Tag Archives: Suffolk

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.


Suffolk, UK: Opposition to proposed level crossing closures

6 Jan

Network Rail’s project to reduce journey times between London and Norwich and improve safety by reducing the number of level crossings on the route is at present subject to consultation. However, while there is broad support for reducing journey times there is significant opposition to closing “my”level crossing. The fear in rural areas is that replacement routes across the railway will be significantly inferior to the routes via the level crossings as well as creating artificial divisions of communities bisected by the railway.

With the prospect of 22 level crossing closures, activists have called a public meeting in Stowmarket on January 16th, 2015 to allow concerned residents to discuss the response to Network Rail’s ongoing consultation. An element of the debate will necessarily consider acceptable grade-separated solutions as some are known to favour underpasses as even replacement footpath bridges are seen as unacceptably visually intrusive.

Suffolk, UK: Level crossing upgrades see barriers added

4 Dec

A number of level crossings on the line linking Ipswich with Lowestoft have been upgraded with the addition of half-barriers at crossings previously of the active open type. Network Rail has upgraded the Melton, Brampton, Sun Wharf, Lime Kiln Quay, Ferry Lane, Haywards, Weston, Wenhaston and Willows Marsh AOCL type crossings, to improve railway and road safety.

Great Blakenham, UK: Non-suspicious pedestrian fatality

17 Nov

A man was killed when he was hit by a train on or near the level crossing on Gipping Road, Great Blakenham, Suffolk. The fatal event occurred a little after 11.00 on November 3rd, 2014. The British Transport Police has said that it is treating the death as non-suspicious and that they are preparing a file for the Coroner’s Inquest.

Needham Market, UK: petitioning for a subway

4 Sep

Needham Market, Suffolk, activists have launched a petition opposing Network Rail’s proposal to grade-separate the Gipsy Lane footpath level crossing by means of a footbridge rather than a subway. So far some 500 people have signed the petition and Network Rail now says that it is investigating a subway solution to allow the Gipsy Lane crossing to be eliminated.

Rightly, cost is something that has to be considered as the subway option is likely to be more expensive than providing a stepped footbridge. equally, the utility of the proffered solution needs factoring into the equation. the third factor that has been raised is the aesthetics of the bridge intruding into what is in essence a rural context. Further dialogue between Network Rail, the community at large and local government – both county and district – is essential.

There was a fatality on the Gipsy Lane level crossing on August 24th, 2011 when an elderly woman was struck by a train. The report of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) who independently investigated this fatal accident can be found at: http://www.raib.gov.uk/latest_news/news_archive/news_archive_2012/120718_pn_gipsy_lane.cfm

Brandon, UK: Controversial level crossing’s failure snarls traffic for three hours

2 May

The Brandon manually controlled level crossing which is equipped with CCTV and obstacle detection reportedly failed before a lowering barrier struck a truck as it was crossing the railway. Witnesses have said that they saw the barrier lower and rise several times resulting in the level crossing being closed to road traffic for more than three hours whiles repairs and testing took place.

However, a Network Rail spokesperson is reported as having said vehicles often drive into barriers and that there were delays of 10-15 minutes on a couple of train services, adding: “Overall, it was not particularly disruptive in terms of train service and certainly from tea time things had been running from normal.” An interesting observation when significant disruption was caused to road users to whom no apology is reported. In particular it is of note that Network Rail appears to have done nothing to address the point made by witnesses that the barriers had malfunctioned.

Certainly the response to this incident as reported in regional media show Network Rail to have made a major public relations gaffe in not addressing the failure of the barrier system and in not reassuring uses of the crossing that it is indeed safe.

Needham Market, UK: Residents articulate concerns about grade-separation

24 Mar

Activists in Needham Market, Suffolk, have articulated concerns that the replacement of the Gypsy Lane footpath level crossing with a stepped bridge is being pursued with inadequate consultation. The key issue is that the bridge proposed will not be usable by the mobility impaired or others daunted by the climb to cross the railway. Network Rail continues to work with the planning authority – Mid Suffolk District Council – concerning the nature of the grade-separated replacement of Gypsy Lane level crossing. Likewise, Network Rail continues to work with Suffolk County Council regarding extinguishing the right-of-way over the level crossing and diversion via the new grade-separated route across the railway. Suffolk County Council would like to see a ramped access pedestrian underpass replacing the level crossing.