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Author Topic: Another Fatality Massive Delays 11/2/2010  (Read 14729 times)
eightf48544
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« on: February 11, 2010, 04:24:07 pm »

Yet more 2 hour plus delays due this time to fataity near Burnham.

Watching the incident unfold from Taplow was fascinating.

First sign of trouble was 11:36 left on time on single yellow from S109 (no not that one, UP relief platform signal). Now that's not a good sign because the next siganl is an auto and as there hadn't been a train for 15 minutes or so very suspiscious. Train leaves and is seen halted at said auto. Station ascertains body on line around Burnham.

Then Theale Hope cement empties enters station. and stops. Talking to the driver confrims body on line.We then had the pleasure of entertaining the driver for the next two hours. It was very useful as he was able to get information on the progress of the incident so we could warn potential passengers of the possible delays and rectification times.

He got the right away on a green around 13:45 around a 2 hour wait exactly  as he predicted when he first stopped and knew what the cause was.

However, I am not happy with FGW subsequent rectification of the situation. Not having had a train for 2 hours it was galling to have the first up train a Turbo run through the station without stopping. Swindon should have made Maidenhead put a special stop on for Taplow and Burnham. Next trains were a set of HSTs runing Relieif line non stop.

Meanwhile the CIS was showing the 13:36 and 14:06 as arriving at the same time but getting steadily later and later.

When I left they were showing 14:30 and getting later which I reckon meant they hadn't left Reading or were stuck on the Relief Line between Reading the crossovers at Twyford West waiting for the string of HSTs to cross . Although we did get a down stopper there were also HSTs on the Down Relief. As Twyford West is a single lead crossover it means you can't run in parrallel.

I think not stopping the first Up Turbo was at the very least inconsiderate of FGW. I wouldn't expect them to stop an HST but it would have been been  a super gesture if they did.

Secondly as with other posts on this topics Networkrail and BTP police really need to work out a protocol that doesn't require such massive disruptions to services.

I am not sure why it has to be a crime scene. The position of body will tell little other than the speed of the train and the angle of impact. The unfortunate driver will be able give a good idea where the impact took place and if it's close to a station there will be witnesses to what happened. Especialy as if it really was a crime (ie somebody was pushed) and  not a suicide. The other thing that needs to be ascertained is how the person gained acces to the track and that will be found along the boundary of the railway away from the trains.

Finally on a four track railway I don't see why trains can't start running under caution on the other two lines even if fire and ambulance people are on the other lines. provided there's competant person to keep them off the other running lines it is perfectly safe. Or don't we trust them not to wander all over the railway. I thought the Ambulance and the Fire Services think of themselves on being a  disciplined force trained to obey orders, or have just used a dirty word? 

Or am I violating their human rights by putting them in jeopardy by running trains on other lines and not allowing them to wander all over the tracks as they see fit?

Does anyone else agree with me that the time to clear up such incidents is becoming too long and disruptive and whether a different approach could speed up the restoration of the service?

What would people consider a reasonable time to have the whole service stopped? I would say 30 minutes on amultiple track line to get trrains running on other lines and 45 minutes on other lines, maybe depending on how accesssable the body is.
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devon_metro
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 05:07:31 pm »

The handling of fatalities is poor to say the least in my opinion.

As far as I know, a train reported running over a body, which might have been considered more suspicious.
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autotank
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 05:37:08 pm »

I was on the first train that went non-stop through Taplow and Burnham - have to say I thought it was an odd decision. Strangely the train wasn't that busy.

I was quite lucky really as I got on the 1309 from Henley and was only delayed by around 15 mins in total and made it to work on time.

I agree they need to get slicker at sorting these incidents out - I'm not suggesting a Bombay Railway type solution (make sure body is clear of track and carry on) but stationary trains on one of the busiest lines in the country is a bit ridiculous.

There was a Turbo sat in the siding at Slough on the Up side which I presume was the train involved.

Sympathy to the driver and families involved.
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 06:32:30 pm »

Secondly as with other posts on this topics Networkrail and BTP police really need to work out a protocol that doesn't require such massive disruptions to services.

I am not sure why it has to be a crime scene. The position of body will tell little other than the speed of the train and the angle of impact. The unfortunate driver will be able give a good idea where the impact took place and if it's close to a station there will be witnesses to what happened. Especialy as if it really was a crime (ie somebody was pushed) and  not a suicide. The other thing that needs to be ascertained is how the person gained acces to the track and that will be found along the boundary of the railway away from the trains.
Often the first Police presence is the Local Constabulary, BTP having a large beat take time to get there.  The time taken may also be the result of how far the bits have been spread has to be treated as a bio hazard.  The unfortunate drive may be in shock and quite possibly unable to give much information.

Access is something NR are gradually dealing with but the public don't help by breaking down fences because they block their short cut, however no matter how much fencing is done if someone wants to top themselves they will find a way
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devon_metro
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 06:43:42 pm »

I was on the first train that went non-stop through Taplow and Burnham - have to say I thought it was an odd decision. Strangely the train wasn't that busy.

I was quite lucky really as I got on the 1309 from Henley and was only delayed by around 15 mins in total and made it to work on time.

I agree they need to get slicker at sorting these incidents out - I'm not suggesting a Bombay Railway type solution (make sure body is clear of track and carry on) but stationary trains on one of the busiest lines in the country is a bit ridiculous.

There was a Turbo sat in the siding at Slough on the Up side which I presume was the train involved.

Sympathy to the driver and families involved.

HST reported "running over a body" on down Main.
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Oxman
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 07:55:34 pm »

I understand this one was "unexplained". In other words, it wasn't known how the body came to be there and no train had been identified as having hit someone. In most cases, these are known and the target is to hand back the line within two hours, although unaffected lines can be handed back as soon as the body parts have been covered up. An unexplained death is treated as a potential crime scene and requires Scene of Crime Officers to attend. This takes considerably longer - four hours to reopen the line is typical.
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 11:38:36 pm »

But Why!

Is the cause of death of one person worth the inconvenience of 100s of others - if not 1000s of others!  Really human life is important but at the end of the day - we are just mammals with an over inflated sense of our own importance in life
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 09:31:57 am »

But Why!

Is the cause of death of one person worth the inconvenience of 100s of others - if not 1000s of others!  Really human life is important but at the end of the day - we are just mammals with an over inflated sense of our own importance in life

Exactly! Does no-one think about the consequences of causing delays? Maybe someone is trying to get to an important medical appointment or they're trying to get home to look after a sick relative. Maybe also someone might be taken seriously ill as a result of being stuck on a train behind the incident? Then you've got more delays while medical assistance is obtained for that person stuck somewhere between stations.
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Tim
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 10:36:54 am »

I am all for a speedy clear up once the fatality has been confirmed as a suicide (whatever you think about suicide, once the victim is dead there is nothing that can be done to help them)

BUT part of the delay is caused by waiting for the police to confirm to their satistfaction that it is a suicide.  People do also end up under trains by accident and occassionally they are pushed which is murder, a very serious crime which needs to be ruled out.

Imagine the uproar if a murderer got away with his crime and went on to kill again because the railway was in too much of a hurry to investgate the first killing properly (or if a trial collapsed because the defence undermined the evidence of the forensic pathology because the body had not been properly handled at the scence)

I don't think a 2 hour delay is too bad in the circumstances.

I do think it is odd to have to close all four tracks of a four track railway though.  Surely their could be a procedure for trains to be escorted past the scence by a qualified person at walking pace?   
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readytostart
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 08:58:21 pm »

Couple of rule book sections for those not in the industry:
These are for the person in charge, normally the Rail Investigation Officer in these circumstances.
4.10 Train movement past a body
You must find out which lines are affected and authorise the
signaller to operate trains as follows:
a) If the body is foul of any rail or conductor rail
You must not allow trains to move on the affected line.
b) If the body is in the four-foot but not foul of the line
You must not allow trains to move on the affected line.
However, you may allow the train involved in the incident to move
clear of the body if the police give permission.
c) If the body is not on or between the rails
These instructions apply if the body is:
^ between any two running lines
^ in the cess
^ on the lineside
^ on a station platform
^ at a level crossing.
You may allow trains to move on the affected lines if:
^ there is enough clearance between the train and the body
^ the body is covered or cannot be seen from passing trains
^ the police have given you permission.
4.11 Train movement past body parts
You must find out which lines are affected and authorise the
signaller to operate trains as follows:
a) Body parts that are not recognisable
If the remains are not recognisable as body parts, you may allow
trains to move on the affected lines if:
^ there is enough clearance between the train and body parts
^ the police have given you permission.
b) Body parts that are recognisable
You may allow a train to pass recognisable body parts before they
are covered over if:
^ they are in a position where they would be seen only by the
drivers of passing trains (for example, when the remains are
very close to the line but not foul of it), and
^ there would otherwise be excessive delays to services.
However, you can only do this if:
^ there is enough clearance between the train and the body
parts
^ the police have given permission
^ the driver of each train is told about the circumstances
^ the driver of each train agrees to making the movement.
You must not attempt unreasonably to influence a driver to make
such a movement.
4.13 Resuming normal working
You must tell the signaller that normal working can be resumed
when you know for certain that:
^ the body has been moved clear of the affected lines and is
covered over, or cannot be seen from passing trains
^ all personnel and equipment are clear of the affected lines.
You must stay on site until the body has been removed.
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 10:30:22 pm »

So it looks like we'e all so squeamish and retiring that the key thing is making sure the body is not visible to passing trains.

purlease.

its just a bloody dead body.
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readytostart
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2010, 12:15:46 am »

So it looks like we'e all so squeamish and retiring that the key thing is making sure the body is not visible to passing trains.
purlease.
its just a bloody dead body.
Someone cynical (no name mentioned FA ;o) ) may suggest that it depends whether a driver to pass the scene is a) on his way home, or b) travelling away from his home depot!
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genghisthecat
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2010, 04:57:36 pm »

I was on one of the first trains on the scene at Burnham on Thursday. I looked out of the window to see why we^d stopped and saw the woman lying on the next track about 6 feet away. This was before any emergency services were on the scene. I found the talk of ^disruption to services^ quite shocking in light of the fact that a woman had died and was, at that point, alone out there. The passengers in my carriage were extremely shocked and it was obvious that train staff, when they came to evacuate the carriage, were too. I don^t think it should ever be forgotten that this was someone^s life and death ^ and a pretty public and anonymous death at that. She will have family and friends who are grieving for her and I don^t think that should ever be pushed aside so that people aren^t late for their meetings. I know it^s important to keep services running and I get as cross as anyone about poor service but that is not what this was. If we don^t value human life and show respect for the dead then we really are only animals.

There were children in the carriage ahead of ours (who blessedly seemed unaware of what had happened) but I don^t think there should ever be the risk of them seeing what I saw. I^m finding it pretty hard to come to terms with myself. It didn^t look to me as though the woman had been hit by a train directly, in which case it^s hard to see how it could have happened. In this case it would seem to me even more important that finding out what had happened to her was the absolute priority.

My heartfelt sympathy goes to those who loved her.
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2010, 05:18:43 pm »

Welcome to the forum. Genghisthecat.   I'm sorry that it's on such a serious thread - and a subject for which there are no easy answers.  Indeed, we shouldn't forget the life lost; you're right to remind us that this was someone's sister, pehaps someone's wife, girlfriend or mother and certainly someone's daughter. 

While there is the slightest chance of foul play, or an accident so dreadful that it took a life, no stone should be left unturned to ensure that every facet is investigated, no evidence lost. And if that means closing the line for two hours and delaying thousands of journeys, so be it.  And for certain be respectful of the body.  But ... respect for the body, and throught for the deceased don't bring the person back.  And - once established beyond doubt that it is neither foul play by a third party, nor a dreadful accident from which lessons must be learned, the world has to move respectfully on.  I don't think that makes us any the less caring.
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genghisthecat
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2010, 07:43:58 pm »

Hi Grahame

Point taken - Obviously life goes on - I went on to a meeting myself afterwards. I think it was the tone of 'how dare I be inconvenienced by this', which I did also hear on the train - from a woman who had seen the body to a member of staff - which is hard. In fact our train moved on after about 15 minutes - probably in part because they didn't want to keep that many members of the public where they could still see the body. Although it was a bit late for that by then. In fact the train I was on was already delayed by 40 minutes before this happened, but that's an entirely separate issue.
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