Tag Archives: User-worked level crossing

Roudham, Norfolk, UK: Casualties in collision on private crossing

13 Apr

Investigation of the circumstances leading to the collision of a train with a farm tractor are centred on establishing whether the farm worker used the level crossing as required. In short, did the tractor driver obtain permission from the signaller by means of the telephone at the private user worked level crossing.

The collision which occurred on the Roudham user worked level crossing at about 12.30pm on Sunday April 10th led to both the train and tractor drivers being taken to hospital and seven passengers travelling on the train being treated for minor injuries at the scene of the collision which impacted travel over the route between Ely and Norwich for the rest of the day.




Knaresborough, UK: Bad-actor tractor hit on bad actor crossing

18 May
Oakwood Farm user-worked crossing with miniature red-green lights. Source Network Rail

Oakwood Farm user-worked crossing with miniature red-green lights. Source Network Rail

A passenger train collided with a tractor on a user-worked level crossing near Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. The crossing in question, Oakwood Farm, has a very long-history of misuse going back to at least 1991 when LXinfo author Aidan Nelson was British Rail’s Regional Director, with responsibility for the railway linking York and Harrogate.

Network Rail’s website contains a great deal of information about each of the approximately 6,300 level crossings on the national rail network. In 2014 Network Rail recorded nine instances of misuse of the Oakwood Farm level crossing, which is equipped with miniature red-green lights to indicate when it is safe to cross.

In terms of risk assessment Oakwood farm user worker crossing is ranked C4 with C representing the risk to individual users of the crossing on a scale of A to M, with A the highest risk. The 4 in the risk scoring relates to collective risk, which adds-in the occupants of trains to the equation, the scale runs from 1 to 13 with 1 being the highest.

In the author’s opinion, if an authorised user of private level crossings fails consistently to operate the crossing, prosecution should always be progressed on the basis of the potential for harm to those travelling on the train, rather than a lesser offence. Also, prosecution of the authorised user for a breach of duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act whenever possible.

Harlech, UK: Elderly man escapes serious injury in crossing collision

27 Nov

An elderly man sustained minor injuries when the car he was driving was hit by a train on a user-worked level crossing adjacent to The Royal St Davids Golf Club in Harlech, Gwynedd. The accident disrupted road and rail travel in the vicinity throughout the afternoon of November 25th, 2014.

Stroud, UK: Coronial Inquest returns accidental death verdict

25 Sep

British Transport Police evidence to the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of a motorcyclist on the Frampton [Mansell] user worked level crossing near Stroud was that the motorcyclist had not telephoned the signaller to request permission to cross the railway. The motorcyclist died in May 2014 of the multiple injuries consistent with being struck by a train.

The failure of the group  of three motorcyclist to telephone as required was the error that led to the motorcyclist’s death and thus a returning of an accidental death verdict.

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.

Knockaphunta, Ireland: Car driven into side of train

10 Jun

A car collided with a train which was passing over the Knockaphunta user-worked level crossing in County Mayo. The collision occurred at about 18.35 on June 8th, 2014. Although the car was extensively damaged, the motorist escaped without visible injury. Irish Rail has said that the independent Rail Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) has launched an investigation.

Knockaphunta user-worked level crossing at the time of an investigation in 2010-2011

Knockaphunta user-worked level crossing at the time of an investigation in 2010-2011

The RAIU has previously investigated an incident when a vehicle was hit while reversing off the crossing. This accident occurred on October 25th, 2010. The RAIU found:

The immediate cause of the accident to be:
– The car had stopped at the level crossing, in a position that encroached into the path of the approaching train, and then was struck by the train while the motorist attempting to reverse clear of the level crossing.

The contributory factors were:
– There were no road markings or marker posts at the level crossing to identify the decision point for users to allow them to stop clear of the railway line and make a decision to cross safely or wait;
– The level crossing gates, which provide a barrier to the railway, were open when the car driver arrived at the level crossing.

The underlying factor was:
– Irish Rail had not introduced adequate measures to reduce the frequent misuse at the level crossing in relation to level crossing users leaving the gates open to the railway.

Frampton, UK: Off-road motorcyclist killed on private level crossing

28 May

A 37-year-old motorcyclist was killed when his motorbike was hit by a train on the Frampton user-worked level crossing in Frampton Mansell between Stroud and Kemble, Gloucestershire at about 18.45 on May 11th, 2014. The motorcyclist who was killed was the third in a group of three who had been riding off-road. The level crossing is equipped with telephones which are to be used to contact the signaller to determine if it is safe to cross.

At the time of writing it is not known whether the motorcyclists had the permission of the authorised user to cross the railway over a private level crossing or whether the motorcyclists understood the requirement to use the telephone before crossing the railway.