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Author Topic: Collision at Frognal Farm user worked level crossing, Kent - 23 Oct 2017  (Read 932 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: November 14, 2017, 12:12:12 am »

From the Rail Accident Investigation Branch website:

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Collision at Frognal Farm user worked level crossing

Investigation into a collision between a train and a van at Frognal Farm level crossing, near Teynham, Kent, 23 October 2017.


Instructions to users on signs each side of the crossing

At around 15:03 hrs on 23 October 2017, train reporting number 1L32, the 14:20 hrs Southeastern service from Ramsgate to London St Pancras, travelling at about 85 mph (137 km/h), struck a delivery van on Frognal Farm user worked level crossing, between Teynham and Sittingbourne stations. The train did not derail, and none of the approximately 80 passengers and crew on board were hurt. The van was badly damaged, and its driver was taken to hospital with head and upper body injuries.

Frognal Farm level crossing is on a private road giving access to a small number of houses and a farm. Until March 2017, users had to open the gates themselves, having first telephoned the Network Rail signaller to confirm that it was safe to cross the line. In March 2017, Network Rail installed power operated gate opening (POGO) equipment at this crossing. Users should still telephone for permission to cross, but having done so they are now able to press a button to open the gates, without having to cross the line on foot.

On this occasion there is no evidence that the driver of the delivery van made a telephone call to the signaller. However, the signage provided at the crossing was not, in the RAIB’s view, clear.

In light of this accident RAIB has issued the following urgent safety advice to Network Rail: ‘Network Rail should urgently review the design and wording of the warning/instruction signs at user worked crossings with POGO equipment, to ensure that the instructions are clear, and alert users to the nature and severity of the risks’.

Our investigation into the accident will determine the sequence of events. It will also include consideration of:
- The way in which level crossings have been upgraded with POGO equipment, including the risk assessment and design process
- The safety record of this type of crossing
- The provision of information for regular and occasional users of private level crossings
- Any underlying management or regulatory factors

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

We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.


My best wishes for a full recovery to the injured delivery van driver.  CfN.  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.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 12:33:11 am »

More detail on the incident, from Kent Online:

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Train hits van at level crossing in Lower Road, Teynham
     
Kent commuters were struggling to get home tonight after a train crash caused havoc to rush-hour rail services.

The incident happened at 3pm this afternoon when a high-speed Javelin train on its way to London St Pancras struck a delivery van on a level crossing near Teynham between Faversham and Sittingbourne.

The van driver, a man in his 30s, was taken to hospital with head injuries.

British Transport Police said officers were called to the scene at Frognal Farm crossing on the Lower Road after reports a train had struck a van. Kent Police and ambulance staff were also there.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said: "The patient was fully conscious but had a head injury. The patient has been taken to Medway Maritime Hospital."

The spokesman added: "There is nothing to suggest anything life-changing but enough to need further treatment."

The train was left with a large gash ripped in its front nose cone. The front of the van's bonnet was ripped off in the collision.

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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.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 08:02:36 am »

I really dislike it when journalists use such a phrase as "after a train crash caused havoc to rush-hour rail services" when in fact it is more likely to be the incorrect use of a level crossing by a road vehicle that caused the server delays.

Will the owner of the delivery van pay the compensation to the TOC and NR for the costs and compensation ................ errrrrr no but they should, the van was driven by a "professional" by professional I mean by someone employed to drive

###### Rant off #######  Grin
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Mark Carne 26 June 2015 - "The challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming".
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 10:59:24 pm »

Thanks for posting, Electric train.  Cheesy

I really dislike it when journalists persist in using images of completely different level crossings to illustrate their stories.  This is Frognal Farm user worked level crossing (the picture shows the previous manually operated gate, which was replaced by Network Rail in March 2017):



I also found it interesting that the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) felt it appropriate to issue such 'urgent safety advice to Network Rail' just weeks after the incident - and well before RAIB have completed their report.  RAIB clearly found some grounds for concern over the level crossing signage at an early stage in their investigation.  However, we should not speculate further about who may or may not have been to 'blame' for the collision, until the full RAIB report is published.

Meanwhile, as an aside, I wish the injured delivery van driver a full recovery, irrespective of his employer: he's still a fellow driver.  Purely for the record, he's a DPD driver:



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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.
SandTEngineer
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2018, 10:29:45 pm »

The RAIB report has been published today https://www.gov.uk/government/news/report-122018-collision-at-frognal-farm-user-worked-crossing.  I have worked in the S&T industry for 50 years now and I have never ever seen a report so damming as this one, mostly directed at NR, ORR and DfT.

The Chief Inspectors summary is very strongly worded, in particular the final sentence, and should be of great concern to all level crossing users:

Quote
Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents said:
“However, I believe that the vital lesson from this investigation is how important it is that each user worked crossing is managed in a way that takes into account the context in which it is used, and the needs and expectations of the people who may encounter it in the course of their everyday business. It is time for a fresh approach to this problem, for the sake of crossing users, train passengers and railway staff, who are all at risk.”

Have a read of the report, look at the photographs of the level crossing arrangements, and I'm sure none of us would find how to safely treat that level crossing before crossing (and I include myself in that even after having worked in specifying and designing level crossings over a number of years).
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 11:51:53 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 08:16:11 am »

Interesting read.  I feel the inspector is correct in there needs to be a change in the Law and regulations; only so much NR can do in regards signage, the cost of turning them into fully controlled would be prohibitive.
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Mark Carne 26 June 2015 - "The challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming".
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2018, 09:16:52 am »

It does seem counterintuitive that the responsibility for using the crossing correctly lies neither with the person crossing nor with the railways but with someone who happens to occupy the land. And more importantly, that it has to be explained by anyone is a weakness; surely a safety-critical system which is accessible to the general public should be clear, self-explanatory and able to be used by anyone.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2018, 10:09:07 am »

It does seem counterintuitive that the responsibility for using the crossing correctly lies neither with the person crossing nor with the railways but with someone who happens to occupy the land. And more importantly, that it has to be explained by anyone is a weakness; surely a safety-critical system which is accessible to the general public should be clear, self-explanatory and able to be used by anyone.

I'm sure that some of the (in itself confusing) law on roads and rights of way and "what is a highway" comes into this. In England, using a road to access somewhere on that road can't create a right of way. Since a UWC is usually only there because there is no other access to a farm or house(s), it's quite likely the public have lo legal right to use it. In effect, it's a bit of your farm you need to cross to get to the public road, and legally the same as your driveway of your house in town.

That may explain the legal fiction that anyone using such a "road" does so by prior invitation. However, it does suggest this was unrealistic even when the first railways were built.
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2018, 08:43:31 am »

It does seem counterintuitive that the responsibility for using the crossing correctly lies neither with the person crossing nor with the railways but with someone who happens to occupy the land. And more importantly, that it has to be explained by anyone is a weakness; surely a safety-critical system which is accessible to the general public should be clear, self-explanatory and able to be used by anyone.

These crossing are on private land so not accessible to the general public as a road vehicle user, might be as foot path, the owner of the land is responsible for the health and safety of anyone working on it, a parcels van driver is working, hence the owner of the land should ensure all are adequately aware of the hazards.


Clearly life is not that simple therefore the railways need to do something to make them safer or eradicate them, both of which NR cannot do alone without DfT and the ORR giving NR some enablers
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Mark Carne 26 June 2015 - "The challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming".
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