Monday, July 31, 2006

UPDATE: Elsenham

Following a meeting with the families of the girls killed at Elsenham in 2005, the chief executive of Network Rail, John Armitt, has outlined a series of changes that will be made to improve the safety of the crossing.

A verbal warning of a second train approaching, CCTV cameras and a ticket machine on the Cambridge-bound platform are amongst the measures to be introduced.

Times Online:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

REPORT: Barratt's Lane No.1 FC, Beeston

The RAIB have issued their report into the pedestrian fatality at Barratt's Lane No.1 footpath crossing, Beeston, Nottinghamshire on the 21st November 2005. A man was struck by a train and killed whilst crossing the tracks in the fog.

RAIB report:

Photo: RAIB


Locals in Frinton, Essex have reacted angrily to Network Rail plans to replace their manually controlled gated crossing with a CCTV-controlled full-barrier.

Known as 'the gates', it marks the entry point into the town. House prices for properties 'within the gates' are higher than outside. The gates themselves feature in the logo of Frinton and Walton Town Council.

Terry Allen, deputy mayor of Frinton, has said that the proposed change could be opposed to such a degree that there would be "scenes reminiscent of the poll tax riots". He suggests that the loss of the gates in Frinton would be like London losing Tower Bridge.

Network Rail have said that they will look to donate the old gates to the town for preservation. The crossing upgrade is part of the £100m Colchester-Clacton signalling upgrade which will remove crossings manned by signal staff and replace them with a Colchester-based controller via CCTV.

Comment: Blue-rinsed old dears and Tufton Buftons chaining themselves to the crossing, then? I can understand the sentiment, but fear that Terry Allen protests too much. Frankly, if your most photogenic landmark is a set of crossing gates, your town has an image problem. All this from the town that held out having a pub for fear of what anti-social niughtmares it might bring to the town. Yes, NR are looking to save money by converting the crossings. Yes, it's sad when a bit of rail heritage goes. But where's the alternative? Fully automatic gates? Or perhaps Mr Allen would like to take on the duties of a full-time (albeit unpaid) crossing keeper?

I'd have illustrated this story with a stunning picture of these clearly world-famous gates.... but try finding a decent picture on the net (excluding those in recent news reports). The lack of them speaks volumes...

Monday, July 24, 2006

INCIDENT: Shiplake AOCL 24/07/06

A car and a passenger train collided at Lower Shiplake Station AOCL in Oxfordshire.
The car was reported to have been in collision with the second carriage of the Reading-bound train.

The Great Western Link service did not derail. There have been no reported injuries.

The 21-year old driver of the Vauxhall was described as being "extremely shaken" and was arrested on suspicion of endangering safety on the railway and for careless driving..

This crossing has a history of collision incidents and misuse. Between 1998 and 2005 it had the highest level of near misses of any crossing in the UK (source: RSSB).

BBC News:
Maidenhead Advertiser update:
Bucks Free Press:
Picture: BBC News

REPORT: Black Horse Drove UWC+MWL 19/10/05

The RAIB have released their report into the collision between a tractor and a passenger train at Black Horse Drove occupational crossing in October 2005.

RAIB report:
Cambridge Evening News:

Photo: RAIB

Monday, July 03, 2006

INCIDENT: Great Shelford MCB CCTV 27/06/2006

An 84 year old woman was struck by a descending barrier on this CCTV controlled crossing. Reports state that she received minor injuries to her arm and eye.

It has been suggested that the timing between the audible warning and the barrier descent is around eight seconds. Witnesses state that the woman had crossed both tracks before the klaxon sounded.

There was a similar incident at this crossing in 2004 when a woman was hit on the head by a descending barrier.

Cambridge Evening News:
BBC News, 2004 incident: