Apr

New designs of the Brayford Wharf footbridge in LincolnAs work continues to install the eagerly anticipated new footbridge over High Street level crossing in Lincoln, Network Rail has announced that it will progress plans for a bridge over the neighbouring Brayford Wharf crossing.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, said: “I know how disruptive the level crossings in Lincoln can be to the city centre.  I am also very concerned by the high levels of misuse we continue to see on these crossings with people rushing over the lines after the warning sequence has started.

“Work on the bridge on High Street is progressing well. It will open this summer to provide an accessible, safe route across the railway for pedestrians and cyclists at all times.  This will also be linked to Brayford Wharf [the distance between Brayford Wharf East level crossing and the new footbridge at High Street is 160 metres] via a new footpath, giving better options to residents, students, shoppers and visitors than they have had in living memory.

“As locals are aware we also want to install a bridge at Brayford Wharf East but have faced considerable challenges through rising costs.  I am delighted to announce that by working with stakeholders in Lincoln we have been able to redesign the bridge to make it more affordable whilst still retaining high design standards which city officials were keen to see.  This design is still more expensive than our original budget but we will be able to meet this cost.

“My team is working up the detailed proposals for the bridge and will submit a planning application in the Autumn.”

Karl McCartney MP, Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, said: “I am delighted that Network Rail has been able to move this vital transport project forward. It will be of huge benefit to the City of Lincoln. Alongside the coming High Street footbridge and better direct rail services to London, Lincoln will soon one of Britain’s most rail friendly cities for passengers, pedestrians and motorists alike. The missing pieces of the transport jigsaw in Lincoln are all coming together to create a joined up City, exactly what we need to take advantage of Lincoln’s thriving economy.”


UK: RAIB Launches investigation into pedestrian fatality

22 Mar

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.


Shoreham, UK: Network Rail under pressure to reopen subway

17 Mar

The death of a man on the Shoreham CCTV equipped level crossing in Shoreham on February 27th, 2016 after a night out with friends has strengthened calls for Network Rail to reopen the pedestrian subway on Brunswick Street, adjacent to the level crossing.


Following a demonstration at the level crossing on March 12th, reportedly attended by more than 100, the Shoreham Society (www.shorehamsociety.org.uk/news) has organised a meeting to consider next steps in their long-running campaign to get the subway reopened to the general public. The subway has been restricted to rail passengers since ticket gates were installed at the station as a revenue protection measure.

Station operator Southern Railway says it is working closely with Network Rail to address concerns regarding public access to the subway. However, Network Rail’s position is that the crossing is as safe as is reasonably practicable short of closing the crossing which is – given its location – impossible.

Meanwhile, British Transport Police has said it is not treating the death of the 20-year-old on February 27th as suspicious, adding that it is preparing a file for The Coroner.