Tag Archives: UK

Cherry Willingham, UK: Elderly couple intended to take own lives

10 Jul

The elderly couple who were killed on a public footpath and private user-worked level crossing in Cherry Willingham near Lincoln on July 9th, 2014 are suspected as having taken their own lives. The fatal event occurred shortly before noon when the couple were seen to walk into and stand in the path of a freight train, failing to respond to the train horn being repeatedly sounded. Speculation in the media is focused on the couple aged 80 and 79 intending to end their lives together. British Transport Police has said that they are treating the fatalities as non suspicious and that they are preparing a file for the coroner.

Peterborough, UK: Footbridge costing GBP1.5 million follows child fatality

24 Jun

Network Rail is close to completing a GBP1.5 million footbridge to eliminate the Foxcovert footpath level crossing near Peterborough on which a two-year-old child was fatally injured as a result of being hit by a train in 2009. The ramped footbridge is expected to be open to pedestrians and cyclists from a date in July 2014.

The Foxcovert level crossing which was at one time open to vehicular traffic cis being closed as part of a wider project to upgrade the Peterborugh-Spalding-Lincoln-Gainsborough-Doncaster for additional freight services which will free-up capacity on the East Coast Main Line

Emsworth, UK: Housing plans cause Network Rail to challenge them

23 Jun

Network Rail has raised its concerns that the prospect of 269 new homes will have a negative safety impact on the Southborne level crossing near Emsworh, West Sussex. The concerns relate principally to traffic blocking-back over the level crossing as a result of the highways network in the area being unable to cope with the extra road traffic that is likely.

Network Rail’s concerns have been submitted to Chichester District Council, the local planning authority.

Llandovery, UK: RAIB releases investigation report

28 May

The UK’s independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its report into a near-miss incident that occurred when a train proceeded across the level crossing in the town of Llandovery, Carmarthanshire when it was open to road traffic at about 05.56 on JUne 6th, 2013.

The Llandovery level crossing is operated by the train’s conductor using a control panel located on the station platform. The level crossing was still open to road traffic because the conductor of the train in question had not operated the level crossing controls. The conductor did not operate the level crossing because he may have had a lapse in concentration, and may have become distracted by other events at Llandovery station.

The train driver did not notice that the level crossing had not been operated because he may have been distracted by events before and during the train’s stop at Llandovery, and the positioning of equipment provided at Llandovery station relating to the operation of trains over the level crossing was sub-optimal.

The RAIB identified that an opportunity to integrate the operation of Llandovery level crossing into the signalling arrangements (which would have prevented this incident)was missed when signalling works were planned and commissioned at Llandovery between 2007 and 2010. The RAIB also identified that there was no formalised method of work for train operations at Llandovery.

The RAIB has made six recommendations. Four are to the train operator, Arriva Trains Wales, and focus on improving the position of platform equipment, identifying locations where traincrew carry out operational tasks and issuing methods of work for those locations, improvements to its operational risk management arrangements and improving the guidance given to its duty control managers on handling serious operational irregularities such as the one that occurred at Llandovery.

Two recommendations are made to Network Rail. These relate to improvements to its processes for signalling projects, to require the wider consideration of reasonable opportunities to make improvements when defining the scope of these projects, and consideration of the practicability of providing a clear indication to train crew when Llandovery level crossing, and other crossings of a similar design, are still open to road traffic.

The full RAIB report can be found at: http://www.raib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/140515_R112014_Llandovery.pdf.

Rossington, UK: Community concerns over Network Rail’s intent

27 May

Rossington Parish Council is expressing concerns that Network Rail has plans to close the busy level crossing of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) located to the South of Doncaster. In many ways this intervention is very simplistic as it postulates the idea that no alternative route across the railway will be provided.

At present Network Rail has a feasibility study underway to explore the possibility of eliminating level crossings from the southern part of the increasingly busy ECML and has written to local authorities advising them of this and the intent of the company to consult widely on plans that might emerge for closure.

Rather than seeing the elimination of the Rossington level crossing as a problem, why is the Parish Council looking at a hypothetical negative and not the upsides of replacing the crossing with a safer grade-separated route across the railway which would allow average road journey times to be improved?

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.

UK: BBC reports on crossing closure “wars”

24 Apr

The BBC News Magazine has an excellent feature on the divided opinions on the case to reduce risk arising at level crossings and that for the retention of long-established ground level routes across the railway. To read the article go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27037582.