Tuesday, July 31, 2007


It has been reported that the Station Street crossing failed, causing tailbacks and delays of up to two hours.

Mid Devon Star: http://tinyurl.com/3at52l


The ongoing Network Rail campaign promoting level crossing safety - Don't Run The Risk - had an awareness session at Paignton in Devon, one of the most abused crossings in the county.

It is a busy crossing, particularly in the summer months when the town is swelled by tourists. Here it is in action:

Photo (c) Network Rail

Mid Devon Star: http://tinyurl.com/2pgb6a

Thursday, July 26, 2007

ABUSE: Bourne Lane ?AOCL?

British Transport Police have stepped up patrols at a Buckinghamshire crossing that has seen a rash of 'red-light runners'.

Bourne End crossing had twelve reported incidents in April and the first week of June.

Bucks Free Press: http://tinyurl.com/2mxndu

Comment: Could someone confirm/deny this is a AOCL? And does anyone has a picture of the crossing I could use here?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

UPDATE: Carnaby

East Riding Council have called on Network Rail to review the light sequencing at Carnaby.

They are asking for the amber lights to be shown for longer in an attempt to reduce the number of drivers who are prosecuted for running the red light.

Both Network Rail and the British Transport Police claim that longer amber phases may actually encourage more abuse.

Yorkshire Post: http://tinyurl.com/32fypm

Comment: As with previous posts about Carnaby, I'm still none the wiser as to why this crossing attracts so many cases of red-light running. If you know the crossing and can explain a little about the layout/environment, I'd appreciate it.

One thing that puzzles me; one of the councillors said that he had timed the duration of the amber phase at between three and five seconds... and then said, "When I was driving through the light went orange and by the time I had got to the crossing it was red". Can the lights at the crossing not be seen from 36 metres away - the Highway Code typical stopping distance for a car travelling at 40mph?

Update: I've been told from a reliable source that the amber phase is the standard three seconds. I agree that a longer amber phase could be more dangerous - drivers knowing it's longer then being tempted to put their foot down. What about traffic calming measures to reduce vehicle approach speeds further?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

INCIDENT: Chapel AOCL near Newquay, June 12th 2007

A car and a train collided at the Chapel automatic open crossing near Newquay.

The 38-year old Peugeot driver was airlifted to hospital with head injuries after his car was struck and carried 50m down the line by a two-car unit on the Par-Newquay line.

No injuries were reported on the train, which did not derail.

Initial indications suggest that the crossing's lights and klaxons were working.

However, a local resident alleges that the lights were difficult to see on a sunny day, that the klaxons cannot always be heard inside a vehicle and that there are no warning signs on the approach to the crossing.

Reports have suggested that the driver - who may have not known the area - was using a sat-nav on the journey.

This is the third incident at the crossing in four years. The open crossings on the Par-Newquay line have a long history of accidents and abuse.

Photo (c) Western Morning News

BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/6744815.stm
Western Morning News: article 1 article 2 article 3 article 4

Comment: It seems that incidents at open crossings provoke the same reactions - the local paper called for barriers at all crossings, locals have suggested that lights and klaxons are insufficient warning. And now we have another increasingly popular reaction - the driver wasn't local, was using sat-nav and didn't realise there was a crossing.

The allegation that warning signs are absent on approach to the crossing is a serious one - if anyone with knowledge of Chapel crossing could let us know more, we'd be grateful (photos would be good).

Regarding klaxons - are these perhaps not aimed more at non-vehicular crossing users?

The issue of lights being difficult to see in bright sunlight is one that has to be treated with the utmost seriousness at open crossings. Again, it would be interesting to know if this crossing has hoods on the lights to improve visibility.

Whilst the local paper is eager to insist on barriers, a local MP was more pragmatic - he knows that the cost of upgrading every open crossing on the line would be significant and could lessen the financial viability of the line.

As for sat-nav and not being local - I'd have thought using unfamiliar roads would have made drivers more aware of their surroundings, not less.

Why not make open crossings particularly conspicuous? Rather than rely on road-side signage, why not add a splash of colour to make the crossing stand out?
Apologies to www.levelcrossing.org for mutilating one their photos (and one day I must learn how to use Photoshop) but you (hopefully) get the idea.

Cheaper than adding barriers, too.