Tuesday, November 04, 2008

INCIDENT: Wraysholme AOC, Cumbria 03.11.08

A car driver died when his vehicle was struck by a train on an automatic open crossing in Cumbria.

John Crabtree, 41, of Ulverston, was pronounced dead at the scene following the collision between his red Mitsubishi Carisma and the 0937 Carlisle to Lancaster two-coach Northern Rail train. None of the train crew or the 32 passengers on the train were injured. The train was not derailed.

A British Transport Police spokesman said that witnesses reported seeing Mr Crabtree drive onto the crossing as the warning lights were flashing.

Stuart Wilson of Wyke Farm, adjacent to the crossing, believes barriers are needed at the site. He claims that low sunlight makes the warning lights difficult to see.

It is the second vehicle collision at the crossing this year (see archived story for more details). Keith Lumley, spokesman for Network Rail, said that a risk assessment of the crossing following the collision in February deemed the level of equipment to be adequate. “Now we have had a second incident," said Mr Lumley, "we will revisit the risk assessment and look to see if anything can be done.”

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has launched an investigation.

BBC News: http://tinyurl.com/wraysholme
Westmoreland Gazzette: http://tinyurl.com/wraysholme1
North West Evening Mail: http://tinyurl.com/wraysholme2
Grange Local: http://tinyurl.com/wraysholme3

Comment: Would the crossing benefit from half-barrier installation? Does a fatality following on from an earlier collision now alter the risk assessment? Or is this just a salutary reminder of the possible consequences of crossing misuse? I haven't seen any photos or detailed maps of the area, so it's difficult to comment on the suitability of Wraysholme's AOC status. But it's interesting to note that the Office of Rail Regulation have issued an improvement notice on NR for the crossing, stating that "all suitable steps have not been taken" to ensure that crossing users are "not exposed to risks".

And, a note to the BBC and some local papers who reported that the crossing had barriers- why not search your own archives first for corroboration?


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