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Author Topic: Man aged 83 struck by train at Bentley station foot crossing - 5 October 2016  (Read 10200 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: October 07, 2016, 11:01:56 pm »

From the Farnham Herald:

Quote
Man, 83, confirmed as rail crossing fatality

Police have confirmed the person killed on the railway line between Farnham and Alton on Wednesday was an 83-year-old man.

The man’s family have been informed following the fatal incident, which happened at the Bentley station foot crossing in Alice Holt Forest just before 4.30pm on October 5.

An updated statement by British Transport Police read: “Just before 4.30pm [on Wednesday], our officers were called to Alice Holt level crossing in Farnham after reports a person was struck by a train. Officers attended alongside paramedics, however an 83-year-old man from the local area was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His family have been informed. This incident is not being treated as suspicious and has been referred to the rail accident investigation branch. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”

South Central Ambulance Service also dispatched a rapid response vehicle and an officer to the scene, and Network Rail has confirmed it is working with the authorities investigating the fatality.

Owen Johns, a spokesman for Network Rail, added: “Just before 4.30pm on Wednesday, October 5, a member of the public was fatally struck on a level crossing near Bentley station. We are working closely with the British Transport Police, rail accident investigation branch and the Office of Rail and Road to support their investigations. Our thoughts are currently with the family.”

Rail operator South West Trains also expressed sympathy with the family. A spokesman said: "Our first thoughts are for the family and loved ones of the person involved. We will also be providing any support needed for the driver of the train.”

There are five pedestrian foot crossings between Farnham and Alton, including three within the boundaries of Alice Holt Forest. The Bentley station crossing was last assessed by Network Rail in September 2015, and it is estimated that 115 pedestrians and cyclists use the crossing every day. It is considered a fairly high-risk crossing by Network Rail, awarded the third highest risk assessment out of 13 categories for both pedestrian crossing users and rail traffic.

The "key risk drivers” identified at the crossing are frequent trains, large numbers of users, sun glare, crossing is near station and deliberate misuse or user error.

However, according to Network Rail, no incidents of misuse, near misses or accidents have been recorded at the crossing since at least September 2014.

Another article, also from the Farnham Herald:

Quote
Rail crossing death man 'was riding disability scooter'

British Transport Police have confirmed that the 83-year-old man who died on the crossing at Bentley station last Wednesday was riding a disability scooter at the time of the tragedy.

The man’s family have been informed following the fatal incident, which happened at the Bentley station foot crossing in Alice Holt Forest just before 4.30pm on October 5.

A statement by British Transport Police read: “Just before 4.30pm [on Wednesday], our officers were called to Alice Holt level crossing in Farnham after reports a person was struck by a train. Officers attended alongside paramedics, however an 83-year-old man from the local area was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His family have been informed."

The spokesman added: "I can confirm that the deceased was on a mobility scooter at the time of the impact, but we can’t comment on any further speculation [that the wheels of his scooter got caught in the rails] at this time as it is up to the investigators to examine the circumstances leading to the incident. British Transport Police has referred the incident to the Royal Accident Investigation Branch.”

Erm, it's the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, but never mind.  Lips sealed

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
grahame
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2016, 04:05:40 am »


Quote
... leading to the incident. British Transport Police has referred the incident to the Royal Accident Investigation Branch.”

Erm, it's the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, but never mind.  Lips sealed


Reminds me of the newspaper report that "the newly married couple will be living at the Old Manse.  This corrects our previous report where we stated they would be living at the home of the bride's father".

Our thought with the family and friends of the deceased, and staff involved.  While the majority of people killed by trains are judged to have deliberately been in front of the train, this case seems far from obvious from the sparse information provided so far - let's see what the RAIB have to offer.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 12:36:20 pm »

From the Farnham Herald:

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Elderly man loses life on railway crossing


The scene of the accident

Tributes have been paid to an elderly dog-walker hit by a train and killed on an unmanned level crossing at Bentley Station last week.

Derek Thomas, 83, was returning from walking his black labrador Maisie in Alton Holt Forest last Wednesday (October 5) when he was struck by the 4.14pm through train out of Alton, bound for London Waterloo.

A grandfather of four, Derek was recovering from a hip operation and was riding a mobility scooter across the barrow crossing, at the Farnham end of the platform, when the accident occurred.

It is thought he must have let go of his labrador, as it was Maisie who raised the alarm after she was spotted running free by a neighbour.

The tragedy has led to calls for a rethink by South West Trains (SWT) and Network Rail over the running of fast trains through the station and for an improved early warning system on the crossing.

According to Bentley villagers, while the train would have sounded its horn at the country crossing on the Alton side of the station at Isington to warn of its approach, it gives very little time, when travelling at speed, before it is through and out the other side.

If it had been stopping at the station, the speculation is that Mr Thomas may still be alive and the driver spared from the trauma of such a brutal collision.

In branding it “an accident waiting to happen”, local resident and former district councillor, Peter Wonson, believes that although there are lights on the line controlling the drivers, there should be a buzzer and flashing lights on the crossing, linked to the system, to warn pedestrians of an on-coming train.

Furthermore he, like others, have pointed out that noise from felling work taking place in the forest on the opposite side of the line may have served to deaden the noise of the horn as the train approached at a speed, believed to have been in the region of 60mph.

In describing Mr Thomas as “a sad loss for the village - a good person taken very suddenly,” Bentley Parish Council chairman Patrick Curwen said the widower was unable to use the footbridge as he was on a scooter, adding: “If they didn’t run fast trains through a tiny country station, things like this wouldn’t happen.”

In paying tribute to “a very special brother”, Graham Thomas, who lives in Alton, said while Derek had lost his wife, Pamela, four years ago, he had been “full of life” and was very happy in the village.

A carpenter, turned printer, he was a devout Christian who loved the church, he enjoyed singing and he had his dog to keep him company: “He loved the village and the village loved him.”

In paying tribute to the British Transport Police for their sensitivity in dealing with the incident, Mr Thomas said the family’s thoughts were also with the train driver who, he said, “must be traumatised” by the incident.

Network Rail has since released a statement confirming that:“Just before 4.30pm on Wednesday, October 5, a member of the public was fatally struck on a level crossing near Bentley station.

“We are working closely with the British Transport Police (BTP), Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to support their investigations. Our thoughts are currently with the family.”

BTP said that its officers had attended the scene, alongside South Central Ambulance Service paramedics but that the victim was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The spokesman added: “I can confirm that the deceased was on a mobility scooter at the time of the impact, but we can’t comment on any further speculation [that the wheels of his scooter got caught in the rails] at this time as it is up to the investigators to examine the circumstances leading to the incident.

“This incident is not being treated as suspicious and BTP has referred the incident to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”

A RAIB spokesperson confirmed that: “We deployed inspectors to the site to gather available evidence, and will make known our decision on any further action shortly.”

Rail operator SWT also expressed sympathy with the family: “Our first thoughts are for the family and loved ones of the person involved. We will also be providing any support needed for the driver of the train.”

There are five pedestrian foot crossings between Farnham and Alton, including three within the boundaries of Alice Holt Forest.

The Bentley station crossing was last assessed by Network Rail in September 2015, and it is estimated that 115 pedestrians and cyclists use the crossing every day.

It is considered a fairly high-risk crossing by Network Rail, awarded the third highest risk assessment out of 13 categories for both pedestrian crossing users and rail traffic.

An inquest was opened last Friday by coroner Andrew Bradley, establishing a formal ID and cause of death as ‘multiple injuries’, and was adjourned until January.

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2016, 03:54:34 pm »

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch have announced that they will be conducting a full investigation:

Quote
Fatal accident at Alice Holt level crossing

Investigation into a fatal accident at Alice Holt level crossing, between Alton and Farnham, 5 October 2016.


Image showing Alice Holt level crossing

At around 16:20 hrs on 5 October 2016, a mobility scooter user crossing the railway at Alice Holt footpath crossing, adjacent to Bentley Station in Hampshire, was struck and fatally injured by a through train travelling from Alton to Waterloo.

The footpath crossing, over two railway tracks, links the village of Bentley with the countryside to the south. It is on a section of a long distance route (The Shipwrights Way) described as suitable for walkers, cyclists and mobility vehicles.

Our investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events which led to the accident and consider any factors which may have influenced the actions of the mobility scooter user. It will also consider whether the design and/or management of the crossing were factors in the accident.

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry, the Office of Rail and Road, or the British Transport Police.

We will publish our findings, including any safety recommendations, at the conclusion of our investigation; these will be available on our RAIB website.


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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 10:07:42 pm »

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has today released its report into a fatal accident at Alice Holt footpath crossing, Hampshire on 5 October 2016.

Summary

At 16:20 hours on Wednesday 5 October 2016 a mobility scooter was struck by a train, and the scooter user fatally injured, at Alice Holt footpath crossing, Bentley, Hampshire.

Users of Alice Holt footpath crossing are required to look and listen for approaching trains before deciding whether it is safe to cross the line. It is uncertain why the user decided to cross when it was unsafe to do so, as CCTV images suggest that he had previously crossed in a safe manner. It is probable that the user did not see the train or misjudged when it would arrive at the crossing, perhaps due to sun glare, when deciding to cross. The mobility scooter user’s opportunity to see the approaching train was limited by the design of Alice Holt crossing, in particular the fencing. The mobility scooter user did not react to the train’s horn, possibly because he did not hear it.

The RAIB has found that Network Rail’s guidance for level crossing managers did not include any advice concerning use by mobility scooter users and the management of the crossing had not allowed for vulnerable users such as these.

Recommendation

The RAIB has addressed one recommendation to Network Rail. This seeks modification of Network Rail’s level crossing management processes so that they consider mobility scooter use at all crossings which rely on users looking and listening for trains.

The full report is available on the RAIB website.
Logged

William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
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