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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Kingston Flyer, 25 Nov 2011.
Has anyone seen this?
What are our thoughts?
Without knowing all the facts we could just descend into the realms of hysterical media speculation.
Looking at the BBC web page:
Sign says: "Cross only when green light shows".
1. The girls ignored the "green light" notice.
2. The notice was not visible to users of the crossing.
3. The green light WAS showing.
The only way WE will know is after the Court case........
Let's just wait until after the court case?
There has already been a formal RSSB report published. So all the relevant details are in the public domain
Ralph does not appear to understand the point of a discussion forum?
I understand the point of a discussion forum fine thank you Tim. It means that people are free to air their views on a subject - which was what I was doing. Perhaps it is you that does not understand? My point was that there's no point talking about a court case that has yet to occur when all the evidence is already available. The only new thing to add to this story is the verdict.
Without wishing to speculate (of course !), are they ?
"After careful consideration and examination of Network Rail documents not previously seen by ORR, we have concluded that there is enough evidence, and that it is in the public interest, to bring criminal proceedings against Network Rail."
Well a quick google will bring up the report. So the facts relating to what happened are out there. Of course there may be added technical details in the NR documents but that doesn't alter what actually happened on that day
Actually, people do seem to think there is something to discuss, hence the OP. My impression is that pretty much everyone had got the impression that there is no case, that sadly the girls ignored the things alerting them to the presence of the train and that it was their fault.
Thus the fact that a prosecution has been announced means that someone somewhere thinks that there is a case to be answered, and from what I have read here and elsewhere, people are unsure about what that case is. Admittedly until the case is presented we are in the dark, but that shouldn't stop people theorising about what it could be. In many court cases it is obvious what the charge is, it is the verdict that maybe unclear until announced, in this case is unclear what the charges are at this stage, thus the speculation is about the charges not the verdict.
All but one of the comments here http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16117387 seem to reflect that most people are baffled by the new charges. Obviously posters on a Sky news site are likely to know less about the incident than people here, but it does show the general feeling.
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There some more specifics on the charges here http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.10715
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It would look like the charges are not due to the death of the girls, but due to failings in the RA process at NR.
Does this mean that there wasn't a system in place to show when a train was approaching?
That makes for the 8th Prosecution since Network Rail was formed in 2002 in other words one prosecution each 1.125 years as opposed to Railtrack where the Prosecution rate was 0.125 per year.
Source ORR/HSE database
It's difficult to tell, but possibly its not even a problem with the end result of the RA (i.e. signs lights, sirens, etc). but possibly with the process of working out how the risks can be managed
I get the feeling this is more to do with the paperwork rather than the actual working of the equipment on the ground
The relevant elements from the RAIB Report
298 Since 1989 the crossing has been subject to frequent misuse. It has become commonplace for crossing users to cross the line whilst the red light is showing and the yodel is sounding. This is evidenced by an analysis of the 11 occurrence books that were obtained following the accident on 3 December 2005. These covered the period from 10 April 1999 to 6 December 2005. The data relating to this period is summarised as follows:
There were a total of 303 recorded instances of misuse.
Of the above;
140 involved adult males;
44 adult females;
61 male children;
26 female children.
The remainder involved a mixed group or the gender was not identified in the record.
More than 90% of instances that were recorded in the occurrence books involved persons who started to cross after the lights had switched to red.
299 Some crossing keepers were far more likely to record misuse than others. It can therefore be deduced that the occurrence books are an incomplete record of the level of crossing misuse at Elsenham.
300 One crossing keeper has reported that on four occasions in the two years prior to the accident he was subjected to verbal abuse when he attempted to point out the dangers of misusing the crossing.
301 The investigation has revealed that there was no systematic management process to monitor and review the levels of misuse at Elsenham level crossing. In particular there was no process to ensure that relevant entries in the occurrence book were entered into the railway industrys Safety Management Information System (SMIS). Nevertheless, the Network Rail territory, Anglia, had been aware of the level of misuse at Elsenham and had identified it as a crossing for review. No timescale was established for this review to be completed.
391 The risk assessment carried out at Elsenham by Network Rail in April 2005 was incorrect and was not the subject of consultation with the station operator. The resulting assessment of the risks posed to users at Elsenham was therefore substantially flawed (paragraph 348, Recommendation 3).
392 According to the analysis preformed by the RAIB as part of this investigation, the inherent risk factors at Elsenham are amongst the highest at any station pedestrian crossing on the UK mainline network, and therefore deserving of special attention (paragraph 358).
393 Network Rails own assessment of risk 14 using its semi-quantative scoring system shows Elsenham to have the third highest risk at any station pedestrian crossing on the UK network.
Weren't some of these due to incidents which occurred during the Railtrack era though, with the blame being passed onto successor company Network Rail?
Possibly could have something to do with the sign possibly not displaying (I don't know if this is the case, bear in mind) that if the lights continue to be red that another train is coming?
They got to crossing, lights were red, train went by, lights stayed red and apparently they walked out into a Stanstead Express.
It was on the BBC National News at 1300 today with relevant items mentioned. The new passenger footbridge looks quite substantial.
Interview with the mother, she said the Girls were at the level crossing when the warning began, they stopped and waited as a train went past and stopped at the platform then while the warning was still going on they opened the gate and attempted to cross the line to catch it but were hit by a through train going in the other direction.
Now im struggling to see anything other than the girls human error, assuming that the line was clear when it wasnt.
From the RAIB report in 2006:
"46 The immediate cause of the accident was the two teenage girls stepping into the path of an approaching train, despite the continued display of a red light and the sounding of an audible alarm."
There is more to it than that but this clarifies that the warning system was in operation but the girls were so focussed on catching their train that they didn't check. I think we have all seen this at railway stations where people take risks with their safety becuase they can only focus on catching the train-albeit with less devastating results.
Unfortunately that seems to be the case. Trouble is companies have to jump through hoops today to protect people from their own stupidity. Would be interesting to know if widespread misuse of this crossing still occurs despite what happened here
...and how many of those prosecutions were inherited?
This is ridiculous. I have every sympathy with the girls' families, and I can absolutely how they reached the conclusion that it was safe to cross.
However, that does not mean that by disobeying the red light and siren provided for their safety. The only addition to the crossing that may have saved them would have been a sign with "When red light shows and siren continues to sound, another train coming" and an automatic lock with an emergency exit bar.
I took all the data from the HSE/ORR website however since then I have spotted that a couple of accidents not appear against Railtrack.
Having recalculated I now make the Railtrack figure 1.6 as against Network Rail at 1.125.
The Network Rail figures are correct as they have been adjusted to take out any pre Oct 2002 acidents. I have a feeling NR were also Prosecuted over fatalities but these do not seem to be registered on the HSE/ORR database which actually makes it worse than useless. It says something when even HSE/ORR cannot get their statistics correct.
If found guilty in Court and Network Rail fined, it would not be a punishment to them but to Rail Users due to less money available for investment. Perhaps individuals can not be identified in which case they should be charged.
Agreed - I dislike threads like this as it always leads to speculation. I acknowledge the point of those saying "what is a discussion forum for", but this is an issue that will end up in front of a Judge and speculation helps nobody. There is also the issue that somebody reading this thread and those like it could end up on a Jury. So yes, I agree with ralphchadkirk - sorry if some readers don't like it.
There was a very good article in the Times this morning re this.
I too read the Times today and I was quite interested at the way the recent horrific accident with the young girls arm was reported as the "latest" accident involving a level crossing - clearly insinuating (to me at any rate) the newspapers opinion that level crossings are inherantly dangerous - even though the investigation for that accident hasn't yet taken place.
It does strike me though that most of these incidents involve pedestrians (for whatever reason) or motorists disobeying warning signs etc rather than the crossing equipment malfunctioning or trains being where they shouldn't be.
Obviously the railway has a responsibility to report occurences of misuse, but where crossings do become dangerous by the habitual misuse by pedestrians/motorists, shouldn't it be the the Highways/Local Authority that have the legal responsibility for rectifying the situation and paying for footbridges etc !
My point is that obviously the crossing was dangerous. Human beings sometimes do silly things - it's a fact of life. But I just don't understand why it is the railway that always has to rectify the situation. The highway is interfacing with the railway as much as the other way round - shouldn't the people who run the highway have the job of sorting it out.
Maybe. If used incorrectly. If used correctly I would say it was probably perfectly safe