Tag Archives: Pedestrian fatality

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: 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.


Winona, MN: Pedestrian underpasses too late for student

18 Jan

A Winona State University (WSU) student was killed when hit by a train in the small hours of January 17th, 2014. The accident occurred on the Hull Street level crossing which is located near the campus in Winona. The circumstances surrounding the accident are the subject of investigation.

After many years of discussion WSU succeeded in securing agreement from partners, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Minnesota’s Department of Transportation, that led to a project to construct two pedestrian underpasses at the Winona Street and Johnson Street intersections with the CPR right of way which are both close to the WSU campus. Although construction began in spring 2015, it will be later this year before the new routes under CPR’s tracks are ready for use.


New Plymouth, New Zealand: Are there lessons to learn from fatality

18 Jan

New plymouth District Council has said that it will do all it can to prevent a further fatality on the popular coastal footpath where it intersects the railway. Most recently an adult mails killed when on January 11th, 2016, he was hit by a train on one of four pedestrian crossings of the Kiwi Rail right-of-way on the coastal path within new Plymouth.

The coastal pathway is increasingly busy with an estimated annual pedestrian usage of some 350,000. There is an expectation that this will increase going forward.

In so far as the pedestrian crossing near Weymouth Street is concerned it is passive with a chicane approach so that users are prompted to look each way before they take a decision to cross at a clearly marked decision line. In this case distraction is a probable principal cause of the accident as the victim was wearing headphones and possibly also using a mobile telephone.

Previously, in 2004 there was also a fatality at this level crossing which KiwiRail has not risk ranked in a way that would trigger an upgrade.

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.

Hoachanas, South Africa: Intoxication said to be cause of crossing fatality

5 Nov

A man was killed when he was hit by a train at a level crossing near Hoachanas, Kalkrand District at about 03.10am on November 1st, 2015. While the train driver observed a man sitting in the path of his train he was unable to bring the train to a stand before reaching the man. Media reports say that the man who was killed was intoxicated. An investigation is on-going.

Peninsula, OH: Woman killed crossing tracks on scenic railway

4 Nov

A woman was killed when she was struck by a tourist train operating on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The accident in Peninsula occurred at about 3.30pm on October 1st, 2015 adjacent to the automatic half-barrier level crossing of West Streetsboro Road / State Route 303 which was operating correctly. Various suggestions have been made as to why the woman chose to ignore the level crossing warnings and cross the line when the barriers had lowered for the approaching train. One theory that has gained traction in the media adds a hearing deficiency to the causes of the accident. However, this should be seen as speculation until the investigation of the accident is complete.