At around 11:56 hrs on Friday 17 August, a passenger train passed over a user worked level crossing, near Bagillt, North Wales, shortly after a user with a heavy good vehicle had completed using the crossing. The train, the 09:53 Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead service, was travelling at around 75 mph (121 km/h).
The private level crossing, which gives access to industrial premises, is only used by vehicles which are too tall to pass under a nearby bridge. The route over the crossing goes over two widely spaced tracks, and the crossing gates are 25 metres apart. The gates are kept locked. The crossing is fitted with telephones for users to contact the signaller and request permission to cross. To use this crossing, vehicle drivers must unlock and open both gates on foot, drive their vehicle over and reclose and lock both gates on foot.
The user requested permission to cross the railway with a ‘wagon’, and the signaller, based at the Wales Railway Operations Centre in Cardiff, granted it.
There had been similar previous occurrences at this crossing, on 31 October 2017 and 10 December 2014. At those times the level crossing was supervised by signallers based locally at Holywell Junction signal box.
Our investigation will determine the sequence of events. It will also include consideration of:
- the actions of those involved
- the rules and guidance for signallers relating to factors which need to be considered when giving permission for the crossing to be used
- the information and guidance provided to users of private level crossings
- the management of safety risk at this crossing
- any relevant underlying management factors
Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry 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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