Report 14/2009: Near miss at Poplar Farm level crossing

Near miss at Poplar Farm level crossing, Attleborough, Norfolk, 1 July 2008.


At about 16:13 hrs on 1 July 2008, a mobility scooter was driven onto Poplar Farm level crossing, Attleborough, Norfolk, into the path of the approaching train, the 15:52 hrs from Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street.

The train driver saw the mobility scooter but was unable to stop the train before it reached the crossing. However, the mobility scooter moved clear of the crossing before the train arrived, and there were no injuries or damage.

The immediate cause of the incident was that the crossing keeper mistakenly believed that an indicator showed ‘train in section’ for a train that had already passed over the level crossing, and did not appreciate that there was in fact a train approaching the level crossing from Attleborough station. In addition, vegetation alongside the line obstructed the visibility towards Attleborough.

As a consequence of this accident, RAIB has made recommendations targeted at Network Rail. They relate to the need for it to review its procedures for the operation of Poplar Farm crossing, to identify improvements that would reduce the possibility of errors being made in the operation of the crossing.

The recommendations also propose that Network Rail should revise its current method of crossing inspections to take account of local factors relating to the method of operation of crossings; and changes in traffic levels.

Response to recommendations:

  • RAIB will periodically update the status of recommendations as reported to us by the relevant safety authority or public body
  • RAIB may add comment, particularly if we have concerns regarding these responses.

RAIB Recommendation response for Poplar Farm

Published 10 December 2014