At about 05:45 hrs on Thursday 11 January 2018, a car collided with a freight train which was standing on the down Skellow line with its rear wagon partially blocking Stainforth Road automatic half-barrier (AHB) level crossing. The car driver suffered minor injuries in the collision and their car was severely damaged.
Despite the presence of the train at the crossing, Stainforth Road AHB level crossing was open to road traffic when the collision occurred. This meant that its road traffic signals were not illuminated and its half-barriers were in the up position. At the time the accident occurred it was dark. The crossing is not illuminated and its rural location means that there are no ambient light sources nearby.
The design of this crossing results in the requirement for down trains to cover a distance of around 28 metres to clear the road surface after the re-opening sequence has been triggered. For trains travelling close to the maximum permitted line speed of 50 mph (80km/h), the time needed to clear the crossing is well within the approximately seven seconds required for the re-opening sequence to be completed. However, for trains travelling at very slow speeds, or where trains stop with the rear wagon close to the crossing and blocking the road, the crossing can potentially re-open to road users while such a train is still on it.
Our investigation into the accident will determine the sequence of events leading to the collision. It will also include consideration of:
- the design of this level crossing and relevant risks associated with it
- whether similar designs are in use at other locations
- the actions of the railway staff involved in the operation of the train
- any underlying management 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.
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