At 09:58 hrs on 6 February 2019, a passenger train struck and fatally injured a pedestrian at a passive footpath crossing in the village of Tibberton, Worcestershire. The weather at the time was foggy. Passive crossings rely on the user looking and listening for trains. However, the foggy weather conditions had made the crossing unsafe to use: in these conditions, the pedestrian could not see or hear the approaching train early enough to be able to decide to cross safely.
This happened because the risks associated with using the crossing in fog had not been adequately mitigated. Network Rail does not actively manage the effects of fog on the safety of its passive crossings, and had not carried out an assessment of the risks introduced by fog on the safety of its level crossings at national level.
The RAIB has made a recommendation to Network Rail aiming to ensure that it understands the risks presented by fog at passive level crossings, and implements a strategy to ensure that the risk to an individual using a passive level crossing in fog is acceptably low.
The investigation also identified three learning points, two relating to the management of crossings and one as a reminder to train drivers to bring their trains to a stand upon hearing a railway emergency call.
Published 10 October 2019