Kidwelly train crash farmer 'incredibly stupid'

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GodAtum

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A judge has told a farmer who parked a trailer on a rail line which was hit by a train he was "incredibly stupid."

John Watkyn-James, 51, from Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire had admitted endangering safety on a railway at an earlier hearing at Swansea Crown Court.

Sentencing him to a 36-week suspended jail sentence, the judge said he had put the train, staff and passengers at risk when he parked to feed horses.

The Manchester to Milford Haven train was damaged but no-one was injured.

The farmer from Kidwelly must also carry out 200 hours community work.

Watkyn-James, of Limestone Hill Farm, parked his tractor next to the track at Kidwelly on 31 January with the trailer he was towing on the line.

The 08:30 service from Manchester crashed into it at about 13:30 GMT.

The court heard the farmer had parked the vehicle while he went to feed his horses.
A CCTV image of the trailer over the railway line A CCTV image of the trailer left over the railway line, while John Watkyn-James fed horses in a field

Judge Paul Thomas QC said: "You put the train, staff and passengers at risk. You took a risk to save a few minutes."

As the train driver rounded a bend just before the crossing, he saw the trailer and applied the emergency brakes.

The driver then dived to the floor to protect himself, as he knew a collision was imminent, the court was told.

CCTV shows the driver desperately trying to stop.

The train struck the trailer at 75mph and came to a stop about 100 yards further down the track.

None of the 20 passengers were injured, but the train was extensively damaged.

After the case, Sgt Steve Dawkins, of British Transport Police, said despite the trailer being made of plate steel, the speed of the train and the force of impact meant debris was spread over a large area.
The front of the damaged train Repairs costing nearly £82,000 were needed to the train

"It is astounding that no one was seriously injured or killed in this incident," said Sgt Dawkins.

He said the incident could easily have resulted in derailment.

"Crossings are designed to keep people safe - and, when used correctly, that is exactly what they do."

After the sentence, Watkyn-James told BBC Wales he was sorry about what happened and "luckily no-one was hurt".

The train cost nearly £82,000 to repair, with further costs of £84,862 from the train being out of service.

Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail, said: "Thankfully no one was injured as a result of this incident. What happened was extremely dangerous and a stark reminder of the potential consequences of crossing misuse."

Arriva Trains Wales operations and safety director Peter Leppard said it had been a "reckless act".

"I am proud of the actions of the train crew, who dealt well with the aftermath, but they should not have found themselves in that situation," he added.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-15493970
Shame he was given a prison sentance!
 
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Captain Speaking

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Shame he was given a prison sentance!
So why hasn't he been sent a bill for about £165K? He caused the loss, he should pay the cost. ATW (or their insurers if appropriate) should send him the bill!

He should also have been locked up (not suspended) for the reckless endangerment of the driver and passengers on the train.

Stupidity is no excuse for such an act.
 

graham43404

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So why hasn't he been sent a bill for about £165K? He caused the loss, he should pay the cost. ATW (or their insurers if appropriate) should send him the bill!

He should also have been locked up (not suspended) for the reckless endangerment of the driver and passengers on the train.

Stupidity is no excuse for such an act.
Agreed. In cases like this courts should be sending out a message to people but yet again they choose not to.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Not hard enough sentence , he looks old enough to understand what a train is , how fast they go and how they cant stop in 4 yards>

Some restitution to the driver , or at the very least a structured interview and apology would also be appropriate.
 

callum112233

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Seriously, who parks a tractor and trailer in the close proximity of a level crossing? :s

(cue jokes about welsh people)

I think I read the RAIB report about this a few weeks ago. It was an ATW class 175?
 

Phil6219

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I think I read the RAIB report about this a few weeks ago. It was an ATW class 175?
Yes 175108.

The report on another level crossing accident has recently been released too, also involving an ATW 175 on another Manchester - Milford Haven service (I believe).

Phil 8-)
 

sbt

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I think I read the RAIB report about this a few weeks ago. It was an ATW class 175?
I suspect you are getting confused with the Sewage Tanker collision recently published. That occurred in 2010, before this collision. there are no reports that I can find for UWC collisions in 2011.
 

callum112233

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fsmr

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The passengers must have had fair old ride to go from 75 mph to 0 in 100 yards

quote "The train struck the trailer at 75mph and came to a stop about 100 yards further down the track." More likely 500 or more unless it had already decelerated to 40 before it hit it"
I would have thought the bill would have been quite high as i doubt the NFU would cover the insurance for the damage to the tractor and trailer given the act of gross stupidity
 
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BestWestern

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How very disheartening to yet again find the courts just grudgingly doing the bare minimum, almost as if they would really rather just let the guilty party walk free. Presumably another out of touch judge who has little knowledge of the world he/she presides over, I wonder how often they travel by train?! :roll: The CCTV images clearly show that this idiot left the trailer parked well and truly across the line - not near it, but actually right over it - then left his vehicle to go and feed his horses. Why would you do that?

NR and Government need to stamp out this type of reckless, ludicrous behaviour. This isn't the first time, and may well not be the last. Too many land owners and their agents seem to find it perfectly acceptable to treat these crossings, provided and maintained for their personal convenience, with complete disdain, and think nothing of regularly abusing them. How often are trains delayed because of some idiot leaving a gate open? Any incident resulting in an accident such as this - or indeed repeated incidents of minor abuse such as disobeying safe use regulations - should result in the crossing concerned being permanently closed, and removed. If the land owner is left with a 60 mile round trip, tough. Such reckless disregard for public safety is simply not acceptable, why on earth should the railway continue to accomodate such attitudes.
 

Bodie

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Totally agree with everyone's comments. How this fool as managed to stay alive for 51 years old is anyone's guess.

I didn't know ATW 175's had camera's in the cab. Are they alone in having this?
 

scotsman

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Idiot, yes. Prison? no.

Prison is to protect the public and deter offending. Is prison really an option? No. Prison would have been if anyone had been hurt, the suspended nature warns him that he was lucky for no-one to be seriously hurt.

Prison would indeed be an excellent deterrent, but it would lead to a large number of people entering custody - much better to do community service. Only 48% of community services are completed, but the reoffending rate after them is much less than prison. Hitting them in the wallet won't work.
 

GearJammer

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Idiot, yes. Prison? no.

Prison is to protect the public and deter offending. Is prison really an option? No. Prison would have been if anyone had been hurt, the suspended nature warns him that he was lucky for no-one to be seriously hurt.

Prison would indeed be an excellent deterrent, but it would lead to a large number of people entering custody - much better to do community service. Only 48% of community services are completed, but the reoffending rate after them is much less than prison. Hitting them in the wallet won't work.
Totally agree, locking him up is no use to anyone!
 

Harlesden

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If the train was my property running along my track, and you blocked my track thereby causing my train to be seriously damaged, I would expect you to pay the full cost of repairs to my train along with the cost of hiring someone to check (and repair, if necessary) the affected section of track. If you were unable/unwilling tp pay, I would sue.
 

IanXC

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Any incident resulting in an accident such as this - or indeed repeated incidents of minor abuse such as disobeying safe use regulations - should result in the crossing concerned being permanently closed, and removed. If the land owner is left with a 60 mile round trip, tough. Such reckless disregard for public safety is simply not acceptable, why on earth should the railway continue to accomodate such attitudes.
I think this is the only way were going to see any improvement at these kind of crossings.


--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What is the point of suing if they don't have the money? I doubt he has £182 behind the sofa, let alone £182k! :)
Could get a charging order on the farm I suppose.

 

TUC

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So why hasn't he been sent a bill for about £165K? He caused the loss, he should pay the cost. ATW (or their insurers if appropriate) should send him the bill!
This may be happening via his insurers but would be a separate matter to the criminal case.
 

Captain Speaking

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If he is insured his insurer will probably have paid, but under the circumstances of his extreme negligence they might then persue the farmer for the money.... or for whatever part of the debt the farmer can raise.
 

BestWestern

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Idiot, yes. Prison? no.

Hitting them in the wallet won't work.
I can agree to some extent that prison may not be appropriate, not because he doesn't deserve it but simply because in our current society we don't have the required resources. I would argue though that an individual who leaves agricultural vehicles parked over a main railway line whilst doing something completely unrelated to using the crossing, is a danger to the public. Very much so. This accident makes that obvious. How many times has he done this in the past I wonder, avoiding accidents through pure luck?

If prison is not the appropriate sanction, then 'hitting him' in the wallet must surely be the only other sensible route. The person concerned required punishing, teaching a lesson, not simply a meaningless telling off. Was he not aware at the time of the incident that using a railway line as a personal parking area was both idiotic and illegal? Why did he chose to do such a thing? What good does a few hours community service do in the case of a stubborn individual who clearly holds a total disregard for rules and the people they protect?

A very substantial fine should have been given out here, enough to make the person concerned appreciate the severity of their actions.
 
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